Grade the Trade: Timberwolves add much-needed backup point guard

Jan 27, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Monte Morris (5)
Jan 27, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Monte Morris (5) / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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Timberwolves acquire backup point guard from Pistons

Following weeks of speculation, the Timberwolves seemingly decided on the best offer and ran with it. Minnesota only had to give up two fringe rotation players and a 2030 second-rounder to acquire Morris.

Monte Morris Trade

A backup floor general was easily the biggest Minnesota need at the trade deadline. Lacking a true reserve point guard, the Timberwolves relied on Jordan McLaughlin, Milton, and even Kyle Anderson to initiate the offense with starter Mike Conley on the bench.

The 36-year-old Conley has been shouldering a heavy burden this year. In 46 appearances, Conley averages 29.2 minutes per game. His usage rate is the lowest it's ever been, but adding another ball-handler to the lineup seemed surefire.

The aforementioned Milton was brought in to fill said role. However, the former Philadelphia 76er profiles better as a scoring guard than an initiator. His season-high in assists per game occurred a year ago when he averaged 3.2 dimes per contest.

This season, in a career-low 12.9 minutes per game, Milton has averaged just 1.3 assists to 0.7 turnovers per game. His entire offensive game has seen a dip in production. The SMU product is averaging only 4.7 points and shooting a paltry 40.0 percent from the floor and 26.4 percent from downtown.

Milton's counterpart, Brown Jr., has enjoyed a better season, but not by much. In a smaller role than he held a year ago, the former Los Angeles Laker has averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 rebounds on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Other than the two former Timberwolves, the Pistons are acquiring a distant second-round pick. Although not prevalent, any additional draft capital is a boon for Detroit. As a rebuilding squad, it's necessary to stockpile as many draft assets as possible a la the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Next, we'll analyze and grade the trade for each squad, keeping in mind Minnesota's title aspirations and Detroit's need for future cap flexibility.