The search for help this offseason will have a few pre-recs, namely retaining the services of head coach Rick Adelman, Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko, but once everybody is hopefully back in the fold, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ shopping list will very closely resemble the profile Zach Lowe drew up over at Grantland.
If I were running an NBA team — ha! — I’d be scouring the world for role players who can do all of the following three things:
• Defend shooting guards.
• Defend small forwards.
• Shoot 3-pointers proficiently.
This is the perfect role player, a sort of New Age Shane Battier. (The old-age Shane Battier actually fits the bill, for the most part.) I’d strongly consider using my second-round “flier” draft pick on someone who might someday fit this description, even over a droolworthy project big man. There has long been the notion that wing shooters, or even “3-and-D” guys, are easy to find — that they’re just sort of laying around, waiting for the Spurs to discover the next Bruce Bowen or Danny Green (another candidate). But in talking with GMs and personnel types at all levels, there is something close to broad agreement that players who have checked off all three boxes are relatively rare, that their development is unpredictable, and that the ones who have proven themselves probably don’t earn enough money. “They are very, very hard to find,” says Bob Myers, the Warriors’ GM. “And they are probably undervalued.”
The list is fairly exhaustive and towards the end, more than a little strained, but some familiar wish-list names keep popping up: Arron Afflalo, Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Jae Crowder — to name a few.
The interesting thing is some on the list have already appeared in a Wolves uniform. Names like Corey Brewer, Martell Webster have come and gone on to at least partially meet their potential or return to health, respectively, while others like Chandler Parsons were passed on for incomprehensible financial hot-potatoing. The Wesley Johnson shows up on there, and you know you’ve reached the end.