As the 2013 NBA Free Agency period slows down a bit, it is worth taking a look at how certain teams have fared so far. One of the NBA’s best offseasons, surprisingly, belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the job that new general manager Flip Saunders has done in adding so much talent to the roster.
It began on draft night when the Wolves traded their number nine overall pick — Trey Burke — to the Utah Jazz, getting themselves an extra selection later on. Their two big draftees that night were UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad and Louisville center Gorgui Dieng.
Muhammad was considered a ‘best available’ pick at the time the Wolves got him, and he has the potential to be a solid role player in Minnesota. He brings plenty of energy and fast break opportunity to the team which will be appreciated big time at the Target Center.
Dieng, meanwhile, was considered one of the big men to have some of the most upside coming out of the draft. He’s a big body that excels at protecting the rim. Whether that’s rebounding or shot-blocking, Dieng has a lot of great things the Wolves like and he should certainly fit in well.
Then, there was all of the free agency moves. The first and most notable move was being able to get Kevin Martin from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a sign-and-trade with the Milwaukee Bucks taking on Luke Ridnour’s contract. Martin will bring desperately needed shooting from the perimeter and is a guy who can create his own shot most of the time.
The Wolves brought back Chase Budinger after he sat out most of last year with a lingering injury, but they know how valuable a shooter he is off the bench. This was a fantastic move by Saunders. Budinger is young, athletic and can score the basketball. They would have been foolish to let him go.
Adding yet another player to their wing rotation, the Wolves were able to lure Corey Brewer back to Minnesota where he originally started his career. Hopefully this time around the team understands how valuable his skill set is and can appreciate the time he’s on the floor. Brewer is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league and brings a solidified defensive mentality to the Wolves.
Their last move was to bring in free agent big man Ronny Turiaf, formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers. While Turiaf won’t get a ton of playing time, he will bring a great amount of energy off the bench which you can’t put a specific value on. He won’t score a ton, but he’ll be able to do a good enough job down low in rebounding to where he’ll be an asset.
The only thing Saunders and company are waiting on now is for center Nikola Pekovic to get his deal worked out to come back to Minnesota. The team is confident he will do so, it’s just a matter of working out the little things at this point. Pekovic is a big part of their team and with him back, their roster is complete.
I haven’t even talked about the guys already on the roster yet. All of these new faces will join All Star forward Kevin Love and rising star point guard Ricky Rubio. The Wolves have certainly had one of the best — if not the very best — offseasons around the league. Kudos to Saunders for making it happen and allowing fans to quickly forget about all of the past mistakes made by former GM David Kahn.