The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the midst of a brutal scheduling quirk that the lockout shortened season has made famous. The dreaded back-to-back-to-back…I can’t believe no one has come up with a better name for it. It could be called the tricycle or the triple-header anything but “back-to-back-to-back”. Anywho, the Wolves have split the first two games between the Lakers and Clippers. Which is pretty good especially since Kevin Love has averaged a little over 10 minutes in those games. Hopefully tonight’s game against the Suns we’ll see Kevin Love have a huge game and pull out a win. One thing is clear; the Timberwolves are getting better and better every game. That’s the short term story, but discussing the long term all anyone ever says is “Yo bro, could you imagine if the Timberwolves got a good shooting guard?”….”Yeah dood! We’d win a championship for sure!!! wahhhh!!!”.
This is an easy assumption to make, because the lack of shooting and undersized rotation that the Wolves currently use is often times victim to scoring slumps and defensive breakdowns. A player who can guard his guy without giving up 4 or 5 inches (bless your heart Ridnour) and won’t pee in their pants if they have to ball handle to push it in transition (looking at you Webster, Wesley and Beasley) would be a huge benefit to this team. The truth is though, that this player is very rare in the NBA. To have a traditional shooting guard is a unusual luxury in this day in age. Players like Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson and Kobe Bryant can push a team into contention for years due to the match-up problems they cause. The one position that the Timberwolves crave is put at a premium to all other teams, most of who have settled on a player with huge weaknesses, like Tony Allen’s lack of defense for the Grizzlies or Nick Young’s lack of basketball I.Q. for the Wizards. To find a complete SG in a trade is usually overpriced or would require for Minnesota to break up it’s young exciting core.
The task at hand is to find an under-appreciated, unwanted, traditional wing player. Not as easy as it sounds. First off, I want to explain what my view of a tradition 2 is, between 6-4 and 6-7 in height. I don’t want a player like Monta Ellis to be matched-up with a player like Kobe Bryant. This player needs to be able to ball-handle and create for his teammates, basketball is not fun to watch when a player holds onto the ball or dribbles 5 times before taking a fade-away. Only superstars like Kobe, Wade and Jordan are allowed to do this. Dudes like O.J. Mayo do not qualify as superstars, they have something I like to call Jordan-Syndrome, no thanks. Not only do these guys try to win the game by themselves, but also they have a selfish attitude that rubs off on the team around them. Translation: stay away!
Secondly, David Kahn may not be willing to risk the future of the team to get this player. So rules to find this player include: not overpay with talent, do not take back huge terrible contracts, do not acquire a player who is past his prime, and most importantly do NOT break-up our core (Love, Rubio and to a lesser degree Pekovic, Derrick Williams). Here are the candidates who can make the dreams of T-Wolves fans come true.
Kevin Martin: This is a guy every Timberwolves fan has heard of, because he shoots the lights out from deep. However, in my humble opinion he is not athletic enough for the Timberwolves. He would squander Ricky Rubio’s play-making abilities by not finishing at the rim. Plus, let’s talk about the brand that we’ve built so far. It focuses on dunks and sweet plays. For my own selfish reasons, I want a different player. This does not change the fact that he’d open up the offense for everyone and create a lot of room for drive and kick threes. He is a great option for this team and could be had for a reasonable price (Houston already traded him in the Chris Paul fiasco the got vetoed).
Tyreke Evans: The reason I like this kid is because he is under producing due to the Sacramento Kings having “The Jimmer” at point guard and Marcus Thornton as shooting guard. Tyreke has no place on this team and is driving the fans in Cali bonkers. If the Timberwolves attempted to take him off the Kings’ hands, it would probably cost a great deal. At the same time, if we give the Kings a SF or PF where they are weak they could definitely swing a deal. This is one of the cases where I’d include Derrick Williams, because with Evans I would consider the core of the Timberwolves finished and ready to grow together with minimal changes needed. Eventually, a core of Rubio, Evans, Love and Pekovic could become a contender for a championship. Adelman would have two great ball handlers on the wing–ready to push the ball with every defensive rebound Kevin Love and Pekovic collect.
Rodney Stuckey: The Pistons are in shambles as far as I’m concerned. The only thing keeping Detroit fans from jumping off the ledge is the glimmer of hope Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight provide. My vision is that the Pistons say, “let’s clean up shop and start over with these two leading the way”. The Timberwolves would have to be interested in helping, by whisking Stuckey away from the big D. Stuckey is in the same mold as Evans, (if it isn’t clear to you by now) I am a believer in having a second ball handler on the court next to Rubio. Stuckey can give the Wolves a slashing wing who will find a lot of room to drive in Adelman’s offense.
Evan Turner: The second pick in the 2010 draft has had a very difficult time carving out playing time on the uber-talented 76ers squad. Andre Igoudala is one of the premier play makers in the league to go along with his stat stuffing abilities. Point guard Jrue Holiday is a ball dominant, athletic, 21 year-old phenom who needs as many minutes as possible. This leave Jodie Meeks, Louis Williams and Evan Turner to split time as the shooting guard where they all suffer shortened minutes. Evan Turner has rarely averaged more than 23 minutes per game in his NBA career. Yet, Philly fans are frustrated with his lack of production and if the Front Office is equally as fed up, then maybe he could be had for cheap. His great footwork, mid-range game and amazing ball handling would be perfect for the team. With Turner on the Wolves it would no doubt take some adjustments for all. My thoughts focus on the ceiling of the team described, if they came together as a team, no one would want to face our beloved Timberwolves in a 7-game series.
Overall, any of these players would add to the hype that Glen Taylor’s team is building. The best fit is all up to Adelman and David Kahn. There is always the draft where they could trade for a high pick and nab a guy like Bradley Beal or Terrance Ross, but that’s a discussion for another time. One thing is certain; the Timberwolves have some options and all of them will cost us dearly in terms of price. Despite all of this the future remains bright even if no moves are made till next season. Even if we stick with our current wing players, we know that many other teams are having similar problems adding the right piece there too. Not everyone can find a Kobe or Wade, but that will not stop all teams from trying.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @ melomattgreezy