III: Jordan McLaughlin
While not exactly a huge shockwave, the Timberwolves are in a race against time to lock down a succession plan for the starting point guard position, and backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin is on the sink-or-swim seat this season.
Things would be far clearer this season if McLaughlin had taken the initiative and outplayed veteran PG D’Angelo Russell last season. But that never happened. Instead, McLaughlin was more of a no-show, as injuries limited him to competing in just 43 games over the course of the 2022-23 NBA season. And while he did suit up for those 43 games, and actually played more minutes (15.8 MPG) than the previous season (14.5 MPG), his production dropped across the board.
And that was the final year of his rookie contract when everything is supposed to ‘click,’ and the likelihood of signing a new multi-year contract adds a great deal of financial incentive to put up career-high numbers. In short, the list of underwhelming factors that line up against the Minnesota Timberwolves pursuing a long-term relationship with PG Jordan McLaughlin continues to grow.
And yet, the team brought him back for one more season.
That wasn’t a mistake. It is simply a parachute for the Timberwolves roster in case something unexpectedly happens to their starting PG Mike Conley Jr., and the team begins to dive into an unexpected and unwelcome losing streak. McLaughlin would be expected to step up and handle the team’s point guard duties until a more permanent solution could be found.
But that situation only develops if:
- I – Mike Conley Jr. is injured or fails to play to expectations
- II – Newly added combination guard Shake Milton does not show any potential to become the Timberwolves backup point guard
- III – Reserve PG Jordan McLaughlin rebounds this season (pun intended) and proves himself to be worthy of assuming that starting point guard role
Otherwise, why have him? Of course, any perception of little value on the Timberwolves roster makes him unlikely to be included in any trade package at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline. But he could be a complementary piece to balance out salary exchanges. Still, there are players who are more likely to be traded. Such as . . .