So, what have the Timberwolves done thus far, this offseason? Well, Minnesota's offseason started by trading the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to the Houston Rockets for swingman Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu. So, what do we think about this one...
- Well, Chase provides an instant upgrade over Wesley Johnson and Martell Webster at the small forward. There's a good chance, barring other moves, Bud could be Minnesota's starting small forward heading into next season.
- The 18th pick became Terrence Jones. Jones could become a great player, someday, but Minnesota didn't need another 19-year-old prospect--that could be good...someday. Chase fills a need. A big need.
- Lastly, Lior Eliyahu. The Israeli prospect played on Minnesota's Summer League squad. I did watch him, a few times--once vs. the Bobcats. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. He's listed as a 6'10" power forward, but he didn't seem to have strength to be an effective 4 in the NBA. When Lior was acquired as part of the deal, there was some talk that he had a legitimate chance to make the opening day roster. That won't be happening this season.
- Hummel is a marksman from three-point range. He reminds me a lot of Matt Bonner 2.0. A great shooter, who can rebound some, but 'leaves something to be desired' defensively. Robbie will thrive in Adelman's offense as a spot-up jump shooter off the bench. Likely a third string small forward that can also play some stretch-four.
- It is still uncertain (unless he signs for the minimum) that he will be a Minnesota Timberwolf, in 2012-13.
- Roy doesn't have any cartilage left in his knees, but here's hoping he still has some 'ball' left in his bones. If so, he could be one of the steals of 2012 free agency, of course, it's possible, he could be one of the biggest busts, if his body doesn't 'cooperate'. Roy should be able to play 20-25 minutes a night (he says he'll be playing more--hoping for 35+ a night) and whether he's starting or coming off the bench, I guarantee that he'll be a fixture of the fourth quarter, as Minnesota's 'closer'. I think it's pretty clear he'll be the starting shooting guard, however.
- Yet another point guard. David Kahn is truly infatuated, with (white) point guards. If this means J.J. Barea will/can be traded, by all means, sign Shved! If that means that Luke Ridnour is on the 'outs', DON'T DO IT! I expect Alexey to find the majority of his minutes as a backup shooting guard. Adelman had Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour or Ricky and J.J. or etc...I assume that's where he'll get most of his minutes. Kahn/Adelman say he'll be a rotation player, they're not signing him to warm the bench. With the addition of Shved and (likely) Hummel, the TWolves will have two rookies on the roster.
- We all knew that all three of these players wouldn't be on the roster, next season.
- Martell didn't do much in his time with the Wolves. For the majority of the time he was nursing a number of back injuries. Of course, he'll never live up to the expectations that made him a #6 overall pick in the 2006 Draft.
- We knew that Miller was going to retire, as he made it known before a game mid-season, last year. Unfortunately, he retires without a ring and on a team that didn't make the playoffs, but during his heyday he was one of the NBA's premier big men. They traded him to the Hornets (along with the picks) so they wouldn't have to finance the buyout themselves (roughly $800,000).
- Like the other two, we knew just a couple months into the season that Darko was going to be amnestied this summer. As per usual he lost interest and motivation, didn't stay in shape and simply couldn't contribute, leading to him being banished to the bench. Pekovic's emergence made Darko give up, when quite frankly he could've been a serviceable backup center. He clear waivers and now a number of contenders are looking to sign him, I'd say there's a good chance he could wind up in Miami.
- Let's be honest, when it's all said and done, Nicolas Batum used the Minnesota Timberwolves as leverage. Either he was going to sign with Minnesota and make the big bucks. Or Portland would match and...he'd still make the big bucks.
- He would have been a great fit for the Timberwolves in dire need of competent wing players. Now, we'll be pushed into Plan B, or C...or whatever.
- The TWolves traded away Ellington, who was never able to carve out a role in Minnesota. He should have some better success in Memphis (likely as a three-point specialist). With O.J. Mayo out, Wayne could be the main backup to Tony Allen for the Grizzlies, next season.
- Dante is a versatile big man that will see time at small & power forward. He'll likely be the third-string power forward. Cunningham is an energy player that will give 100% on both ends of the floor and work hard every time out.
- Minnesota drops one of its least productive players (Wes) and clears some cap space for another move...
- I'm really not losing sleep over Minnesota dropping Wes. However, unlike most players, I almost hope that he doesn't perform very well in Phoenix. The reason being: we had to give up a 1st round pick to 'dump him'. He was a former 4th overall pick that never lived up to the potential. But, because it was only his second season, last year he still has plenty of time to improve. Minnesota passed on DeMarcus Cousins (5th to SAC), Greg Monroe (7th to DET), Gordon Hayward (9th to UTH) and Paul George (10th to IND) to name a handful. Any one of those players would've been the correct pick at #4. Yes, I know there would've been plenty of scrutiny if Minnesota selected George or Hayward over Wes, but it's obviously worked out great for Indiana & Utah.
- The TWolves got one of the most versatile forwards in the League and an anchor for their defensive schemes.
- Sure, the price tag makes you cringe a bit--however, if AK can contribute 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block he's worth every penny.
- He'll lead the charge on the defensive end and like most of the players the Wolves have acquired this season, he lends Minnesota to have one of the most versatile rosters in the League.
- Stiemsma is a great backup center and may be the rim protector the Wolves have lacked these past few seasons. He was second only to the blocks per game leader (Serge Ibaka) in blocks per minute!
- There's no doubt that he'll boost Minnesota's interior defense and give Minnesota a big upgrade over Darko Milicic.
This has been a Minnesota Timberwolves Offseason Update as of August 4th. During the Brandon Roy press conference, David Kahn said there's a chance--after the Olympics, that Minnesota may make a small tweak, or potentially what he calls a 'significant move'.
Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!