Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
The 2015-16 Minnesota Timberwolves...
Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger
Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad
Karl Anthony-Towns, Kevin Garnett, Adriean Payne, Anthony Bennett
Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic
The Wolves are in dire need of a backup point guard. Zach LaVine's minutes should come mainly at the shooting guard, though he'll definitely play some point next season. Pairing LaVine with Rubio in the backcourt could make for a terrific tandem.
The biggest question will be how a lot of these guys develop this summer. Andrew Wiggins needs to bulk up. LaVine needs to find some consistency. Nikola Pekovic needs to get and STAY healthy. Gorgui Dieng needs to work on his one-on-one post defense.
The 2015-16 Wolves could certainly be a surprise playoff team in the West next season. However, it's more than likely that the Wolves will need at least one more year until they're ready to FINALLY return to the playoffs.
It will be an interesting summer. The Wolves could certainly move Kevin Martin who proved last year he still has plenty left in the tank and when healthy is one of the NBA's premier scorer. Given the chance will they try to move Martin? Pekovic? Budinger?
The draft order won't be set until late-May, when the Wolves will find out their fate. Will they have the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in history or will they move back in the draft...as they usually do? Regardless of where they land 1-4, there will be a difference-maker available and another building block for this franchise.
Nabbing a top-two pick and grabbing someone like Okafor or Anthony-Towns would certainly alter the trajectory of this franchise. Ultimately, the hope is that they land Anthony-Towns. His ability to stretch the floor with his jumper, his physicality, and his post defense are exactly what Minnesota needs to solidify the four-spot in their lineup. Rubio & Wiggins are the only players whose position is secure with this franchise in the starting lineup. Wiggins because he's Minnesota's franchise player and Rubio, not so much because of his play (his injuries limited him to just 22 games this season), but because of that new contract he signed this past summer.
The Wolves had Thaddeus Young, Kevin Garnett, Anthony Bennett and Adriean Payne at power forward this past season. The need in the draft will definitely be to solidify that position. Ideally they land a player like Anthony-Towns, however the development of Payne will certainly be a storyline to keep an eye on. Then, there's Anthony Bennett...what do you do with Anthony Bennett? Do you keep him this season and hope he figures out how to play in the NBA? Do you try and trade him? Considering he has little to no trade value, it is almost certain that he'll be a Wolf in 2015-16. Assuming Kevin Garnett returns (not a foregone conclusion), the Wolves will be overloaded at power forward (also considering they take a player like Anthony-Towns). There will undoubtedly be some activity from Minnesota in trades this summer as they look to balance their roster and reach the next level.
Further complicating matters will be if Minnesota falls to the 3rd or 4th overall pick and guys like Towns and Okafor are off the board. It then falls to a selection like D'Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay, assuming the Wolves draft on talent and not need.
Build around Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio and hope that guys like Dieng, LaVine, and Muhammad continue to develop while Pekovic, Martin, and Rubio will hopefully stay healthy.
Regardless of what happens in the ensuing months, the future is bright in Minnesota...however we all know Minnesota fans are tired are hearing about how good the Wolves MIGHT be someday. After a decade-plus playoff drought, it's time to put up or shut up.
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