The Minnesota Timberwolves need to re-sign Jordan McLaughlin

Jordan McLaughlin is back with the Minnesota Timberwolves? (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Jordan McLaughlin is back with the Minnesota Timberwolves? (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have not had much continuity over the course of the past calendar year. There are only two players on the current roster that have been in Minnesota for over a year: Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie. However, one player that has been surprisingly consistent is Jordan McLaughlin, who was signed on a 2-way deal at the beginning of the season.

After starting the season slow and only playing in six of the Wolves’ first 40 games, McLaughlin has been a steady force in Minnesota’s guard rotation over the past three months.  From mid-January on, he averaged eight points, two rebounds, five assists, and only one turnover per game on shooting splits of 52/41/63.

McLaughlin is a pass-first guard that plays persistent team defense, being a plus on both ends of the floor. Coming out of Southern California, the main knock on McLaughlin was his overall athleticism as well as his carelessness when facilitating an offense.

While he won’t ever be an elite athlete, McLaughlin utilizes his tools very well and has gotten very good at limiting unforced turnovers. He has also proven that while he might not be an elite scorer, his shooting has translated to the next level — which is really important for his particular skill set.

The following shows three separate players’ stat lines per 36 minutes over the course of their respective careers.

Player A: 14.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.9 turnovers, 48.9% FG, 38.2% 3P

Player B: 15.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.9 turnovers, 41.1% FG, 39.2% 3P

Player C: 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.9 turnovers, 39.3% FG, 34.3% 3P

Take these stats with a grain of salt, of course, but Player A is Jordan McLaughlin, B is Fred VanVleet, and C is Lonzo Ball.

Jordan McLaughlin is a rookie point guard, and typically those types of players struggle with efficiency (nonetheless one that does not see the court for long stretches of time). As a two-way player that has seen a fluctuation of minutes, it’s impressive to see him have a possible career arc similar to that of VanVleet and Ball, given he was an undrafted free agent.

It is important to remember where VanVleet started his career. Four years ago, he was an unrestricted free agent guard, and just last year, he was a key factor in Toronto winning the NBA finals.

McLaughlin may not ever be as good as VanVleet, who has been playing at an All-Star level this past season, but if he can become a consistent role player (which he has seemingly become), it will tremendously help the Timberwolves down the road.

Generally speaking, no one knows whether McLaughlin will be as good if/when he plays more than 25 minutes per game consistently, but the promise is there.

McLaughlin fits the modern prototype of an NBA point guard, and his shot shart shows nothing different from the fact.

He makes sense on the roster and has taken over the offense relatively well when subbing in for franchise guard D’Angelo Russell.

Jordan McLaughlin is a creator with the offensive mindset to score at either the rim or beyond the 3-point line. He may not be a star, but he is a net positive basketball player that the Minnesota Timberwolves would be insane not to bring him back, at least for 2020-21.

Next. Three trade targets for the Wolves. dark