NBA Rumors: Courtney Lee Would Make Minnesota Timberwolves a Playoff Team

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06:  Courtney Lee #5, Samuel Dalembert #21 and Chase Budinger #10 of the Houston Rockets wait for the start of play during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a team on the rise in the Western Conference, but a strong shooting guard addition would push them over the top and make them a favorite to contend for an NBA playoff spot. 

HoopsWorld's Yannis Koutroupis reports that the Wolves have some interest in Courtney Lee, but only in a specific way: 

Sources say the Timberwolves want to sign Lee outright, they arent interested in a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets.

— Yannis Koutroupis (@YannisHW) July 12, 2012

Regardless of the manner in which they acquire his services, the acquisition of Lee would make this Timberwolves squad into a true playoff team, health pending. 

If everyone remains healthy, Minnesota is looking at a very solid lineup with depth throughout all five positions. 

Ricky Rubio is obviously the starting point guard when he's healthy and remains a game-changer with his unbelievable court vision and passing skills that make what he envisions actually happen. Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea are both capable backups and bring an interesting mix of skills to the table when Rubio needs a rest. 

We'll come back to shooting guard in a bit. 

At small forward, new acquisition Chase Budinger will start until Derrick Williams has developed enough that he deserves a spot in the starting five. Both players are insane athletes, but Budinger is more well-rounded and polished at the moment.

Wesley Johnson can also back up these two, should the need arise. 

Power forward is a strong-suit for the Wolves, solely because of Kevin Love. The three-point shooting forward is the best in the world at his position as an inside-outside presence and a threat to pull down any and all rebounds. 

Williams can also back up Love, but Anthony Tolliver will be the top backup at the 4 if he re-signs with the Timberwolves. 

At center, Nikola Pekovic has the job for the second straight year. He was dominant while healthy and should have won the Most Improved Player of the Year award over Ryan Anderson, who didn't improve but rather declined slightly and received a far bigger role. 

Pekovic's physicality is the perfect complement to Love's game. 

Now, back to shooting guard. 

Brandon Roy was acquired to help fortify this position, but the formerly retired scorer should be limited to around 20 minutes per game during his first season back in action. With his previous knee trouble, a lot of attention should be paid to keeping him healthy and making sure he's put in a position to become a free agency steal. 

That's where the need for a second shooting guard arises and it's a need that Lee could most certainly fill. 

An athletic young guard with good touch from outside and the defensive abilities to shut down most opposing players, Lee would provide the Wolves with the perimeter threat that the offense lacks. 

He's the one missing piece to this squad, a piece that would truly put them over the top.