Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 role players to target in free agency

Kelly Olynyk of the Houston Rockets is defended by P.J. Tucker of the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Kelly Olynyk of the Houston Rockets is defended by P.J. Tucker of the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Derrick Jones Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr. of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Jake Layman of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Semi Ojeleye

Ojeleye is not a name that jumps off the page.

His numbers don’t either: four years into his NBA career, he is averaging 3.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and half an assist per game.

Yet Boston fans love him, and if you’ve ever watched him play, the eye test tells you that the per-game numbers are misleading. Ojeleye plays defense like a bull in a china shop — but a bull who is conscious of which pieces of china he’s trying to knock over. Plus, a career 3-point percentage of 34.9 percent may not knock your socks off, but with KAT being KAT, it’ll comfortably do for the Timberwolves.

Another key stat when evaluating Ojeleye’s career: he’s averaged 17 minutes per game. The Timberwolves should see if he’d like to play five or 10 minutes more every night.

Derrick Jones, Jr.

Jones has been a social butterfly throughout his young NBA career, suiting up for four teams in five seasons. Why not make it one more?

The disclaimer here is that Jones has a player option for next year, but we know that he and the Wolves had mutual interest last offseason, so it seems like there’d be a possibility he could be interested in hitting the open market after nearly falling out of the rotation by playoff time this season.

With career averages of 6.8 points in 20.2 minutes per game, Jones hasn’t exactly been lighting up scoreboards during his tenure in the league. Still, he brings a mixture of energetic defense and elite athleticism that would complement Minnesota’s young core quite nicely. With those tools, he may even have a higher upside than we’ve seen from him so far: and even if not, the Wolves wouldn’t need much more from him anyway.

Derrick Jones, Jr. is an NBA player in need of a home. The Timberwolves should see if he’d get comfortable in Minnesota.

Bonus: PJ Tucker

There’s no need to mince words on this one. The Wolves have been long known to covet Tucker, because he is the perfect 4 to slot alongside Karl Anthony-Towns. At 36, he’s more likely to sign with a contender. It just feels wrong to leave him out of this exercise altogether.

The Timberwolves have not typically made life easy on their fanbase, however, there is a foundation here that inspires real hope. They have three star players aged 25 and under.

Next. 2015 Re-Draft: Wolves take Towns or Booker?. dark

Now, they just need to get them some help.