Since the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise began in 1989, the Timberwolves have only made the playoffs eight times. The last time they made the playoffs was in 2004, which is the longest active NBA playoff drought. They have tried so hard to keep star players like Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love happy, but they never are in Minnesota. After stealing Andrew Wiggins from the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s Flip Saunders’ job to make sure he is happy. This offseason is key in the Timberwolves re-build. I’m not expecting another star player to sign in Minnesota. The Timberwolves will continue to stockpile more young talent along with veteran leadership. Their main focus will be at finding a combo guard and power forward. Let’s take a look at who is on their radar entering the off-season:
Greg Monroe: Monroe is going to be a hot name on the free agent market. He is quietly averaging 16.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. His numbers sky-rocketed after Josh Smith was released by the Detroit Pistons. The Timberwolves are desperate at power forward which is why I believe they will give him a call. He will be asking for a lot of money, but his age, durability, and production is worth it.
David West: Experience, respect, and leadership is what David West would bring to the table. Andrew Wiggins is the clear leader for the future, but someone needs to show him how to be a leader. Kevin Garnett is doing that now, but all signs are pointing to a retirement at the end of the season. West has been a leader on every team he has been on and is one of the most respectable players in the NBA. Even though the Timberwolves may not be good next season, West has the attitude to have these young players work as hard as they can.
Brandon Knight: With Zach Lavine transitioning to shooting guard and an inconsistent, injury-prone Ricky Rubio, Brandon Knight is the perfect combo guard. Many don’t see him leaving Phoenix, but with enough interest I can see him leaving. This season was the start of Knight reaching his All-Star potential. Knight is better at the point but can shoot from all over the court. Knight and Lavine would be a freakish back court for years to come.
Khris Middleton: Since the Jabari Parker injury, Khris Middleton has burst onto the NBA scene. Middleton is 23 years old and is averaging 13.1 points per game, which is the best in his young career. With Parker coming back next season, I see Middleton in a new jersey. Middleton is a great rotational player. If he was in Minnesota, he would be rotating in with Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Martin.
2015 NBA Draft
Karl-Anthony Towns: Teams would have a tough time grabbing rebounds over Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns can rebound, block shots, defend, and can score on the low post. The tournament game against Notre Dame proved to me he needs to be watched on every single play. At the age of 16 he was playing for the Dominican Republic national team. He knows how to win and plays at his best when it matters most. Experience goes a long way.
D’Angelo Russell: Combo guard is a need and D’Angelo Russell is the best combo guard in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has the skills to be ready on day one. Russell is averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. The best guards in the league can score, rebound, and pass effectively. Russell would be a great compliment to an up and coming star in Andrew Wiggins.
Rebuilding takes time and the Minnesota Timberwolves have been re-building for a while. Teams are built through the draft, and the Timberwolves have another season of drafting with an early pick. With Wiggins’ rookie contract ending in four seasons, Minnesota needs to figure things out before that contract expires. This draft is huge for the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves.