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
4 of 4

Grading the trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves knew upgrading the reserve unit was of the essence. First off, Minnesota lacked a true backup point guard. Milton faltered in the role, while McLaughlin hasn't inspired much confidence.

After showing interest in former guard Tyus Jones, the Wolves likely shifted focus to Morris due to his attainability. Jones was, at minimum, available only for a first-round draft pick. Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, trading a first-rounder is impossible for the next six years.

Morris was the next best thing, a high-IQ floor general capable of piloting the first unit and leading the reserves. Morris, like Jones, has ranked top five in assist-to-turnover ratio since the 2019 season. He's also an efficient scorer. In every season he's played in more than 10 games, Morris has shot above 45.5 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three.

To acquire Morris, it only cost Minnesota two fringe rotation players and a distant second-rounder. While Brown Jr. was one injury away from a prominent role, a backup point guard is more essential to the current iteration of the Timberwolves.

Without Conley in the lineup, Minnesota has lost three of five games. Two of which came at the hands of bottom-dwellers, the Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs. And oddly enough, without the 36-year-old point guard in the rotation, head coach Chris Finch opted to start shooting guard Alexander-Walker.

Even with a healthy Conley, the Wolves suffer whenever he takes a breather. Minnesota's offensive rating drops nearly six points with Conley on the pine. Furthermore, Conley is also important to the Wolves' defense. Minnesota allows roughly four more points per 100 possessions when Conley's off the floor.

The Conley-less minutes have been far more discouraging than they should be. With championship hopes alive and well, relying on a 36-year-old point guard to shoulder the weight of the squad is alarming.

Minnesota receives a B+ for this deal. The additions of Brown Jr. and Milton did not improve the roster as expected. Moreover, a 2030 second-round pick is trivial.

Minnesota Grade. B+. The Timberwolves add the backup point guard they've long desired. Instead of trading away valuable assets, the Wolves acquired Morris for two less-heralded players and a future second-rounder.. . Minnesota Timberwolves