The Minnesota Timberwolves had their 2012-2013 season derailed by injuries to multiple key players, but their primary shortcoming on the floor was a lack of proficiency from long range and an overall lack of scoring punch from the perimeter. Surely injuries to many of their better shooters played a role, but adding a shooting guard that can make perimeter shots and match up well defensively with others at the position should be the team’s top offseason priority.
Monta Ellis had a solid season for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012-2013, averaging 19.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game while playing all 82 games. He was not quite as good in the Bucks’ first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat, averaging 14.3 points, 5.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in the four-game sweep.
The Bucks are facing a lot of potential turnover this offseason, with some notable players that are potential free agents and the future of coach Jim Boylan up in the air. Ellis is among the players who may not be back in Milwaukee, as he has an $11 million player option for next season. If he chooses to decline the option and become an unrestricted free agent, multiple teams will surely have interest. Should the Timberwolves be among them?
Ellis has been a fairly prolific scorer over his eight NBA seasons (516 games), averaging 19.4 points per game overall with four seasons averaging over 20 points per game. His contributions elsewhere on the stat sheet should not be overlooked, with career averages of 4.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
But Ellis made less than 29 percent of his three pointers this season, and he has made less than 32 percent (31.8 percent) of his attempts from beyond the arc during his career. The Timberwolves, or any other team, would surely like better efficiency than that, particularly since Ellis finished this past regular season with the fourth-most field goal attempts in the league (1,436).
Ellis offensive skill set is surely that of a shooting guard, and he has played some point guard during his career as well. That flexibility stands to enhance his value on the free agent market, but the Timberwolves already have plenty of capable ball handlers that fit the profile of a backcourt “tweener”, for lack of a better term. Add in his potential asking price, and whoever winds up in charge of Minnesota’s front office going forward should be able to find a better free agent fit than Ellis.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.