The Minnesota Timberwolves are a tough team to judge so far this season. The question, especially once they get healthy, will be whether or not they should be considered a contender.
The answer is no.
They’re not quite there—but they’re close. And by making the right moves before the trade deadline, they can become one.
With Kevin Love back and Ricky Rubio cleared to return to practice yesterday, Minnesota fans have reason to be optimistic. The Timberwolves are among the top ten in scoring defense and rebounding, and they have played hard in the absence of their stars.
Their fault lies on the offensive end, however, where their production ranks fourth worst in the entire league.
Minnesota needs to go out and get a scorer in order to make the playoffs.
Here's a look at three players that might be available as the NBA’s February 21 trade deadline approaches. Perhaps one could provide the missing piece that the Timberwolves need to be considered a postseason threat.
Though his scoring has decreased in each of his four NBA seasons thus far, Evans is still averaging nearly 15 points per game.
At 22 years of age, he is just three years removed from his outstanding first season in which he averaged more than 20 points per game and was awarded Rookie of the Year honors.
A change of scenery might be exactly what Evans needs to elevate his game and his guaranteed offensive production could propel the Timberwolves into the playoffs.
The 7-7 Bobcats may not be willing to deal the 2005 Sixth Man of the Year yet, since they just acquired him over the summer. But that may change as the season progresses and the deadline approaches.
If Minnesota can get its hands on him, Gordon would provide a great perimeter threat to boost the team’s scoring.
Though his production has dipped significantly since he averaged 18.5 points per game over five years with the Chicago Bulls, Gordon is only 29 years old.
He could be the piece that the Timberwolves need to be considered contenders.
Another option to provide Minnesota with much-needed scoring is Ellis.
There have been reports that Ellis will likely exercise the opt-out clause in his contract after this season and enter free agency. If that is indeed the case, Milwaukee may wish to trade the scorer before the deadline.
The price for Ellis would be high, but he’s the kind of weapon that would immediately spark the Timberwolves’ offense. In combination with a healthy Love and Rubio, he could solidify Minnesota’s status as a contender.