In order for David Kahn's Minnesota Timberwolves to succeed next year, a major change is in order. The club is going to to have to shake things up next year to reach the playoffs.
There are certain simulations that will come into play, and all will be put into consideration. Without further ado, here is my opinion of the best possible lineup for next year, assuming the team drafts, trades for, or signs a big man.
PG: Randy Foye (6'4'')
I don't expect Foye to get me 15 points and 10 assists a night. Those sort of stats don't validate point guards in this league anyway.
Look at guys like Mo Williams, Mike Bibby, Derrick Rose, etc. They rarely get double-doubles, but they can very effectively run an offense, and that's what I expect Foye to do.
With his size and with last year's experience, Randy could be averaging anywhere from 16 and six to 18 and eight with two to three turnovers.
SG: Rodney Carney (6'7'')
The tendency to drive the lane must be locked into Carney's head; once he grasps it, he will take off. To make the transition from role player to starter is not an easy one, but it's hard to deny this guy on a fast break, which is something that the Timberwolves will run a lot of next year.
Carney will average anywhere from eight to 14 PPG and will flash greatness.
SF: Corey Brewer (6'9'')
The guy is big, he's quick, he's aggressive, and he's pretty damn smooth. He also provides the defensive mentality that the Timberwolves are going to need next year.
Brewer will be a guy to average 10 PPG, 5 RPG, 3 APG, 2 SPG, and 1 BPG.
PF: Al Jefferson (6'10'')
Do I really need to explain this? I mean, the guy is 6'10" and gives centers an extremely difficult time as it is. Moving him to power forward only makes him better.
Jefferson could put up 25 PPG, 12 RPG, 2 APG, and 2 BPG.
C: Big man via free agency, draft, or trade (7'0'')
We need a center, Kahn!
Kevin Love (PF/C), Sebastian Telfair (PG), Ryan Gomes (SG/SF/PF), Mike Miller (PG/SG/SF), Craig Smith (SF/PF), Bobby Brown (PG/SG)
So that's how I see the '09-'10 roster. Allow me to break down this possible squad from several angles:
Having Randy Foye at the point would ensure that every point guard is going to have a difficult time. Foye already has experience at the point, and although he is not a dynamic passer (he's a bit turnover-prone), he can run an offense well, fastbreak, and wreak havoc by blocking shots of the smaller point guards in the league. He is very nimble, smooth, and has a stealing ability that aids him in guarding his man.
To boot, he's a lot stronger and taller than a lot of point guards in the league, and if he can devote himself to working at the point this offseason as much as he did to working on his three-point shot, Foye could well become the sort of defender who puts up 2 SPG and 1 BPG.
I call Rodney Carney "The Stud"; many Timberwolves fans know him as "Hot Rod." He is incredibly tenacious and aggressive offensively and defensively and gives anybody a tough time with his intimidation. He has the ability to block shots and steal. His God-given gifts extend to legs that allow him to leap out of the gym.
Corey Brewer is a defense-first player who can virtually play SG through PF. He's long and has a solid body to go along with quickness and a knack for locking his player down. No three or two is going to get a decent shot in front of this guy. He's had games where he's had two steals in only 15 minutes of playing time.
Putting Brewer at small forward in the starting lineup would ensure that the Timberwolves are thinking defense, because Corey sure will be.
Al Jefferson averaged 1.7 BPG last season, but by putting him at PF, we could see that number jump to 2 BPG next season. He already gives centers a tough time on the post, but when height is in his favor, expect Jeff to have all PFs locked down.
Mike Miller comes in for Brewer and Carney as another long-armed swingman who can lock down defenders or at least give them a tough time. Craig Smith can also do the same.
Can you picture Corey Brewer getting a steal, passing it to Foye, and Foye bringing it down with Corey and Carney on the wings? Nobody would be able to stop that attack. Foye has a knack for finishing at the rim with his swiftness, Brewer has a variety of post moves and layups, and Carney is, well, a stud who cannot be stopped on a dunk.
Jefferson is going to draw double- and triple-teams. But when the extra defenders shift, it's going to set up Foye for a three-pointer, Carney for a slashing drive, or Brewer for either. Jefferson can put the offense on his shoulders, and with him playing the four instead of the five, he'll be even tougher to stop.
Kevin Love will be in rotation with Jefferson and the for-now ambiguous "big man," so the offense will not stop even when Al must sit. Because Love has one of the highest basketball I.Q.s of all the big men in the league, he does not have to be a freak of nature to get points.
Mike Miller can come in and give a decent combination of points and assists here and there. Gomes coming off the bench gives you instant offense, as he led the Timberwolves in three-point percentage last season and is also the most consistent and durable Timberwolf small forward.
Sebastian Telfair can come in for Foye at times or play beside him when Randy is at SG. Bassy can give you a quick six assists and also knock down six to 12 points. Craig Smith scores points in bunches, and he was typically the first man off the bench last season. This Timberwolves bench could be the deepest in franchise history.
Randy Foye had 15 rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs when he was at the point. Even as a one, he can board when he needs to.
Corey Brewer and Rodney Carney are guys that are going to grab anywhere from three to six a night, and Al Jefferson and Kevin Love can combine for 25 RPG next year while the big man puts in a solid contribution as well.
Ryan Gomes can come off the bench and get seven to nine rebounds easily, and Mike Miller can snatch a few himself. Craig Smith is not known for his glass-cleaning skills, but that doesn't mean he does not know how to grab a ball.
This lineup has the offensive and defensive power that the Timberwolves need to succeed. This group is what I call "near-perfect," meaning it sounds good but is ultimately going to need to develop chemistry.
Thanks for reading!