You cannot underestimate the value of NBA veteran's are able to play 35+ MPG.
When it comes to basketball as well as any sport, talent doesn't always indicate how many games you will win. In the game of basketball, consistency is probably the most valued attribute a player could have, it can even be argued that it's a skill in it's own right.
With that being said, the younger the player, the harder it is to play 82 games and produce at the same level.
With youth comes potential, and with potential comes flashes of greatness. This was the case for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. In their four game series with the San Antonio Spurs, the Wolves gave them 4 great games, and at times, looked like they could compete with any team. The Wolves were widely regarded as one of the better three-quarter teams in the league.
Sad to say, they were the worst team in the league despite being so competitive at times.
They lost many games down the stretch, winning only two when decided by five points or less out of 14. In the case of the Wolves, they would also get beat when the other team had key injuries, or were just not as talented as the Wolves.
The differences varied from loss to loss, but it all boiled down to youth, coaching and inconsistency.
Kudos to Kevin Love, who is arguably the most consistent PF in the NBA. Considering the fact that he had a 52 double-double streak going, and teams were doing everything they could to stop it, it's crazy to think of how consistent he could be if he had a legit all-star PG playing with him.
Credit Michael Beasley as well. While he had an up and down season, I think you can call his season a success. While it was filled with various injuries, learning a new offense, becoming a #1 scoring option, and playing a more perimeter styled game, Beasley really showed all-star glimpses.
With all of that being said, the Minnesota Timberwolves have lost more games in the last two seasons than they did three years ago. Even though they have been more talented, the difference was that the Wolves had veteran players then.
While those players were not the most athletic or the most talented, they brought their best every single night. I remember very vividly Brian Cardinal coming off the bench to hit three-pointers in very little amounts of time.
I again will state it over: You cannot undervalue veteran players that can play 35+ MPG.
The Wolves have Luke Ridnour, but you don't want him playing that many minutes consistently. The Wolves starting lineup consisted of Luke Ridnour, Wes Johnson, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Darko Milicic. Wes Johnson was a rookie and was playing out of position, and Darko Milicic is the most inconsistent player in the NBA.
The number one goal this offseason has to be about getting some veteran (not grey-beards) players that can play a lot of minutes.
There are plenty of players to be had for the right price and the Wolves cannot go into next season without at least two veteran players that can play significant minutes.
The Minnesota Timberwolves currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, and they should trade it if Ricky Rubio makes the jump to the NBA. That way, the Wolves will have their star rookie PG, and can surround him with some talent that can play consistently.
The Danny Granger trade could make the most sense.
IND: No. 2, Michael Beasley
MIN: Danny Granger, No. 15
The Wolves do this because Granger is a more well rounded scorer that can play off the ball with Rubio.
He's a veteran talent, he's proven that he can score in bunches over more than 1 season, and he's a better defender than Beasley is. The Pacers do this trade because they get a legit building block in Derrick Williams (whom they will draft at No. 2), and they get Michael Beasley to experiment with.
Both teams win.
Again, veteran player that can play significant minutes. Granger fits that mold, and just like Anthony Randolph, Kahn has targeted Granger before, so that could mean that he's still trying to pry him away from Indiana.
The Wolves would still be no short of young talent. They still would have Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph, Ricky Rubio (hopefully) and Wes Johnson.
Adding a couple of veteran players to that mix and the Wolves just might take that next step.
Thanks for reading!
Timber Wolf is an analyst for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @ Timb3r_Wolf.
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