Many found it curious when the Timberwolves’ second year point guard Jonny Flynn was unable to play in any of the Las Vegas Summer League.
It turns out, as has been reported over the last day or two, the curious were right to wonder. Flynn has undergone surgery on his hip in Vail, Colorado, sidelining him for upward of four months—essentially until at least a month through the season.
The recent signing of Luke Ridnour was completed with the knowledge that Flynn may or may not be able to start the season, and now it would appear that the ex-Milwaukee Buck will be the starter for Minnesota on opening night.
Ridnour has averaged 9.4 points per game throughout his career, and managed to put up 10.4 points a night last season while backing up mercurial Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings. Ridnour put up those numbers in 21.5 minutes per game. He also averaged four assists.
A little mathematical extrapolation means that Ridnour’s production can be projected to be around 15 points while averaging 30 minutes a night, putting up a projected six assists per night, as well.
For a little bit of perspective on those figures, let’s look at Flynn’s numbers from his rookie year. The former Orangeman put up 13.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a night, averaging just below 29 minutes per game. If the projections hold, it would appear that Ridnour is not a bad option at all to take the helm at Target Center for a while.
Ridnour also offers a little more size at the point guard spot than does Flynn. Flynn stands just 6’0”, whereas Ridnour is listed at 6’2”. This doesn’t mean a ton, but does indicate that perhaps Ridnour will have a little more leverage to work with defensively.
Ridnour was selected to the rookie challenge and the skills challenge in his second year in the league with the Seattle SuperSonics (remember them?) in 2005, the year that he took over the reins in the Emerald City. Ridnour was the starter in Seattle until a three-team trade involving the Bucks and the Cavaliers sent him to Milwaukee.
He was the starter again in Wisconsin, starting 50 games in his first season there. He averaged 9.6 ppg in the 2008-09 season, playing in a total of 72 games. Ridnour’s 2009-10 season was spent tutoring Jennings. Ridnour’s production actually increased across the board last season. He achieved a career high 47.8% shooting from the field and 38.1% from beyond the three point arc.
While the Ridnour prepares himself to be the starter to begin the season, the Wolves front office will be looking for a cheap veteran to back him up.
The Wolves traded last season’s backup point guard, Ramon Sessions, to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with backup center Ryan Hollins for Delonte West and former Wolf Sebastian Telfair.
Both of the players that the Wolves received in the trade will, in all likelihood, be waived by the Wolves in a bid to further reduce their salaries against the cap. Neither player is expected to play a minute in Minnesota this year.
This has led to the need for the Wolves to sign the afore-mentioned veteran backup for the season. Several names will be thrown around, but whomever the Wolves do make a push for will likely come at a veteran minimum salary.