The Minnesota Timberwolves trade for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute surprised a lot of people. The Wolves traded Derrick Williams, their much-maligned first-round pick in the 2011 draft, for Mbah a Moute who has never been more than a defensive role player. The Wolves need someone to play that role, tough, and Mbah a Moute will likely see significant minutes right away.
Mbah a Moute is a skilled defender both on the perimeter and down low, and can steal, block and play help defense. The Timberwolves have some decent perimeter defenders in Corey Brewer and Ricky Rubio, but their second unit is incredibly lacking on the defensive end of the floor. Back up small forward Robbie Hummel isn’t a bad help defender, but he doesn’t have the athleticism or length to really give guys trouble man to man. Mbah a Moute will likely take some of Hummels’ minutes by offering great length, with a wingspan of over seven feet, and has always been known for his athleticism, though knee injuries have likely hurt his speed and explosiveness.
Having Mbah a Moute on the roster allows the Wolves to field a pretty good defensive lineup of Rubio, Brewer, Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham and Nikola Pekovic when getting stops is the highest priority. This will be key, as Brewer was really the only wing on the team capable of playing plus defense.
The Wolves may have sold low losing Williams, but Mbah a Moute fills a more immediate need and should see more playing time than Williams was this season. Mbah a Moute will debut for the Wolves Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks, and it should be interesting to see how Coach Rick Adelman uses him and how well Mbah a Moute performs against a high powered offensive team.