It's no secret that the Wolves are in dire need of a quality and true shooting guard. All three of these players fit that bill.
Here's a look at the depth charts at shooting guard of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the last five years...
2008-2009: Mike Miller, Rodney Carney & Randy Foye
2009-2010: Corey Brewer & Wayne Ellington
2010-2011: Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington & Martell Webster
2011-2012: Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson, Luke Ridnour, Malcolm Lee
2012-2013: Luke Ridnour, Alexey Shved, Malcolm Lee, Brandon Roy
For the past five seasons the Wolves have tried to rely on very odd and simply bad combinations at shooting guard. You'd think at some point David Kahn would've stopped signing point guards and make a run at a true shooting guard (with cartilage in his knees...ahem...B-Roy).
The last time the Wolves had a decent shooting guard was when Flip Saunders as still the coach. That player, was of course Latrell Sprewell. Since the 2004-05 season (Sprewell's last season in Minny) the Wolves have gone through the likes of Marko Jaric, Welsey Johnson, Mike Miller, Randy Foye, Trenton Hassell, Rashad McCants and a number of other guards, many of which aren't even in the NBA anymore.
So, it's no surprise that new President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders' main objective this offseason is balancing the roster (ie: getting rid of a point guard or two) and getting some true shooting guards (who can actually shoot) on the roster.
O.J. Mayo has been a name that we've heard plenty since Saunders came to town. Flip is a fan. Mayo is a solid player and is an obvious immediate upgrade at shooting guard. Another plus? He can shoot the ball...fancy that, a shooting guard that can shoot! I wouldn't mind at all to see O.J. finally in a TWolves uniform after spending about five minutes back in 2008 as a 'Wolf' on draft night. It all comes down to what he demands contract-wise. Last summer, the Mavs signed Mayo to a two-year contract worth $8.2million (just over $4million annually) with the second-year being a player option. Mayo is expected to decline that option and opt for free agency in search of a longer more lucrative contract. I wouldn't mind a four-year deal starting at $5-6.5million annually (so long as the Wolves still have money to both re-sign Pekovic AND Budinger--to do so, Kirilenko would have to decline his $10million player option--and hopefully still return on a more cap-friendly deal).
While O.J. Mayo may be the best bet on the free agency route. What about the 2013 NBA Draft? What are the chances that the Timberwolves' 2013-14 season's starting shooting guard comes from the Draft? Adelman has been adamant that he prefers more seasoned, veteran players opposed to rookies--and I'm sure the past two seasons with Derrick Williams has really changed his mind on that. However there are three pretty talented shooting guards in this year's draft.
1.) Victor Oladipo
2.) Ben McLemore
3.) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
That's how I'd rank the Top 3 shooting guards in this year's draft. McLemore has more potential and may be a future all-star, but Oladipo possesses not only supreme perimeter defense, but a tireless work ethic. And Pope is known mainly as a shooter, however not to the extent of J.R. Smith/Nick Young/Jordan Crawford, where no shot is a bad shot for them!
Honestly there'll all talented players and I wouldn't be unhappy to see any of them in a Wolves uni on opening day. I do think that Pope would be more of a reserve (at least in his rookie season) whereas Oladipo & McLemore would undoubtedly step right into a starting role.
Then it all comes down to how things shake out on draft night. If the Wolves want Oladipo or McLemore they'll have to move up into (at least) the Top 5. Whereas KCP is very likely to be there with the #9 pick.
The 2013 NBA Draft is now just 12 days away and I'll be very interested to see how these next two weeks shake out. I don't doubt that there'll be plenty of trade rumors churned out.
My ideal scenario for the Wolves' 2013 NBA Draft? Swing a deal with either Orlando (#2 pick) or Charlotte (#4 pick) for the #9 pick and (maybe) Derrick Williams and/or J.J. Barea/Luke Ridnour. I would also expect to get a little more back from one of those two teams if you're giving up the #9 pick, a still young former #2 pick and a quality reserve point guard (assuming we trade Ridnour :) ). With that Top 4 pick, you take Victor Oladipo, with the backup plan being McLemore. Then you use the #26 pick to take a reserve center like Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams or Jeff Withey, etc. to develop these next couple years (while also hopefully waiving or trading Greg Stiemsma in the process).
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!