Timberwolves Overall Team Grade
2009 was the point guard draft for GM David Kahn as he used the team's first three picks on the position (though one was traded.) This year it was all about the small forward as Kahn drafted four small forwards with five picks, trading one of them and small forward Ryan Gomes for another small forward. I am not sure what Kahn is thinking. He did upgrade their wing depth which was a must but I think he gave up too much to get Webster and didn't address the need for an athletic big man which makes me think Darko will be re-signed. Ish. (Grade: D+)
4. Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
Since the ping pong balls didn't go their way, this is the guy they've coveted at No. 4. His versatility will be a welcomed addition on their wing. He may not be a star but will definitely provide an upgrade and get to play with his former Syracuse teammate Jonny Flynn (Pick Grade: Love It)
30. Lazar Hayward, SF, Marquette
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! As a Marquette grad, I just soiled myself. Literally soiled myself. As much as I love Lazar, I have no idea how this is a good fit. Didn't the T-Wolves just draft Wesley Johnson and trade for Martell Webster? I kind of feel bad for Hayward, but think he will be a great role player in the NBA. (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)
35. Nemanja Bjelica, SF, Serbia
I read he just signed a 3-year deal with his team overseas and has an expensive buyout for each year. Maybe this pans out down the line, but for a second straight year, David Kahn is baffling me. (Pick Grade: Meh)
45. Paulo Prestes, C, Spain
I'm convinced David Kahn made this pick in hopes that Prestes will help convince Rubio to come to Minnesota. No, I had Prestes going to Minnesota at No. 56, so I am not surprised. I figured Minnesota would take an international player or two. Time will tell how this pick turns out. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)
2009-10 Season Summary:
The Timberwolves have a plethora of holes to fill before then can even think about sniffing the playoffs. They are coming off a season in which they expected to suck and hoped to develop their young talent. For now, let's say they went one of two. They finished with the second worst record in the NBA and were dead last in point differential with a minus 9.6 points per game. They also finished at the bottom of the league in turnovers averaging almost 16 per game. The T-Wolves go-to player, Al Jefferson, saw his production drop rather drastically from 23.1 points and 11 rebounds per game in 2008-2009 to 17.1 and 9.3 in the new triangle offense implemented by first year head coach Kurt Rambis. Meanwhile, Kevin Love and Corey Brewer both improved their numbers but only marginally and nowhere near what Minnesota needs out of them to be competitive. Jonny Flynn had a respectable rookie season but will need to tremendously improve to be worth the wager the team put on him last summer.
2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Darko Milicic/Nikola Pekovic/Kosta Koufus
PF: Kevin Love/Michael Beasley/Anthony Tolliver
SF: Wesley Johnson/Martell Webster/Lazar Hayward
SG: Corey Brewer/Wayne Ellington
PG: Jonny Flynn/Luke Ridnour/Sebastian Telfair
NBA Free Agents:
G/F Damien Wilkins (UFA)
PF Oleksiy Pecherov (UFA)
SF Sasha Pavlovic (UFA)
PF Brian Cardinal (UFA)
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $40.2 million
2010-11 League Salary Cap: $58 million
Timberwolves sign F/C Anthony Tolliver to 2-year, $4.8 million deal
Timberwolves waive G Delonte West
Timberwolves acquire G Delonte West and PG Sebastian Telfair from Cavs for PG Ramon Sessions, C Ryan Hollins, and 2nd round pick
Timberwolves sign PG Luke Ridnour to 4-year, $16 million deal
Timberwolves acquire C Kosta Koufus and two 1st round picks from Utah for PF Al Jefferson
Timberwolves acquire PF Michael Beasley from Heat for 2011 second round pick and option to swap future first round picks.
Timberwolves sign C Darko Milicic to 4-year, $20 million deal
Timberwolves acquire SF Martell Webster from Portland for SF Ryan Gomes and SF Luke Babbitt (16th pick)
Timberwolves acquire SF Lazar Hayward (30th pick) and F Nemanja Bjelica (35th pick) from Washington for PF Trevor Bookers (23rd pick) and C Hamady Ndiaye (56th pick)
Timberwolves sign C Nikola Pekovic to 3-year, $13 million deal
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Wing Scorer- Currently the roster dictates that the Timberwolves need to use Corey Brewer as a scorer/slasher from the wing and while he made leaps and bounds with his offensive game this season, he isn't the ideal option that any NBA team wants to use in that role. At face value this need seems like a square hole to Evan Turner's perfectly shaped square peg. He can step in immediately to be the player the Timberwolves need. It's also possible they try and fill this hole through free agency. Regardless of how they address the need, one thing is certain, it needs to be addressed.
2. Defensive Center- The Timberwolves got absolutely slaughtered in the paint last season as they were lacking a defensive presence in the lane to alter or block shots. Al Jefferson has proven he can't be a true center in the NBA because he can't cover the opposing team's center to save his life, which meant that Al was then forced to defend against a power forward which was equally as ugly. If the Wolves can add a player with some defensive presence in the paint they can work on reducing that 9.6 point/game deficit they faced last season.
3. Depth- It was no secret that last year's team was obviously rebuilding and therefore they were at times very over matched. The result was budding young players like Flynn, Ellington, and Brewer getting extended playing time where on a competitive team those 3 would have been asked to be role players. However with that situation, the players lower than them on the pecking order are pretty bad by nature. If the Timberwolves are going to adhere to David Kahn's 3 year rebuilding plan they are going to have to add some focused talent on the bench. They need someone to be able to come off the bench and hit open shots, someone that can step in and play defense if someone gets into foul trouble, and someone who is comfortable with playing limited minutes but has the ability to extend beyond their normal minutes if a player is struggling. With 5 draft picks and plenty of cap space, the Wolves need some crafty scouting and some solid negotiating to bring in the talent the team NEEDS to turn things around.
As the NFL Draft approaches, I will be making weekly adjustments up until the 27th of April. Rest of the writeups will be coming later this week. Any questions/comments/criticisms can be voiced in the comments. I will respond to all.