A quick look at the Timberwolves’ playoff scenarios

Minnesota’s path to the NBA playoffs is pretty simple: win or go home.

The Timberwolves host Denver on Wednesday with the winner advancing to the postseason and the loser facing an offseason without the playoffs despite winning 46 games.

While a win guarantees the Wolves a spot in the postseason, exactly where they would be seeded is up in the air. There’s no chance for Minnesota to finish in the top four and have home-court advantage, but there are scenarios in which the Wolves can finish as high as the 5 seed.

There are several key games which will help determine where Minnesota would end up. The games to also keep an eye on are Tuesday’s Golden State at Utah matchup, plus three other Wednesday contests: San Antonio at New Orleans, Memphis at Oklahoma City and Utah at Portland.

Let’s break down what needs to happen for the Wolves to finish at each seed. All these scenarios, of course, are predicated on a Minnesota victory. (note: Utah games listed in order of being played — Golden State first and Portland last)

5 seed

— Golden State, New Orleans, Memphis and Portland win

— Golden State, San Antonio, Memphis and Portland win

6 seed

— Golden State, San Antonio, Memphis and Utah win

— Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Portland win

— Utah, San Antonio, Memphis and Portland win

— Utah, San Antonio, Memphis and Utah win

7 seed

— Golden State, New Orleans, Memphis and Portland win

— Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Utah win

— Utah, New Orleans, Memphis and Portland win

— Utah, New Orleans, Memphis and Utah win

— Utah, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Portland win

— Utah, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Utah win

 

8 seed

— Golden State, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Portland win

— Golden State, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Utah win

— Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Portland win

— Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Utah win

 

There’s a little more to this story

Minnesota traded its 2018 first-round pick to Atlanta, but it is protected from 1-14. In other words, if the Wolves make the playoffs, the pick is conveyed to the Hawks. If they don’t make the playoffs, the Wolves keep the pick. Silver lining?