Ryan Gomes was probably the most underrated of the relevant players on the Timberwolves roster last season.
Last year, Gomes averaged 13.3 points per game, a career high. He led all Timberwolves in three-point shooting, at 37.2 percent.
Gomes has now been named team co-captain along with Al Jefferson. Gomes will be a leader, and now with little depth and the departure of Randy Foye, he is the second-leading scorer for the Wolves.
Gomes has a chip on his shoulder, his role for the team will be greatly increased, and we should see Foye-type numbers from him with higher efficiency.
Not to mention that he's played 164 games the last two seasons...and hasn't missed a game yet.
Gomes seems to add something to his game every year. At one point in time, he was an undersized power forward who had good footwork and amazing strength. He was not the most athletic player, but always had a good work ethic.
He added a midrange game to his arsenal and became a very deadly developing spot up shooter. His scoring average has increased every year. In four years, his average has gone from 7.6 points per game to 13.3.
He has never been a go-to guy, yet despite being taken dead last in the 2005 NBA Draft, he somehow managed to command respect.
After developing a midrange game, he developed a three-point jump shot. Gomes isn't afraid to shoot, and can often be seen creeping behind the arc, waiting for the pass.
He has been often criticized for not driving the ball that well or breaking down a defense. While skills in the latter leave a lot to be desired, he has started driving a bit more than usual and has shown flashes of finesse with his layup game.
There's no doubt that Gomes will add another notch to his offensive game. Remember, he has an increased role now. Timberwolves' President of Basketball Operations David Kahn has said himself that Gomes needs to show him "something" this year, claiming that he does not know Gomes' clear-cut role on the team.
After Jefferson's season-ending injury, Gomes averaged 16 points while shooting 42 percent from the field and .346 from three-point range.
With Foye and Mike Miller gone, I expect Gomes to get more touches from the outside. Gomes will average anywhere from 16 to 19 points next season, helping give him a great breakout year.
With the lateral speed of a shooting guard and the strength of a power forward, Gomes is very good as a defender, something many realized last season.
He's highly tenacious while being quiet. He does not fold under pressure, even when matched up against the likes of Kobe Bryant. Gomes has never been a great shot blocker, but can be considered a lock-down defender.
He will likely seek more time at the small forward position, and if he can learn to break down defenses, dare I say...shooting guard?
He seldom turns the ball over (1.56 per game) and has stays out of foul trouble (2.20 per game).
He also has no off-court issues, he's a positive role model, and, as Jefferson said, "He's a good guy."
Gomes is the delta wolf to Jefferson's alpha. There's no doubt in my mind that he needs to remain with the Timberwolves.
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