Aside from injuries shortening the Timberwolves' season, a shooting guard had been missing from the roster to help balance the offense. Kevin Love not only led his team with MVP-like stats, but continued to raise his talent levels to become a top player in the NBA. Ricky Rubio showcased savvy point guard talent and proved critics wrong, as he competed for the Rookie of the Year until his season came to an end after tearing his ACL from a collision with Kobe Bryant.
The Timberwolves show that they have a premier player in Kevin Love, a budding point guard with Rubio, a good back up point guard in Luke Ridnour, a strong post player in Nikola Pekovic and plenty of youth to develop in Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster.
The one thing that the T'Wolves missed from this season is a shooting guard. Fortunately, Minnesota's front office realizes the issue. At the trading deadline, a trade had been close to being completed for Portland Trailblazer combo guard Jamal Crawford. Unfortunately the trade fell through, but with the offseason around the corner, there are plenty of guards to pursue in the free agency.
Take a look at seven guards the Timberwolves should consider adding to the roster.
If only we could travel back in time and halt the Timberwolves trade that sent Ray Allen to the Milwaukee Bucks for Stephon Marbury. We saw what Kevin Garnett could do with Ray Allen spotting up beyond the arc in Boston; the two paired with Paul Pierce won a championship.
To say that Ray Allen would help the T'Wolves win a championship now would be idiotic. Although the team would increase vastly and move closer in respect, Allen would only help the team in the short run.
There are two problems that face Ray Allen if he were to return to Minnesota: his old age prevents more than a two-year contract and Allen would want top dollar.
Could the Timberwolves lure another hot-shot Maverick from Dallas? Guard Jason Terry will be turning 35 next season and will be an unrestricted free agent. His savvy play and three-point shooting would help stretch the defense for Love in the post and the slicing Rubio. Plus, his leadership and veteran play would aid the Wolves.
The odds of the T’Wolves signing Terry away from a team competing for another championship are slim.
Smith has a flashy shooting ability, yet showcases an overall inconsistent ability on the court, especially on the defensive end. The chance of him leaving New York will be slight, but he would be a nice fit for many teams, including the Wolves.
Is he worth taking a risk on? His price may be hefty, but the baggage he brings may not be worth the headache.
The Timberwolves tried to swing a deal at the trade deadline to snag the combo guard from Portland. The entire deal fell through, and Crawford stayed put as a Blazer. Although the addition of Crawford to the Wolves would increase offensive production, the price will be quite hefty.
The former All-Star from his days in Milwaukee will be a free agent this summer. After a few bad seasons, the guard has regained his shooting touch in Phoenix.
The three positive factors about Redd is his shooting, the ability to contribute to an offense without messing up the flow of an offense and the price tag he carries around. He will not be as expensive as someone like Ray Allen, and you will get more years from him.
The best trade in the history of the franchise was shipping the large contract of Marko Jaric and draft pick O.J. Mayo to Memphis for the cornerstone of the team: Kevin Love. It's nice for the Timberwolves to be on the good side of a trade for once (think back to Ray Allen).
O.J. Mayo has been on the trading block for quite a while. The unfortunate part is his inability to gain playing time. The guard has quite the talent to shine. His shooting is good, not great, but he also brings forth an ability to slash to the hoop. With Mayo alongside Love and Rubio, he'll finally have the ability to flourish as a guard. He will be a restricted free agent, but since the Grizzlies tried to ship him out, chances are they will not match the offer sheet.
This will actually be one of the hardest snags in the free agent game, but signing him would propel Minnesota to a possible top five team in the Western Conference. Gordon showcases a savvy game, but his shooting is absolute pure. The possibilities are endless with him on the offensive end. Stretching the defense and having a pure shooter is exactly what Minnesota needs and what Eric Gordon provides.
Many teams will vie for his talent, meaning the contract will be pricey. Can and will the Wolves pay that price? If the Wolves want that chance to compete for an NBA title, this is something they must consider.
Adding one of these many shooting/combo guards would be an immediate push for the playoffs, barring injuries. Although some players would be better for many reasons, including age and talent, adding Eric Gordon or O.J. Mayo should be on the top of the to-do list for the Timberwolves' front office.
Either of these players can give the Wolves an edge and in two or three years max, they can be title contenders. With a new shooting guard in the mix, they won't have to rely on Wes Johnson. Soon enough the Timberwolves will not only compete for a playoff spot, but hold one of the best youthful futures in all of the NBA.