Minnesota’s biggest needs this offseason were as follows: address perimeter shooting, shore up perimeter defense and bring in another one or two capable bigs. Like clockwork, general manager Flip Saunders wasted no time in making these things happen.
The Wolves brought in plenty of guys including Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin, Ronny Turiaf and Chase Budinger who re-signed with the team. Via the NBA Draft, Minnesota brought in two specifically intriguing prospects in swingman Shabazz Muhammad and center Gorgui Dieng.
By making these moves and addressing major needs, not only will it improve the team greatly but we could see a monumental season from point guard Ricky Rubio.
Let’s start with the perimeter defense. Brewer will contribute to that aspect greatly and likely force some contested and/or poor shots from his man throughout the season. It’s not clear how much time Muhammad will get, but if he is on the floor he will be much better in this area than guys in the past. These types of plays will lead to more fast break opportunities, which we all know Rubio thrives in.
Secondly, being able to get themselves another rebounder in Dieng — Turiaf not so much, he’ll be more for occasional energy — will allow for more offensive possessions and second chance points. The more Rubio touches the ball, typically, the better.
Last and most importantly, bringing in shooters like Martin and Budinger will drive Rubio’s assist numbers way up. Too many times last year the Wolves failed to convert on open jump shots set up by flawless passing from Rubio. It pained Wolves fans to see night after night. With the shooting of these two, Minnesota won’t have to worry about that happening on a consistent basis anymore.
Shipping Luke Ridnour out of Minnesota will bring plenty of fans to tears of joy. The guy couldn’t consistently knock down those open shots and Rubio was visibly frustrated on several occasions.
Combine all of these guys with the two important pieces already in place with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic — whom still needs to re-sign — and Rubio has a heck of a team assembled in front of him compared to 2012. If the young point guard can stay healthy, he will put up career numbers across the board.