The Minnesota Timberwolves once again landed near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and there was a least a chance they could get a fortunate bounce and keep their top-four protected pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Unfortunately, the lottery didn’t go according to plan for the Wolves and the No. 7 pick went to the Golden State Warriors. Regardless, this team has to move forward with its plans to form a playoff-worthy core around Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
Minnesota’s two stars battled injuries throughout the season, exposing the Wolves’ roster issues more than ever before. If they want to bounce back in 2021-22, they will need to make some moves to better the roster.
Upon becoming the Timberwolves president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas made it apparent that he wanted to build a strong base of young talent and hasn’t been afraid to make some big moves.
Let’s take a dive into the Minnesota Timberwolves’ biggest offseason needs and what moves they could make in order to resolve them.
Minnesota Timberwolves Need #1: A true starting power forward
When healthy, the Timberwolves had a starting lineup with tremendous potential.
A backcourt of Russell and Malik Beasley, who have the ability to be legitimate threats from the perimeter and get a bucket when needed and a great young wing in Anthony Edwards, who showed flashes of stardom were legitimately good. Of course, there’s also Karl-Anthony Towns, who can score at all three levels and stretch the floor for the Wolves.
But despite all this talent, there was a big hole in this starting lineup that was quite obvious for the entire season, and that’s at power forward. To say that this issue should be at the top of the Wolves’ needs this offseason is an understatement.
The Wolves deserve credit where it’s due, being that they did try several different lineups to attempt to get what they needed at the power forward. They tried Jake Layman, Juancho Hernangomez, and Jarred Vanderbilt at the four during the first half of the season. It wasn’t until later in the year when rookie Jaden McDaniels received an opportunity, and while he was solid defensively, he didn’t add much on the offensive end of the floor.
It became clear that none of these players were exactly what the Wolves needed in order to make a playoff push. Although Vanderbilt and McDaniels both had promising seasons and showed that they could potentially be what this team needs, it’s not a sure thing heading into next season.
The Timberwolves could go two ways when making this move: getting a veteran forward that can be on the team until McDaniels or Vanderbilt are fully developed, or acquiring a forward on the timeline of their young core.
Either way, this player will need to have the ability to start for the team without being a liability on either end of the ball. Ideally, this acquisition would be someone who can stretch the floor and have the versatility to defend multiple positions as well.
There are a few forwards that could be available that would be the perfect fit for this young Wolves team, including John Collins of the Hawks, Rudy Gay of the Spurs, and PJ Tucker of the Bucks. All of these players will be free agents, which means that the wolves have their choice at quite a few great forwards if they can convince one of them to sign with the team.
Collins would be the most ideal for this team because of his age and the flashes he has shown on both sides of the ball. Being that he is a restricted free agent it will be difficult to pry him away from the Hawks unless a sign-and-trade occurs. But it is possible, as the Hawks know that they can’t keep their entire Eastern Conference Finals team together.
As for Gay and Tucker, they each would be the perfect two-way veteran forward that this team needs in their starting lineup.
Gay is coming off of one of his better defensive seasons with the Spurs, while Tucker just played a key role as a starter on the Finals-winning Bucks. It’s safe to say that if the Wolves could get either of these forwards and move their incumbent players to the bench to start next season.