Minnesota Timberwolves: Hurdles to trading Kevin Martin

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Nov 15, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin (23) looks to pass as Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 131-117. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hurdle #2: Competency on the Wing (Outside Shooting!)

While Martin was out, the Wolves didn’t have any outside shooting threats other than default starting point guard Mo Williams.

With Martin, the Wolves have an entirely different facet to their offense, and opposing teams have to respect his shooting ability. That makes it tougher to double-team Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng in the post, and it also give Rubio a legitimate shooter to feed the ball to on the perimeter in transition and when he gets into the paint.

The more games the Wolves lose, of course, the better their chance of getting a top-three draft pick. Flip Saunders knows this, but there is also something to be said for trying to play respectable basketball over the final two months of the season.

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If the Wolves win, they’ll know that their core pairing of Rubio and Andrew Wiggins is something to keep together. It will encourage Rubio and others that this team is actually going somewhere in the near future, and possibly even resonate with potential free agents over the next couple of summers.

And that’s not even counting the public relations side of things. Long-suffering Wolves fans deserve some wins, and Saunders is no doubt in tune with the current and deserved perception of the Minnesota Timberwolves. A small ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Next: The Role of Mentor