Coming off a disappointing loss to the 24-27 Chicago Bulls, the Minnesota Timberwolves have dropped from first to third place in the Western Conference. Minnesota may drop even further in the coming days as they travel to Milwaukee, to take on the Bucks, then Los Angeles to battle the Clippers.
Against Chicago, the All-Star duo of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 71 points and 12 triples. Fellow starters, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley played to their strengths. Gobert grabbed 16 boards and Conley dished out eight dimes.
However, the bench continued to lack any sort of scoring punch. Big man Naz Reid chipped in 10 points, while the rest of the reserves combined for just eight points. And to make matters worse, in an overtime game, head coach Chris Finch only played backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin for seven minutes.
It's becoming increasingly apparent that the Timberwolves have lost faith in ball-handlers other than Conley. Edwards is capable of piloting an offense, but he's better suited as an off-guard.
With nowhere to go, Minnesota has taken a liking to several guards on the trade market. One of which is a surprise candidate, Toronto Raptors guard Dennis Schroder.
The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski lamented the Timberwolves' need for bench scoring and additional help at point guard. He later mentioned Schroder as a player on Minnesota's radar.
The German point guard signed a 2-year, $26 million deal with the Raptors in free agency after veteran guard Fred Vanvleet bolted for the Houston Rockets. Schroder began the season as the starting point guard, but that quickly changed when Toronto shipped out OG Anunoby and received RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in return from the New York Knicks.
Head coach Darko Rajaković has opted in favor of Quickley as the starting point guard. As a reserve, Schroder has averaged five fewer minutes, four fewer points, and two fewer assists per game.
Sitting at 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-33, it's all but likely Toronto will look to sell at the trade deadline. No longer competitive, Schroder's spot on the Raptors roster is superfluous.
Instead of giving minutes to the 30-year-old guard, the Raptors might want to see what they have in Kira Lewis Jr., the 22-year-old point guard whom they recently acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans. Lewis Jr. was a former 13th overall pick who averaged 6.4 points per game in his rookie season.
As for Schroder, yet another change of scenery may be in store for the lightning-quick floor general. He bounced around the last few years but spent the majority of his time on contending teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers.
Schroder and the Timberwolves look like an ideal partnership. With a dearth of scoring off the bench, the Raptors' point guard offers Minnesota the shotmaking their reserve unit lacks. The veteran guard also adds playmaking to the bench, he's averaging 6.2 assists per game on the year.
For continued updates on the Timberwolves' trade targets, stay tuned.