Grading the trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves
This theoretical trade is a win-win for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Any trade without having to include Jaden McDaniels or Karl-Anthony Towns is a positive. Here, Minnesota sends out two players on expiring contracts, Mike Conley and Kyle Anderson.
Both Conley and Anderson are worthwhile contributors. Conley averages 11.1 points and 6.4 assists per game. He's also knocking down 45.7 percent of his field goals and 45.8 percent of his 3-pointers. Perhaps most importantly, Conley is the NBA leader in assist-to-turnover ratio. He only averages 1.0 giveaways per contest.
Anderson is a non-shooter but is as well-rounded a player as you can get given his shooting limitations. He averages 6.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game.
Despite his all-around contributions, the Wolves are substantially worse with Anderson on the floor. Minnesota is 8.7 points per 100 possessions worse with Anderson on the court. It's feasible that the substitution of Leonard Miller, Wendell Moore Jr., or Troy Brown Jr. for Anderson may lead to increased production.
All in all, this trade is about the Timberwolves acquiring one of the best two-way guards in the association. Dejounte Murray would slot right in at the point guard spot, occupying Conley's previous role. A Murray-Anthony Edwards pairing would be lethal on both ends of the floor.
Unlike Trae Young, Edwards is an athletic 6-foot-6 guard capable of playing on and off the ball. He doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective. Less than half of his field goals come from assists. However, more than half of his 3-pointers are assisted. He works as an offensive focal point and a valued spot-up shooter.
Edwards is averaging 25.8 points and knocking down 2.2 3-pointers per game this season. A Murray-Edwards backcourt combines for 47.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game. Quite the star-studded duo.
While losing Conley and Anderson isn't detrimental, forgoing draft assets for years to come does limit future growth. Due to the Rudy Gobert trade, Minnesota is without four first-rounders. The Timberwolves cannot trade any first-rounders for years to come, thus pick swaps are crucial to tempt a trade partner.
Potential starting lineup: Dejounte Murray, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert
The Timberwolves receive an A for this trade. Minnesota loses financial flexibility, but the core is locked in for years to come, with an upgrade at point guard. The bench is very average, consequently, the loss of Anderson isn't dire.