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Thread: Timberwolves rebuild

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    Default Timberwolves rebuild

    With the recent moves by the T-Wolves I've become pretty interested in their future moves and thought it would be a good team to follow via a thread. Looking at their current roster the transition between a poorly constructed offensive team and an athletic, defense first team appears clear.

    With that in mind who do you guys see getting traded, staying or getting cut?

    Including Fesenko and Heslip the Wolves potentially will be bringing about 20 people to camp. What it looks like presently:

    11 J.J. Barea PG 30 6-0 178 Northeastern $4,519,500
    15 Anthony Bennett PF 21 6-8 259 UNLV $5,563,920
    13 Corey Brewer SF 28 6-9 185 Florida $4,702,500
    10 Chase Budinger SF 26 6-7 209 Arizona $5,000,000
    33 Dante Cunningham PF 27 6-8 221 Villanova
    5 Gorgui Dieng C 24 6-11 238 Louisville $1,413,480
    6 Robbie Hummel SF 25 6-8 220 Purdue $880,000
    0 Othyus Jeffers SG 29 6-5 210
    14 Zach LaVine PG 19 6-5 180 UCLA $2,055,840
    23 Kevin Martin SG 31 6-7 197 Western Carolina $6,792,500
    15 Shabazz Muhammad SF 21 6-6 222 UCLA $1,971,960
    14 Nikola Pekovic C 28 6-11 285 $12,100,000
    1 Glenn Robinson III SG 20 6-6 220 Michigan
    9 Ricky Rubio PG 23 6-4 185 $4,660,479
    32 Ronny Turiaf C 31 6-10 241 Gonzaga $1,500,000
    22 Andrew Wiggins G 19 6-8 200 Kansas $5,510,640
    25 Mo Williams PG 31 6-1 195 Alabama $3,750,000
    21 Thaddeus Young SF 26 6-8 230 Georgia Tech $9,410,869
    http://espn.go.com/nba/team/roster/_...a-timberwolves

    They have the 11th highest payroll -- which is probably tied partially to bringing in Thad Young, but even with so many small contracts things will not be easy. The only player on a contract that could be cut is Hummel, but he's one of the few shooters on the roster, and he's still young enough for a rebuild. This means that the Wolves will be forced to make numerous trades in the very near future, OR, refuse to sign 2nd rounders that appear to fit the future of the team more than current players.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/minnesota.htm

    The future? My guess is that Flip wants a young, athletic team that puts defense first. That would fit the playing style of 3 of the 4 new Wolves (Bennett is young, and athletic for his size but has never been known for defense).

    So who gets traded? I think Pekovic and at least one other player are moved for player(s) that can be cut/ have shorter contracts/ draft picks/ the rights to players in Europe/ or a combination of all the above. They have to move Pekovic. He has the largest contract remaining, and Dieng's style of play fits with the new players more, for far less financially.

    I would also move Martin -- he's all offense, little perimeter shooting and has 3 years remaining. It's a respectable contract. Someone could use him as their 6th man. I just feel Corey Brewer fits better; he's a speedy athlete, and he's got a more manageable contract.

    Next would be Rubio. Multiple sources say that he wants max money and years. Only problem -- he's not a max player. Might as well get something for him. The FIBA World Cup is an excellent place for him to up his value, and then move him for draft picks to a team that has more perimeter shooting than the T-Wolves.

    That would still leave chronically injured Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad, but it's a start.

    There are other people who believe the Wolves should trade Pekovic for...Bargnani! That's insanity, but would help lottery chances.

    Thoughts?

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    I think they should be patient this year. They fleeced the Cavs and the future looks very bright, but there are so many "ifs." How will Wiggins, Bennett and Dieng develop. Will Pekovic stay healthy. He has been injured quite a lot so far, but those were small injuries.

    Pekovic and Rubio are their best players right now, and neither is far away from becoming an all star. Pekovic just needs to stay healthy and do what he's doing. Rubio needs to become a mediocre shooter. Yes, easier said than done, but I would be afraid to give up on him so soon.

    When it comes to Rubio's max, a lot of people want max. He's going to be a restricted free agent, so I don't think they should rush a trade. Also, I doubt that he's going to raise his trade value during the FIBA cup. He was never a great FIBA player.

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    Quote BobLoblaw wrote: View Post
    I think they should be patient this year. They fleeced the Cavs and the future looks very bright, but there are so many "ifs." How will Wiggins, Bennett and Dieng develop. Will Pekovic stay healthy. He has been injured quite a lot so far, but those were small injuries.

    Pekovic and Rubio are their best players right now, and neither is far away from becoming an all star. Pekovic just needs to stay healthy and do what he's doing. Rubio needs to become a mediocre shooter. Yes, easier said than done, but I would be afraid to give up on him so soon.

    When it comes to Rubio's max, a lot of people want max. He's going to be a restricted free agent, so I don't think they should rush a trade. Also, I doubt that he's going to raise his trade value during the FIBA cup. He was never a great FIBA player.
    So the future is a center who can't stay healthy, and a point guard who can't score? Neither are close to being all-stars. They play in the West, but even in the East how would Rubio beat out Wall, or Lowry, or Teague, or Kemba Walker? Being flashy does not make you good.

    Furthermore, in the debates had about the Raptors, we always question if moves will create a treadmill of mediocrity, or springboard the team into taking steps forward. Keeping Pekovic and Rubio can only lead to mediocrity.

    Why?

    1/ You said it yourself Pekovic's tendency to get injured.

    2/ Pekovic is great at pushing his player off the block, but his weak side defense is not the best, and he is not a shot blocking threat.

    3/ Pekovic does not fit the chemistry of the new players. He scores via set plays: pick and rolls, or deep posts.

    Meanwhile, Dieng is capable of scoring without plays run for him (sort of like Amir), he's more athletic (like all of the players brought in), and he is a shot blocker. You can't have the defensive anchor for an athletic, young, fast team being a slower, traditional center who needs plays run for him. And that contract will become an issue in the very near future.

    As far as Rubio:

    1/ He wants max money -- on a team that just picked up 2 top lottery picks.

    2/ On a team that will potentially feature 4 young, athletic players with limited perimeter games, if the point guard has no perimeter shot every defense will dive under screens, and sag off the perimeter -- making the screen pointless. But if he has even the threat of the three, then teams have to show on the screen: it creates an earlier point to break a defense down.

    People often compare Rubio to Rondo, but that's a mistake. Rondo can actually score. Because of his diverse mid-range and interior attacks, teams have to attempt to prevent drives before they happen. He's also one of the best players in the league at splitting screens. Pick and rolls work best when there is a perimeter threat -- whether it's Love or Pierce. The difference is that if the play breaks down Rondo can create for himself, whereas if Pekovic and Love were not options Rubio could not.

    3/ A large amount of the Wolves fast break game was built around long outlet passes from Love directly to the scorer. Rubio does not have the arm to replace that.

    The Wolves need an athletic, defensive point guard who is a legitimate offensive threat to match with Wiggins, ETAL. They could also use a Center behind Dieng. They have 2nd round draft picks, and camp invitees who better fit the future style of play than a number of their current players.

    I agree patience is important, however, with the right trades, and/or a single year in the deep lottery the Wolves could get the point guard of the future who fits the new cast of players. Patience will then be needed as they surround the kids with the right vets to fill out the bench.

    Finally, yes numbers wise Rubio will never show well at FIBA. However, simply by leading the 2nd best team in the world to the finals, scouts will begin to believe that he is a great leader. The Wolves only need 1 desperate team to bite, not 30.

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    Dieng is dominating at the FIBA World Cup averaging 22 points and 11.7 rebounds after 3 games.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Garbo's Avatar
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    I really believe that a team will never have a defense first identity when their point guard is unable to keep his man in front of him. Everyone is forced to switch, to help, to slide and it turns every defensive possession into a scramble. That's why I love Lowry, and wouldn't want Rubio if I was a Wolves fan.

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    Quote Garbo wrote: View Post
    I really believe that a team will never have a defense first identity when their point guard is unable to keep his man in front of him. Everyone is forced to switch, to help, to slide and it turns every defensive possession into a scramble. That's why I love Lowry, and wouldn't want Rubio if I was a Wolves fan.
    I'm not completely sure but doesn't Rubio have a good reputation as a defender?

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    Quote Sam17 wrote: View Post
    I'm not completely sure but doesn't Rubio have a good reputation as a defender?
    Yep, he's seen as one of the better PG defenders in the league.

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    Quote Sam17 wrote: View Post
    I'm not completely sure but doesn't Rubio have a good reputation as a defender?
    Yes. It tends to be considered one of the top parts of his game along with his passing. He's a pretty good defender, and doesn't struggle to guard his man. At least he's better than many starting PGs in that aspect.

    And fwiw, Rubio had a better DRTG and DWS than Lowry last year.

    Also, I generally hate that logic with PGs, apart from the fact that it doesn't apply to Rubio. Point guard stay in front of his man? Good luck. Between the general talent level at the position in the league right now, and the fact that most PGs don't go iso, but utilize some sort of screen, it's pretty much impossible to contain a PG without help. Your best hope is that they are not physically right. *Or that they're one of the few PGs who struggle to score, like Rubio himself. Dude is a terrible scorer, not just shooter, from every part of the court.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Sep 1st, 2014 at 05:54 PM.

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    Wow.
    I looked into it and I was completely wrong. Rubio IS a good defender, and for some reason I was completely convinced of the opposite.
    Public service announcement: Do your homework, or look like a tool.

    White men can't jump, good point. Would you argue that, due to the points you mentioned, a team is better served by a great offensive point guard with weak D than a good all-around point guard? Looking back, I blame much of the Raptors earlier defensive deficiencies on Calderon's inability to keep his man in front of him, but maybe I'm being too critical?

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    Quote Garbo wrote: View Post
    Wow.
    I looked into it and I was completely wrong. Rubio IS a good defender, and for some reason I was completely convinced of the opposite.
    Public service announcement: Do your homework, or look like a tool.

    White men can't jump, good point. Would you argue that, due to the points you mentioned, a team is better served by a great offensive point guard with weak D than a good all-around point guard? Looking back, I blame much of the Raptors earlier defensive deficiencies on Calderon's inability to keep his man in front of him, but maybe I'm being too critical?
    I don't think there's a right or wrong answer.

    A team is better served by having good balance on both ends, and a team defensive scheme where even the guys who aren't great individual defenders are smart enough to do things like rotate, communicate, not gamble stupidly, etc....

    PG is not a position where one type is really a universally better option. It depends on your mix of players. One thing that is critical is the bball IQ of your PG. Whatever deficiencies they have in other areas, it's pretty damn impossible to win with a low-IQ PG (can anyone think of a team with a "dumb" PG winning a championship?).

    Calderon took too much crap for his D. He's not great, but he's a smart player, and years when we had better players/systems in place his problems were less obvious. We just had generally bad personnel and poor defensive coaching for most of his time in Toronto.

    Anyway, I still prefer a guy who has some kind of legit scoring skill. I don't like the Jason Kidd, or now Ricky Rubio type (yes he's worse, but similar skill sets), where the guy is great all around, great in transition, but has no real scoring weapons in the halfcourt. I would rather a well-balanced offensive PG who can score and pass (even if his passing is worse than the above mentioned), or a two-way PG who's primarily a shooter in the halfcourt (like so many of Phil Jackson's PGs with the Bulls or Lakers...but you need a legit perimeter stud or two to make that work so the PG doesn't have to initiate the O).
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Sep 1st, 2014 at 07:02 PM.

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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    PG is not a position where one type is really a universally better option. It depends on your mix of players. One thing that is critical is the bball IQ of your PG. Whatever deficiencies they have in other areas, it's pretty damn impossible to win with a low-IQ PG (can anyone think of a team with a "dumb" PG winning a championship?).
    Best example I can think of is OKC making the finals with Westbrook, considered by many to be a low-IQ high-athleticism guard. It is certainly rare to see a low-IQ PG go far - mind you, I would also argue that there just aren't many low IQ point guards, due to the nature of the position, so maybe the trend is skewed.

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    Quote DanH wrote: View Post
    Best example I can think of is OKC making the finals with Westbrook, considered by many to be a low-IQ high-athleticism guard. It is certainly rare to see a low-IQ PG go far - mind you, I would also argue that there just aren't many low IQ point guards, due to the nature of the position, so maybe the trend is skewed.
    That's also the only example I can think of...and they didn't win, and Westbrook's penchant for poor decisions at key times is often cited as a key reason they lose.

    I also agree that it's not particularly abundant with low IQ PGs because of the bolded. Low IQ PGs have to be tremendous talents to stick, like Westbrook.

    *I guess Miami with Chalmers is actually the best example I can think of in terms of a team actually succeeding at the highest level with a low-IQ PG. I don't know why I didn't before. It's funny because he's not bad defensively and he can shoot the 3, but he does some dumb shit, and his inability to grow while Wade has deteriorated was a clear reason why Miami just got their asses handed to them. He may not have the worst IQ, but he's mediocre at best in that area.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Sep 1st, 2014 at 09:16 PM.

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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    That's also the only example I can think of...and they didn't win, and Westbrook's penchant for poor decisions at key times is often cited as a key reason they lose.

    I also agree that it's not particularly abundant with low IQ PGs because of the bolded. Low IQ PGs have to be tremendous talents to stick, like Westbrook.

    *I guess Miami with Chalmers is actually the best example I can think of in terms of a team actually succeeding at the highest level with a low-IQ PG. I don't know why I didn't before. It's funny because he's not bad defensively and he can shoot the 3, but he does some dumb shit, and his inability to grow while Wade has deteriorated was a clear reason why Miami just got their asses handed to them. He may not have the worst IQ, but he's mediocre at best in that area.
    To be fair, though, Chalmers didn't really play point on that team. Did he initiate even one offensive set his entire tenure there? LeBron James was their point guard in all but size, so I don't think that's even much of a counter example.

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    Quote DanH wrote: View Post
    To be fair, though, Chalmers didn't really play point on that team. Did he initiate even one offensive set his entire tenure there? LeBron James was their point guard in all but size, so I don't think that's even much of a counter example.
    But I was just going by listed position, which he still gets written in at PG. That's why I mentioned Phil Jackson's teams. Rarely did his PGs really play the "point".

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    Not sure how legit this is. If I can find the original article I'll post a link

    Ricky Rubio for Eric Bledsoe rumor:
    http://www.travelerstoday.com/articl...eles-trade.htm

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    MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton says he is optimistic the team can sign point guard Ricky Rubio to a contract extension before the season begins, but he says the team doesn't feel in a rush to do so.

    Milton spoke to reporters on Thursday after some of the team's young players, including No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, participated in an informal workout as they get ready for training camp.

    Newton says he and Wolves President Flip Saunders are having regular conversations with Rubio's agents about an extension. So far, the two sides have not agreed on terms.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11...ubio-extension

    On its own, means nothing but...
    while Bledsoe and the Suns continue their stalemate, nothing is stopping other teams from trying to engage the Suns in sign-and-trade talks, albeit likely in vain.

    According to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, you can add the Timberwolves to the list of teams who at least considered that.
    http://www.thescore.com/nba/news/581891

    Probably we'll know by Oct 31st, if he doesn't sign an extension...

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    wolves have offered bledsoe a max deal!

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    Quote rocwell wrote: View Post
    wolves have offered bledsoe a max deal!
    They'll need the Suns in on it, as the Wolves don't have enough room. Sign-and-trade will be interesting.
    In Masai we Trust.

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    The Twolves can not do a max deal for Bledsoe unless the Suns cooperate on a sign and trade deal.

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    Kevin Martin for Bledsoe and JJ Barea amnestied allows the deal to happen. Or trade Martin to Philly with a pick.

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