The good news: the Timberwolves, the Clippers' erstwhile competition for one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference, keep losing.
The bad news: the Timberwolves, whose first round pick goes to the Clippers as long as it's not in the top 10, keep losing.
The Wolves have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Bizarrely, their two victories during that horrendous stretch were against the Suns (snapping their 17 game win streak) and against the Clippers in LA. Prior to those 12 games, the Wolves had won 8 out of 9. The one loss? To the Clippers in Minny. Go figure.
Admittedly, I'm asking a lot of KG and company. They need to miss the playoffs and get a decent draft pick, but not end up in the top 10, taking that pick away from LA. So ideally, we'd like to see them somewhere in the 11, 12, 13 or 14 slots (14 teams miss the playoffs). As of now they're in 12, having just fallen behind Golden State. 12 is great - but they can't drop much further. Meanwhile NOOCH is starting to play better, and Milwaukee is a lot better with Michael Redd, who could be back as soon as their next game.
Minnesota was 22-26 after 48 games last season, the same record as this season. They went 11-23 in their final 34 games to finish with the 6th worst record in the league. This sure feels like the beginning of a similar meltdown. If they fall out of touch in the playoff race, what incentive will they have to win games? In fact, because of the situation with the Clippers, they will have much more than the usual incentive to tank.
Just to over analyze the situation to the point where it's no longer fun (because that's what I do), it won't actually be over if the Wolves finish anywhere from 10 to 14. Why? Well, the ping pong balls will still determine who finally gets the pick. If the Wolves finish 11 through 14, a lucky bounce could still land them a top three pick, in which case they would retain it and the Clippers would have to wait at least another year. And if the Wolves finish 10, if any team below them moves up and they don't, it will push them down a rung, sending the pick to LA. (The same could happen if they were 9 and two lower teams moved up or if they were 8 and three lower teams moved up, but the odds of either of those things happening are pretty astronomical.) At least it would make the lottery a lot more interesting for Clippers' fans
Here's my point: it's time to start rooting for the Wolves to win some games. But not too many.