The NBA Trade Deadline is a little over a week away. Several teams have already made moves with hopes of improving their rosters before a final playoff push. The New York Knicks added OG Anunoby right before the new year, and have won 12 of their past 14 contests.
The Indiana Pacers dealt multiple first-round picks and prized free agent acquisition Bruce Brown for Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam. Indiana is 3-3 with Siakam in the lineup but has looked better as of late, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies over their last three games.
Although a trade in the Western Conference hasn't occurred since early November, it's only a matter of time before a contender looks to bolster their roster via the trade market.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of those teams that may look to improve the roster with a trade. The Wolves are currently in uncharted territory. Minnesota ranks second in the Western Conference, only behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It's been six years since Minnesota has accumulated 30 wins before the trade deadline. That season, the Timberwolves managed to win 47 games. Unfortunately, nearly totaling 50 wins only slotted Minnesota in as the eighth-seed come playoff time. The Timberwolves were defeated in five games and didn't return to the playoffs until 2022.
This season, the Timberwolves have the number one overall seed in sight. But before it's time for the playoffs, the trade deadline provides teams with ample opportunity for improvement. Here, we discuss two moves that would boost the Wolves' chance and two moves Minnesota must avoid.
Boost: Adding a backup point guard
To remedy the backup point guard position, the Timberwolves added former 76er Shake Milton in the offseason on a two-year, $10 million pact. However, the Milton signed has gone awry.
In 36 appearances, with no starts, Milton has averaged 4.8 points and 1.4 assists per game. The SMU product is shooting just 40.3 percent from the floor and 26.4 percent from beyond the arc. Although not a traditional point guard, one would expect Milton to chip in nearly 10 points per game on efficient shooting splits.
Milton has neither been capable of scoring efficiently nor piloting the second unit. Aside from Milton, Jordan McLaughlin has spent the last couple of seasons in Minnesota. The former USC Trojan has yet to seize control of the backup point guard spot. Despite above-average playmaking chops, McLaughlin has never been an efficient scorer.
Adding a backup point guard is likely at the top of Minnesota's list, as it should be. The Wolves have already shown interest in a reunion with a former point guard. Tyus Jones spent four seasons in Minnesota, before signing with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019.
It's also been reported that Minnesota covets Detroit Pistons guard, Monte Morris. Timberwolves' president, Tim Connelly, selected Morris in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, while with the Denver Nuggets. Like Jones, Morris is a traditional point guard, who offers steady playmaking and efficient scoring.
Whether it be Jones, Morris, or another point guard, adding a player to pilot the offense in the absence of Mike Conley is imperative. Without Conley on the floor, the Timberwolves are significantly worse. Minnesota is 1-3 without the 36-year-old floor general in the lineup. And in those four contests, the Wolves have allowed 118.8 points per game, 11 more than their season average.