If you haven’t heard the news, the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded former no. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams. In return, the T’Wolves receive sixth-year forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Selected 37th overall in the excellent 2008 NBA Draft, Luc spent the first five years of his career as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Being a defensive lynch pin alongside the likes of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Mbah a Moute averaged 6.9 points on 46 percent shooting and 5.3 rebounds per game.
During that time, the lanky forward dealt with several injuries, including ones dealing with the ankle (2009), tendinitis (2012) and a sore knee (23).
That knee issue lingered into the 2013 offseason, affecting the start of his season after being traded to the Sacramento Kings for a 2016 second-round pick. Before being traded to the Timberwolves, he started in five of the nine games he participated, averaging 4.4 points per game in those contests.
Just seeing who the team is receiving will have fans on edge, as Williams was a high-profile player. While Mbah a Moute may not be as talented and gifted as Williams, he brings a presence to the Wolves that Williams and a majority of the wing players on the roster couldn’t: a defensive presence.
Corey Brewer comes to mind when you think of defensive-minded wings on the Wolves. After him, a blank is drawn because he’s the only one. At 6-foot-8, Mbah a Moute provides length and another body to throw at players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Andre Iguodala.
He isn’t providing much on the perimeter to the Wolves offensively, and doesn’t need the ball to make an impact. Looking at how well Minny has performed on offense so far this season (13th-best offensive rating in the NBA), him dedicating most of his energy to the offense won’t be needed.
For his career, Mbah a Moute has shot 29 percent from the 3-point land. To provide perspective, Williams’ has shot at the exact same percentage. Richard is also a solid rebounder, adding to the already-dominant presence that is Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. In a lineup alongside those two, the Wolves will have no problem controlling the boards.
Overall, Mbah a Moute isn’t the type of player that will wow you with his play, but he’s the perfect type of player you want on a playoff team and alongside scorers. The perfect role player is what he can be in this system, and Timberwolves fans will grow to love him as he gets acclimated to the team.