Apr 6, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Chase Budinger (10) looks on during a free throw in the second half against the Detroit Pistons at Target Center. The Timberwolves won 107-101. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves Offseason Grades: Distinctively Dubious


Offseason grades have been posted by Ben Golliver at si.com. His predictably pessimistic take on the Wolves latest band-aid efforts neglect to mention Ricky Rubio, so you know. They’re silly…

What Went Right: Perennial lottery teams in non-premier markets often face a difficult choice when they hit the summer with cap space to spend: Should they try to make do with their roster weaknesses using cheap fixes, or should they overpay to truly address the problems?

It was better to overpay Martin, Saunders seemed to reason, than endure another year like 2012-13, when the other 29 teams shot between 32.9 percent and 40.3 percent from three-point range and Minnesota managed to make only 30.5 percent. It was better to overpay Budinger, Saunders continued, and hope that the small forward, who hit 32.1 percent from beyond the arc in 23 games last season, can recover his 40.2 percent shooting stroke from 2011-12 rather than let him walk and get stuck with the huge hole created by Kirilenko’s departure.

Grade: C+. Most of this rundown likely reads as a justification and, frankly, that’s exactly what it was. Saunders’ moves — particularly the signings of Martin and Budinger — are dubious in a vacuum, but slightly more understandable within the context of Minnesota’s short- and long-term needs. Did all of that spent money transform Minnesota into a surefire playoff team? No, and that’s a big problem, given the size of the outlays. That said, Kahn is Gahn and the Timberwolves should toss up fewer bricks as they compete for one of the West’s final two playoff spots. If Love can stay healthy and put up the monster numbers everyone knows he is capable of, this all sounds like a recipe for a significantly less depressing season than last year.

Any Wolves rundown that mentions Kahn and not Rubio is worthless in my eyes, but this one is strangely understanding and harsh at the same time.

Sure, you’ve gotta spend money on free agents if you can’t draft or trade for them, but that’s still spending money on Martin and Budinger.

I don’t get it — and it’s in line with what I would give Flip for the offseason, but for completely different reasons (Shabazz, draft in general) — I think a C+ is a bit out of line with what Ben is saying in this piece. If the signings are more understandable within the context of Minnesota’s needs, then the grade should be a bit higher.

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Tags: Andrei Kirilenko Chase Budinger Corey Brewer Kevin Love Kevin Martin Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Ricky Rubio

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