In the 2012-13 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t seen any one position that needs a significant upgrade. They’ve had injury depleted lineups, but their newfound depth has been proven by their ability to continue to win.
Every position on the Timberwolves' lineup has been great this season, with very few exceptions. The only player that has yet to meet expectations is Derrick Williams, which is why he’s the one that the Timberwolves are most likely to deal.
After being selected second overall in the 2011 NBA draft, Williams has been very unconvincing. At times he appears to be lost on defense and his decision-making hasn’t been on par with what the Wolves expected.
Because of how remarkable Dante Cunningham and Andrei Kirilenko have been playing, as well as how well Chase Budinger played before his injury, Williams hasn’t seen a ton of playing time—which is also a big reason for his low production levels.
If a new player were to be acquired for Minnesota this season, he would have to be either a backup or a guard better than Alexey Shved—which says something, because Shved has been very impressive in his role as a starter.
There are players out there that would be great with the Wolves, it’s just a matter of finding the right one.
Note: All stats are valid as of 12/23/12
In his time with the New Orleans Hornets thus far, Eric Gordon has proven to be one of the more electric scorers in the NBA—when he’s healthy, that is.
He averaged over 20 points per game (PPG) last season, but he’s also never played an entire season. Because of his inability to stay on the court, the Pelicans, er, Hornets, might be willing to part ways with him.
Despite his obvious talents, there are two reasons that Eric Gordon isn’t a good idea for the Wolves.
1. He’s expensive. With a contract of $13.6 million this season, the Timberwolves would be forced to part ways with Williams, as well as Luke Ridnour and Malcolm Lee just to make room for his salary, which brings me to reason No. 2.
2. He's injury prone. It would be rather difficult to explain getting rid of three guys for one guy that can’t stay healthy.
Gordon is a beast, just probably not worth his price.
Also a two-year player, MarShon Brooks has had an up-and-down career in his time with the Nets. In his rookie season, he averaged over 12 PPG. He wasn’t a passer (still isn’t), but he appeared to be developing into one of the better scorers in the league.
This year, he’s been less impressive. Coming off the bench behind six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, he’s been held to just 5.3 points in 11 minutes per game.
His purpose with the Timberwolves would be simple. Come off the bench behind Shved for 15-20 MPG and keep the Wolves alive offensively. That's it.
Brooks' contract is cheap, so the Nets would also have to throw in a player like rookie power forward Mirza Teletovic. (After dropping Josh Howard, Minnesota has an open roster spot.)
He wouldn’t be a substantial upgrade over Williams, but the Wolves could really use more depth for the 2-guard position.
I know what you’re thinking: Really, another white guy? Here’s the deal though, Tyler Hansbrough is one of the best backup big men in the league. Comparatively speaking, Hansbrough’s consistency would be a huge upgrade from Derrick Williams.
He’s always been the guy that can come out and consistently put up points, play defense and rebound, which is more than the Wolves have been getting from either Williams or Greg Stiemsma.
Also, his contract is just $3 million. That means that the Pacers would have to throw in another player— probably Tyler’s brother, Ben Hansbrough.
The Pacers would go for this because Williams would be a spark off the bench and a great player for David West to groom. Also, Hansbrough’s production and minutes have dipped slightly this season, making him somewhat expendable for the Pacers.
Put simply, Monta Ellis is one of the best offensive guards in the NBA. His defense can be a weak spot for him, but his scoring production more than makes up for it.
His situation with the Milwaukee Bucks is interesting right now, as he is set to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in the offseason. If the Bucks keep him, then they risk losing him for nothing. Since he hasn’t agreed to an extension, trading him may be the best option for them.
Right now, the Bucks still have Doron Lamb on reserve. They don’t need a point guard since they have Brandon Jennings, but they will need a 2-guard to take the place of Ellis.
Luke Ridnour would have to be included in the trade to even it out, but a third team would likely have to be involved as well in order for it to make sense for the Bucks.
Still though, Monta Ellis would be a fantastic player for the Wolves, it’s really just a matter of getting Milwaukee interested.
Tyreke Evans has slowed down since winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2010. He hasn’t been necessarily bad, just not the superstar that everybody in Sacramento thought he would be.
With 15.1 PPG to go along with over three assists per game, Evans has been a solid scorer with the Kings. Still, everybody saw what he was capable of in his rookie season, when he averaged 20 points and almost six assists per game.
His defense and fundamentals has always been solid, his lack of productivity really just boils down to the fact that he doesn’t have a set position with the Kings. He usually plays either shooting guard or small forward, but he’s also spent time at the point guard position.
The Wolves know what they could get out of him. If he doesn’t step up his game, at worst he’s a consistent 15 points-per-night player. Optimistically though, he could be a 20-plus points-per-game offensive machine.
As for the Kings, Evans is reaching the end of his rookie contract and is set to hit the market as soon as the offseason begins.
Also, the current power forward for the Kings is scoring just 11 points per game. Williams may not be the most efficient player yet, but he’s capable of more than 11 points a night.
Tyreke Evans would work well in the Wolves' system; he’s capable of being a tough scorer and would have a significantly bigger impact than someone like Derrick Williams.
Of all the comments I’ve read on all the articles about the Timberwolves trade options, J.J. Redick usually surfaces as the unanimous favorite.
There’s good reason for that. Coming off the bench this season as the sixth man for the Orlando Magic, Redick has been putting up 14 points and 4.9 assists per game. He’s a deadshot from beyond the arc, and seems to have no trouble finding offense.
The Orlando Magic could also very much use a player like Derrick Williams. Hedo Turkoglu has been injured for the majority of the season and appears to be washed up coming into his 12th year in the NBA.
Derrick Williams would make a great player for the Magic to groom to take over for Turkoglu in the future, and Redick would make a fantastic sixth man for the Wolves. Win-win!