Minnesota Timberwolves 2015 Position Outlook: Shooting Guard


This is the second piece in a series of five articles that will analyze each position for the Timberwolves heading into the 2015 season. Today we take a look at the shooting guard position.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are, of course, of the most raw teams in the NBA. They have many young players with great potential, and a few of them happen to fall into this particular shooting guard outlook. Leading the way for the Timberwolves at the shooting guard position, however, is 11-year veteran Kevin Martin.

Due in part to injuries and in part to tanking, Martin only played 39 games for the Timberwolves last season. In those 39 games, however, he was the best and most consistent scorer for the Wolves. He finished the season averaging 20 points per game while shooting 43% from the field and just under 40% from three-point range. Martin is one of those guys that head coach Flip Saunders can rely on to get a needed basket as there’s no questioning his scoring ability.

More from Free Agency

However, I might actually be a better defender than Martin (or at least just as good). It’s been a problem for Martin his entire career, and his increasing age definitely isn’t helping anything. Usually, Saunders will have Andrew Wiggins start out defending the opposing team’s best wing scorer while Martin defends the weaker offensive player.

As long as Martin stays relatively healthy for the 2015-16 season, he should remain the starter at the shooting guard position for the whole season despite his weaknesses on defense. His scoring ability combined with his leadership on the floor are too valuable for Saunders to have coming off the bench. I expect Martin to start and play roughly 30 minutes per game, and a large majority of those minutes will be at the shooting guard position because he can’t really play any other position.

Zach LaVine appears to be the favorite to slide in behind Martin as the backup two-guard, despite playing nearly 90% of his minutes last season at point guard. Last season, LaVine showed plenty of good qualities that indicate that he can fill in nicely behind Martin.

While LaVine started his rookie season slowly, he picked it up as the season went along and began to show some serious potential as a solid scoring two-guard. In the eight games he played in April, LaVine averaged 21.1 points per game while shooting 47% from the field. He was much more aggressive and was much more efficient finishing around the rim.

With Lavine’s athleticism, being able to finish around the rim should make him a serious threat. LaVine did struggle with turnovers last season, but much of this was due to the Timberwolves playing point guard which is clearly not where he is naturally suited to play.

Live Feed

NBA Power Rankings: Tiering all 30 projected starting point guards for 2023-24
NBA Power Rankings: Tiering all 30 projected starting point guards for 2023-24 /

Sir Charles In Charge

  • NBA rumors: Trae Young trade buzz, Andre Drummond is a comedian, Wemby and KAT team upFanSided
  • These NBA stars might switch teams sooner rather than laterAll U Can Heat
  • Is Karl-Anthony Towns entering his final season with Minnesota TimberwolvesSir Charles In Charge
  • Ex-teammate's prediction about Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards could benefit HawksSoaring Down South
  • NBA Rumors: Anthony Edwards will inevitably ask out of Minnesota?Sir Charles In Charge
  • Much like Martin, LaVine struggles on the defensive end. For LaVine, it seemed like it could have been due to a lack of effort than anything. Again, with the athleticism that LaVine has, one would think that he should be able to be at least an adequate defender in the NBA. Hopefully, we see him take a step forward defensively in the 2015-16 season.

    LaVine should play somewhere around 20 minutes or so per game this season, with the chance of other injuries increasing his playing time. Expect a majority of LaVine’s minutes to come at the shooting guard position filling in for Martin, while a few of them may be at the point guard position playing behind Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones.

    Additionally, Andrew Wiggins could see some minutes at the two-guard should Saunders decide to go with a big lineup in certain situations. This would mean someone like Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica, or Robbie Hummel likely playing the small forward position ahead of Wiggins.

    All in all, the Timberwolves should see a lot of scoring from the shooting guard position whether it be from Martin, LaVine, or Wiggins. Hopefully, Martin takes LaVine under his wing this season and can act as a mentor for him. Moreover, it would be nice to see some improvement on the defensive end from both Martin (not happening) and LaVine (unlikely, but possible).

    Stay tuned to DWW for my breakdown of the small forward position coming up soon.

    Other Minnesota Timberwolves 2015 positional breakdowns: Point Guard

    More from Dunking with Wolves