5 Ways Minnesota Timberwolves Can Strengthen Their Bench
5 Moves The Timberwolves Can Make
The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the worst benches in the NBA. This has caught up with the team, and they are in the middle of a three-game losing streak. Adding Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in a trade for Derrick Williams helps the Wolves short-term, though, they probably could have gotten more than a simple straight-up trade for a role player. While the players values might not exactly add up, the defensive specialist should help the Wolves more than Williams who had been playing a career low amount of minutes.
The move shows that the Wolves know they need to improve their second unit in order to reach the playoffs, but there’s still more to be done. They’ve done something to address the bench’s defensive woes, but their offense is just as bad. Adding offense may be a struggle without any real trade chips, but they may still find a way.
Whether the Wolves trade for another player or find a free agent to sign, they need to do something. The starting lineup on this team is simply too good to miss the playoffs, but it may end up happening if the bench is not bolstered by some more serviceable players. With several teams apparently actively trying to tank the season, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find veteran role players on the cheap, but the disappointing Williams for Mbah a Moute trade shows that effective veterans may come at a higher cost than the Wolves are able to pay. Still, here are five possible ways the Timberwolves can strengthen their bench.
5. Sign A Free Agent For Veteran Minimum
The Timberwolves have 15 men on their roster, so signing an additional player would require cutting a member of the current squad. It may be worth it, though, if they can find a serviceable veteran. Rumors surfaced over the offseason about the Wolves signing Rip Hamilton. A veteran with heavy playoff experience who can knock down shots could be a huge help, and signing someone to a 10-day contract would allow the Wolves to experiment with minimal risk. Still, there’s a reason Hamilton and other free agents aren’t signed right now, so whoever they sign would need to fill a specific need in coach Rick Adelman’s system.
4. Trade Alexey Shved
Alexey Shved has been terrible since the latter part of last season after showing some flashes of promise early last year. Shved is reportedly on the trading block, but with the way he’s playing, there likely isn’t much interest. Still, they may be able to trade him to a team looking to unload a contract or a player who doesn’t fit with their system. If the Wolves are able to trade Shved for an impact player, it would be a huge surprise, but definitely a good one.
3. Trade Shabazz Muhammad
Shabazz Muhammad has no doubt been disappointing this year. His rebounding and ability to score, get to the rack and draw fouls would be helpful off the bench, but maybe he just doesn’t fit with this team. I’d like to see more of him before labeling Muhammad a bust and trading him away, but that may be the Wolves only option to get a more established player ready to help right now.
The Wolves have several developing young players in Robbie Hummel, Shabazz Muhamamd and Gorgui Dieng. Hummel has made an impact already and may prove to be the shooter they need off the bench, but the other two haven’t done much yet. Hummel played four years of college ball and a year overseas, though, so it makes sense that he’d be more NBA ready than the other two rookies. Muhammad and Dieng may be able to make contributions later in the season if they show promise and improvement.
1. Trade Draft Picks
The Timberwolves owe their 2014 first round pick to the Phoenix Suns. The pick is protected up to pick 13, but the Wolves look to get out of the lottery this year. They do hold a wealth of second round picks, though, holding the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans second round picks this year and second round picks from the Denver Nuggets and another from the Pelicans in the coming years. Traditionally second-round picks aren’t worth much, but someone may bite.