Minnesota Timberwolves: Time to Trade Luke Ridnour
Point guards, point guards and more point guards.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t known what to do with themselves they acquire a point guard.
Why? None of us know.
But it’s what they do.
I have a killer idea for the Wolves: Trade a point guard.
The man they should trade? Luke Ridnour.
Let us begin.
He's the Worst PG on the Team
Shocking, but early on it's evident: Luke Ridnour is Minnesota’s worst point guard. Ridnour has a nice jumper, as demonstrated by his 47.5 percent conversion rate, and plays solid defense. But he doesn't do much to make the team better.
Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea, on the other hand, do. They are Minnesota's top two point guards.
We haven’t had too many opportunities to see Barea in a pure point guard position, as much of his time on the court has been spent with Rubio as the point guard, but Barea has experience at the position. He is also Minnesota’s best penetrating point guard and can create for himself unlike any other guard on the roster.
And Rubio is an instant highlight reel whenever he steps onto the floor. With his ability to see the floor and make passes few in the NBA can make, he is the epitome of what it is to be a point guard.
Both Rubio and Barea are much better creators, either for themselves or others, than Ridnour. And both of them are tougher players than Ridnour. Without Ridnour, it opens up more time for Rubio and Barea.
Obviously, now isn’t the time to trade Ridnour, given the hamstring issues with Barea.
But He Is Still a Solid PG
That doesn’t mean that Ridnour isn’t a valuable point guard in the league.
He averages 10.7 points per game this year. He knows how to run a team as a point guard and has eight years of experience to prove it, five of which he averaged 10 or more points per game and seven of which he averaged 4.0 assists per game or more.
There are plenty of teams in the league that don’t even have an adequate point guard, let alone the three that the Wolves have.
Some NBA franchise would be glad to take on a player like Luke Ridnour.
The Team Needs a SG
Minnesota has started Wes Johnson at shooting guard in all seven games this season. That’s all well and good, except that Johnson is not a shooting guard.
Watch him as he plays. His style of play REEKS of small forward. And that’s who he is.
Minnesota’s only true shooting guard is Wayne Ellington, but he barely plays. Needless to say, the Wolves need a shooting guard.
I don’t have any names that Minnesota could acquire with Ridnour and maybe other pieces as bait, but it’s a good start. Ridnour is a desirable commodity that many NBA teams would wish to acquire.
Barea Can Mentor Rubio
A claim some make about why the Wolves should keep Ridnour: He can serve as a mentor to the NBA-inexperienced Rubio.
Well, that is true. But there’s another piece in place to mentor Rubio: J.J. Barea.
Barea is 27. Ridnour is 30. HUGE difference. There is SO MUCH more wisdom to be gained from those three years of NBA experience.
What’s on Ridnour’s list of NBA accomplishments that isn’t on Barea’s?
Three more years of NBA experience? An additional 1.3 assists per game on his career average?
Well, Ridnour’s played in 18 postseason games. Beat that Mr. Barea!
Barea has only played in 40 postseason contests AND won an NBA Championship…no big deal.
His "leadership" Isn't Needed
At age 30, Ridnour is Minnesota’s elder statesman among healthy players. (Brad Miller is the oldest player on the roster, 35, but he’s out for an unspecified amount of time).
With Rick Adelman at the helm Minnesota’s head coach boasts a .616 winning percentage in 18 seasons as an NBA coach and 860 wins (entering this season). That’s a voice worth listening to.
Kevin Love lost 20 pounds and trimmed inches off of his waist this offseason and has made himself one of the league’s premier power forwards. That’s a voice worth listening to.
J.J. Barea has an NBA Championship to his name. That’s a voice worth listening to.
As mentioned earlier, Luke Ridnour has had a very average NBA career. His NBA experience has been very average. He is a useful, serviceable veteran but one Minnesota can certainly get by without.