The Minnesota Timberwolves had two clear weaknesses during the 2012-2013 season, three-point shooting (a league-worst 30.5 percent) and defense, with an opponent’s field goal percentage of 46.8 (24th in the NBA). Finding a player or two that can guard shooting guards and small forwards is surely on the offseason checklist of new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders.
Francisco Garcia spent the first seven-plus seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings, but was then traded to the Houston Rockets this past February in the trade that also sent 2012 lottery pick Thomas Robinson to Houston. In 58 total regular season games, including 18 with the Rockets, Garcia averaged 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while making over 37 percent of his three-pointers. He had a bigger role in the postseason for Houston, averaging 10.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while starting three of six games during the team’s first-round loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets will reportedly not pick up Garcia’s $6.4 million option for next season, which obviously makes him a free agent. He has stated a desire to re-sign with Houston, and the team should have the salary cap space to bring him back if they want to. With the option to at least make him an offer, would Garcia be a good fit for the Timberwolves?
Garcia has not been a prolific scorer during his career, averaging just 8.3 points per game along with 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game over 480 career games (133 starts). He has not even averaged double-figure points per game since the 2008-2009 season, but he has flashed some ability to score and may simply need more playing time to become a more consistent offensive threat. More specifically to what Minnesota may (or should) be looking for, Garcia has a career three-point shooting percentage of 36.1 and has converted at least 35 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in six of eight NBA seasons.
The Timberwolves’ interest level in Garcia, assuming they will have any, is likely to be dictated by his asking price. He could also choose to go back to the Rockets fairly early in the free agent process, taking the opportunity away for any team to make an offer. In any case, Saunders should not feel like he missed out on a difference maker if for some reason Garcia incites a bidding war between multiple teams.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.