PF – Kenyon Martin (5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game)
Last season, the 34-year old power forward, also a former #1 overall pick by the Nets in 2000, played half of the 2011-2012 NBA Lockout-cut Regular Season in China and half in the NBA. He was picked up directly by the Los Angeles Clippers and quickly had a positive impact on the team, and he didn’t necessarily need to score.
In the 2012 NBA Playoffs with the Clippers, Martin played a big role in Game 1 of the quarterfinals match-up against the Memphis Grizzlies where his intense defense played a key part in helping the Clippers produce one of the greatest comebacks in the NBA Playoffs history. Martin was assigned for most of the final quarter to guard the most lethal clutch weapon of the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay and did a fantastic job preventing Rudy from getting easy baskets. In the twilights of his career now plus nagging injuries before, Martin’s role on the team now is just to bring energy off the bench yet little by little help the team on both ends of the floor in any way possible.
The Timberwolves as of now still lack that one power forward that can replace All-Star Kevin Love and Kenyon Martin in my opinion will be a great pickup for Minnesota. With the Clippers, Martin came in for All-Star power forward Blake Griffin and whenever he came in, he just amped the energy a little bit higher with his tenacity on the defensive end. Alongside Greg Stiemsma coming off the bench for Minnesota’s starting bigs, the Timberwolves defense will pretty tough to get through inside.
SF – Josh Howard (8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game)
Most of us have forgotten Josh Howard ever since he was traded to the Washington Wizards in 2010 after helping the Dallas Mavericks make the NBA Finals in 2006. Now with the Utah Jazz, Howard has suddenly become more of a vocal leader than an action leader as his skills, due to injuries, have minimized his play.
During the recent NBA Playoffs Josh Howard decreased his play from the regular season by averaging 3.8 points per game against the San Antonio Spurs to which the Jazz eventually got swept by. Howard is known for his great slashing ability and solid mid-range jumpshot as he shot 40% last season from the field. Defensively, Howard is as pesky as they come and much like newly acquired Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko, Howard can guard people smaller than him because of his quickness and his great ability to put a body on just anyone that tries to blow past by him that is not as strong as him.
Coming off the bench for the Timberwolves, Howard will most likely bring the same thing Kirilenko will bring to the starting lineup, although a little bit less of course. Howard is looking for a team where his name can get out to the public and the media once again and the Timberwolves at this point looks like one of the best teams for him as not only will he be relying on other players to make him win games, but also he can make HIS OWN IMPACT on the team with his skills. Together with former Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J Barea coming off the bench once Ricky Rubio gets back, the duo could turn the Timberwolves bench to a scoring, of course not forgetting defense, machine.
SF – Matt Barnes (7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds)
Throughout his NBA career, forward Matt Barnes has made a name for himself as the “tough guy” on an NBA team. With the Orlando Magic, most of us remember his “duel” with Kobe Bryant to which he ended up becoming his teammate sometime later. Last seen with the Los Angeles Lakers, Barnes was a perfect sub for Metta World Peace, then known as Ron Artest. Just like World Peace, Barnes … hold up … I can’t keep a straight face by saying that … I’ll just say Artest … I’m sorry. Okay, so just like Artest, Barnes is a tough defensive player who on the other of the court can also knock down some big three pointers.
Barnes’ sweet spot is the baseline jump shot but other than that, Barnes can also be an aggressive scorer in the paint and his hard work down low will be more than helpful for the Timberwolves bench players. We can safely say that this guy doesn’t give up on any possession that he can take, whether it’s stealing the ball or getting an offensive rebound. Possibly coming off the bench for Kirilenko, Barnes will definitely bring the energy higher and defense won’t be any much different although a little more aggressive.
With the Timberwolves bigs, Rick Adelman will have another guy that can just work as hard as Kevin Love in getting some boards as Barnes is one pesky rebounder and a guy who also has a nag for just grabbing the rebound. Most of all, he doesn’t back down against anybody. If he is man enough to throw the ball at Kobe Bryant’s face, the guy has some balls to say the least. At this point for the Timberwolves, they need more guys like him as well. No offense of course to current Timberwolves players, but seriously though, they really need more “tough guys” or other teams will run them over mentally and then physically.
PF – Brian Scalabrine
I’m just kidding … But seriously though, think about it Timberwolves …
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