IV: Give up on SG Wendell Moore Jr.
While I don’t believe that second-year wing Wendell Moore Jr. is falling behind, he is certainly falling on the team’s depth chart. After the Timberwolves traded for SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, the dice were cast, and the Timberwolves pivoted from developing rookie Wendell Moore Jr. to NAW.
While that is not set in stone permanently, it does create a far more difficult path for Moore to get meaningful minutes this season. In appearing in 29 games last season, Moore was only able to average 5.9 minutes per game, despite starting two games for the Timberwolves. This year, the team has added young contributors like forward Troy Bown Jr., guard Shake Milton, and rookie forward Leonard Miller. While they may not compete at the same position as Moore, they will also compete for minutes.
I don’t see how Wendell Moore Jr. will get enough minutes this year on the Timberwolves roster unless the Timberwolves rotate him through their G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, one more.
III: Develop C Luka Garza
I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that the Timberwolves’ front office did not sign backup center Luka Garza to a standard NBA contract, but at least the team made it a point to sign him on his second consecutive Two-Way contract with the Timberwolves. And from what he has managed to show in two consecutive NBA seasons, his days of playing on a Two-Way contract for an NBA team are coming to a rapid end.
The 6-foot-11 235-pound center has got to be one of the hardest-working NBA players in the league today. Not only does he train to improve his rebounding, shot accuracy, and floor spacing, but he is just as motivated to improve his footwork, his hand-eye coordination, his strength, his balance, his endurance, and his speed. In terms of production, he certainly is getting the most out of limited minutes:
8.7 MPG | 6.5 PPG | 54.3 FG% | 35.9 3P% | 2.3 RPG | 0.6 APG | 0.1 SPG | 0.1 BPG
That’s outstanding on just 8.7 minutes per game. If the Timberwolves double his playing time, he is in the 13+ points per game realm, as well as 5+ rebounds per game. That is the stuff of a solid rotational player, as is. But he too is just 24 years old. If the Timberwolves can develop him even further, they will have a candidate to step up for the team if they must part ways with either Karl-Anthony Towns or Naz Reid.