The Minnesota Timberwolves are going through a youth movement. We have been saying this for years, but this movement is finally working. Even though they finished with the leagues fifth worst record, the play of young stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns give them promise for the future. They sit one piece away from building a contender. Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng give them depth off the bench. Once the Timberwolves fix their backcourt and find an aggressive center, they will rise in the Western Conference. They are lucky free agency is loaded with centers and teams with the draft positions in front of them aren’t drafting guards. There are franchise guards falling to no.5 in this draft. Lets take a look at the offseason ahead for the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves have owned the NBA Draft the last two years. They have their scorer and big man, but they need a new point guard. Ricky Rubio averaged a consistently average 9-11 points and 7-9 assists per game these lase five years. With a franchise point guard likely available at no.5, Rubio is on the block. With $28.9 million over two years remaining on Rubio’s contract, he becomes a value on another team with the rising salary cap.
Trade Partners: Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz
PG Kris Dunn
Kris Dunn’s party doesn’t want the Boston Celtics or Phoenix Suns to draft him at no.3 or 4 because of established point guards already on the roster. Unless someone trades with the Celtics or Suns, Dunn will go to the Timberwolves. He is the best point guard in the draft and gives the Timberwolves a facilitator. Dunn led college basketball in assists last season. Dunn-Wiggins-Towns provide what teams look for in a big 3. Time to trade Rubio.
SG Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield is a sniper from the three-point line. The Timberwolves finished 2015-2016 25th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage. Hield finished his senior season shooting 45.7 percent from three. He gives the Timberwolves a knock down three-point shooter and gives Wiggins space on the wing. Playing four years in college gives Hield the leadership and readiness to play now in the NBA. His motor will bode well under coach Thibodeau.
SF Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown is the best Tom Thibodeau-type player in the draft. His strengths are on defense and holds a 225 point frame at 19. That build at 19 screams lock-down defensive potential. Since Wiggins struggles defensively, Brown moves Wiggins back to the two and allows Brown to cover opposing small forwards. Wiggins-Brown-Towns give the Timberwolves length and versatility in their starting lineup. Don’t be surprised if Thibodeau takes Brown.
SG Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray is a combo guard who is another prospect unlikely to hear his name called no. 3 or 4. Murray has an NBA ready jump shot and plays with confidence. In clutch situations, Murray plays his best. He can facilitate, but his future position in the NBA is at the two. Since John Calipari joined the Kentucky coaching staff in 2009-2010, Murray is the only player to average 20 points per game. The Timberwolves will consider Murray if they don’t find a buyer for Rubio and Hield is off the board.
Joakim Noah is a hard-nosed center who excelled under Thibodeau. Noah struggled in his one year under Fred Holberg and is coming off a career-worst season. He could revitalize his career back with Thibodeau and give the Timberwolves a physical presence. They have Karl-Anthony Towns to play the four, so finding a center to do the dirty work they will get the best out of Towns. Towns and Noah would combine for a top NBA front court.