Minnesota Timberwolves Should Dig For Hidden Gems: O.J. Mayo And Hasheem Thabeet

Camden PaschAnalyst IIFebruary 23, 2011

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 05:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last off-season, Timberwolves general manager David Kahn swung a deal with the Miami Heat for the 2008 No. 2 overall pick Micheal Beasley.

Beasley, who was averaging just 14.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in his time in Miami, was the odd man out when the Heat landed Lebron James and Chris Bosh. Pat Riley dealt him away for just a 2011 second-round pick and unspecified future first-round pick swaps. The Heat had to make this deal to create financial flexibility to find veterans to fill the rest of their roster.

That deal has turned out to be an incredibly huge steal for the Timberwolves as they have found a future superstar type player in Beasley. He is averaging 19.9 points and 5.5 rebounds this year in a coming-out season for the big man out of Kansas State. He's a bright spot in a dark Timberwolves season and has given the fans something to hope for in the future.

Beasley's success is the motivation to make another such deal.

With that said, there are players on the trade market that are still young and considered by some as "draft busts." I look at these players instead as unfinished projects. Some of these ballers just need more minutes, a change of scenery, or simply said, a second chance.

The Timberwolves have a glaring need for some help at the shooting guard position and now are without Corey Brewer, who was dealt away in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster deal. Granted he wasn't very effective in his time with Minnesota, but he was still a starter.

In-house options to replace him include Wayne Ellington or Wesley Johnson, while a name like O.J. Mayo is floating around in trade rumors.

O.J. Mayo had not only lost a ton of minutes with the Grizzlies, but he had also lost his starting position and had little to no trade value. Due to Rudy Gay's injury, that might not be the case anymore. He will be receiving more playing time, and he showed that he can still score effectively when he scored 21 points against the Denver Nuggets in Tuesday's game. The Grizzlies could still deal him though since Tony Allen has been playing well of late.

The T-Wolves have had interest in having Mayo return to the team that initially drafted him. The ideal thought is to have O.J. Mayo in the backcourt alongside Ricky Rubio, that is, if Rubio comes to Minnesota. Mayo has a natural scoring mentality and ability that Minnesota needs at SG. In his first two years in the league, he averaged 18.5 and 17.5 points respectively.

Another Memphis Grizzlies player that hasn't panned out is Hasheem Thabeet. The 7'3'' center has had close to no success in his time in the NBA. He was taken second overall in the 2009 draft and has quickly fallen off the map, just averaging 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds a game in very limited playing time. He's been receiving just over eight minutes a game this year, and it looks like he has no future in Memphis.

There was a minor part to the Carmelo Anthony deal that the Timberwolves were involved in that shipped center Kosta Koufos to Denver. The T-Wolves now have a place for another big man, and Hasheem could be just that.

Thabeet could really use a new team and a place to try and revive his career. I just can't believe that a player like Thabeet, that dominated in college, can be such a waste in the NBA. It would be great for Minnesota to acquire him and hope for another Beasley-type result.

The deal would send Martell Webster and Utah's 2011 first-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet. Minnesota gets back two young players that were former lottery picks that could really impact the Timberwolves team for now and in the future. The Grizzlies gain help at a wing position, a first-round draft pick, and they lose Mayo's contract.