2 Trade deadline moves that would boost Timberwolves, 2 moves they must avoid

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
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Avoid: Trading Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Team-friendly contract? Check. Efficient shooting splits? Check. Fantastic defense? Check. Alexander-Walker has improved mightily over the past couple of seasons.

Once a low-efficient gunner, the Wolves guard is now a versatile defender, willing passer, and efficient shooter. He's averaging just 6.7 points per game, but his spot in the rotation is invaluable. Minnesota is nearly four points better per 100 possessions with Alexander-Walker on the floor.

His defense is what matters most. Alexander-Walker's opponents shoot 3.6 percent worse when he's the primary defender. The Wolves guard's matchups are shooting a measly 42.8 percent from the floor on 9.5 field goal attempts per contest.

It's also worth noting that Alexander-Walker's opponents are shooting less than 60 percent (59.7) on field goal attempts at the rim. For comparison, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, is only allowing opponents to shoot 1.4 percent worse at the rim than Alexander-Walker.

In 22.8 minutes per game, Alexander-Walker is averaging 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. On a per-36-minute basis, he's up to 1.4 steals and 0.9 blocks. The Virginia Tech product is one of 28 players in the NBA to record 40 steals and 25 blocks this season. Of all players to reach these marks, he ranks second-to-last in total minutes played.

After being essentially a throw-in in the Conley for D'Angelo Russell swap a year ago, Alexander-Walker has turned into an indispensable part of the rotation. He now looks to be a part of the future, that is, if Minnesota can afford to keep him around.