Minnesota Timberwolves should seek specific type of player this offseason

Jake Layman of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Jake Layman of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves already have their two stars. Now, they must find the right pieces to complete the roster.

The Minnesota Timberwolves already have the first box checked when it comes to Team-Building 101.

Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas has two young All-Stars on the roster. He inherited Karl-Anthony Towns and acquired D’Angelo Russell in a trade only nine months after he took charge at Mayo Clinic Square.

Now, what to do with the rest of the roster?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Gersson Rosas has reshaped the roster

Much has been made of the massive roster churn that Rosas has overseen in the past 16-plus months. But there’s a clear pattern to the moves that his front office has made.

Higher-usage players with shaky 3-point shots are gone, from Dario Saric, who was traded on Rosas’ first draft night, to Jeff Teague, who was traded in January. Instead, Rosas has sought-out lower-usage players who can defend and shoot 3-pointers. At least in theory, that is.

Some, such as Allen Crabbe, who was acquired in exchange for Teague, didn’t work out. Others, like Treveon Graham, only provided half of the equation and were quickly jettisoned.

Rosas acquired Jake Layman from Portland in an offseason sign-and-trade, and he appears to fit nicely as a big, athletic wing who can run the floor and defend and shoot 3-pointers adequately, at the very least. He’s also a great cutter on offense and is otherwise a fairly low-usage player.

Juancho Hernangomez and James Johnson are both average defenders who can guard 4s and 5s, and, in Johnsons, case, 3s in a pinch. They can each shoot 3-pointers at or above league-average efficiency.

Josh Okogie, the only non-Towns, Thibodeau-era holdover, can’t shoot threes but is the team’s best perimeter defender, a great transition player, and a solid cutter.

The only player still on the roster and acquired by Rosas that doesn’t fit the mold is last year’s first-round selection, Jarrett Culver. A fully-realized Culver is as a scorer and secondary ball-handler, but not as a spot-up shooter. He was bad enough as a rookie that there are significant questions remaining about if he fits the vision moving forward.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The type of player that is a perfect fit

The Wolves are no doubt seeking more low-usage wing players who are positionally flexible and have the ability to guard at least two or three positions.

There are plenty of these players out there. The question is, can the Wolves afford the established ones, and if they want to acquire them via the draft, will they find guys who can contribute immediately while still on relatively affordable rookie-scale deals.

The Wolves starting lineup will consist of Towns, Russell, and at least two low-usage wing players. At least one isn’t on the roster yet, and ideally, Okogie would come off the bench and cede a starting spot to Mystery New Wing Acquisition No. 2.

The draft will be our first indicator as to the direction that Rosas is leaning. Will he try and fill that role by taking Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick? Or will he trade back and take a lower-ceiling but higher-floor option such as Isaac Okoro, Devin Vassell, or Saddiq Bey? Or will he bargain-hunt in the second round and/or undrafted free agents?

Perhaps Rosas will swing for the fences and attempt to acquire an established veteran, shipping the No. 1 pick out entirely. Or maybe he’ll focus on fringey free agent additions.

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If nothing else, we at least know the type of player that Rosas and Co. are searching for. Now, it’s just a matter of what the acquisition cost is, and whether or not they can hit on their draft picks.