HOOPSWORLD Analysis of Wolves Off-Season

Some guy from HOOPSWORLD analyzed the moves made by the Wolves so far this off-season, giving a grade for each.  While not completely erroneous, I can’t say I agree with the entire article.  Where does our draft rank?  What about re-signing our own free agents?  What is to come in the future?  For the rankings and my thoughts about each of the moves, continue on below…

(Click "Read More…" for the complete analysis.)

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First off on the slate are the players added in the draft:

HW:  "Kevin Love: Selected fifth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies and then moved in a large deal for Minnesota’s pick, original pick, O.J. Mayo.
Grade: A-
Mayo was really the only guy Minnesota could’ve taken with the third pick and gotten value out of the selection. Luckily that value turned into the guy they really wanted in Kevin Love, as well as another valuable piece in Mike Miller. Love is exactly the kind of gritty, fundamentally sound player the Wolves need, and he should make for a very talented part of a scary frontcourt alongside Al Jefferson.
 
Nikola Pekovic: First selection of the second round by Minnesota, but will stay in Serbia this season.
Grade: Incomplete
I’ve heard that Pekovic is very good, but we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see if he’s really NBA material."

CW:   Despite the fact that I am an admitted "Mayo Guy", I can’t completely disagree with the Love grade.  I’m not sure that an ‘A-’ is completely warranted, as we have no way of knowing how he’ll turn out in the Pros.  While we know he can probably score and grab some boards, his defense leaves a lot to be desired playing alongside Big Al.  Oh, and he’s undersized.  At least he gave up chocolate milk, that can’t hurt.  I suppose if the Wolves were going to draft Love anyways #3, then the grade is great because of the additional assets and salary dump we were able to swing through the trade.

In regards to Pekovic, the "Incomplete" is suitable.  It could be a great pick if he is half as good as everyone says.  However, with our two second round picks I would have loved at least one of: Bill Walker, CDR, DeAndre Jordan, and/or Mario Chalmers, among others.  Oh well, such is life.

Next up are the Free Agents Re-Signed:
 
HW:  "Sebastian Telfair: Signed a mutli-year deal this summer to back up Randy Foye
Grade: D+
It says something about the market for point guards when a guy with Telfair’s track record can garner a mutli-year extension. The Wolves needed a backup point guard, mostly because their starter this year (Foye) isn’t even a true one. Apparently they thought a guy who already knew the system would be the best bet, but it’s pretty easy to disagree."

CW:  I don’t see how you can possibly say this signing was a ‘D+’?  Seriously?  He was one of the better PG’s remaining on the market, and the Wolves got him very cheap.  Not only that, we are now paying him less than we would have had we picked up his option to keep him in Minny this season.  He’s still young and has great potential to be a true PG in this league.  I think the writer is just misinformed or oblivious.  The signing was at least a ‘C+’ minimum.

 
HW:  "Ryan Gomes: Signed a five-year, $21 million deal to remain in the Twin Cities.
Grade: B+
Gomes is a very solid young player who for four million dollars a year is a great value. His teammates love him, he’s extremely active in the Minnesota/St. Paul community, and his talent on the court is unquestionable. It was nice to see him get locked up long-term with the Wolves."

CW:  I can’t disagree with this.  However, I would have given it a grade of A+++++++

 
HW:  "Craig Smith: Re-signed for 2 years after his first deal with the Wolves expired.
Grade: B-
Smith isn’t going to blow anybody out of the water, but he’s a reputable bench guy that adds some depth to the frontcourt. With the addition of Love, however, it’s not clear exactly how much the team is going to need him. It all depends on who stays healthy."

CW:  This move makes the least amount of sense to me of anything we did this off-season.  I still don’t know WHY we re-sign Smith after drafting Love and knowing that they completely intended to bring Gomes back. He’s undersized and unnecessary.  Unless we plan on trading him I don’t think its a great move at all.  I’d say something more along the lines of a solid ‘C."

The last of our new players are the guys we Acquired Via Trade:
 
HW:  "Mike Miller: Acquired in the draft-deal that brought Miller, Love, Jason Collins, and Brian Cardinal to Minnesota in exchange for Mayo, Antoine Walker, and Marko Jaric.
Grade: A+
Miller is one of the most underrated shooting guards in the league, and considering how little the Wolves gave up to get him, his acquisition was a resounding success before the guy even played a game. He’ll be a huge hit in Minnesota."

CW:  He’s a great addition to this team on the court, I can’t disagree with that.  I’m not entirely sure where he fits into our long term future, but he is instantly one of the best shooting guards this team has ever had and will definitely help win more games this season.  His defense is subpar and he turns the ball over, but he is a lights out shooter from deep… something this team has been lacking.  ‘A+" I’m not so sure of, but it was still a great trade with Memphis considering the salary cap ramificiations.

 
HW:  "Jason Collins: Acquired in same trade as Miller.
Grade: C
Though he’s not anything close to a star player, he’s a relatively consistent bench player who hurts nothing by being there. Average guy, average grade."

CW:  "Average guy?"  Ummm… I don’t think so.  Skillwise, he’s one of the absolute worst players in the entire NBA.  He’s as far from average as Ndudi Ebi is from making the Olympic Team.  The only thing he’s got going for him is his size, which sadly the Timberwolves will make use of being that our backup bigmen are so weak.

 
HW:  "Brian Cardinal: Acquired in same trade as Miller.
Grade: D
Kudos to Kevin McHale for unloading Marko Jaric’s elephantine contract, but rescinded kudos for taking back Cardinal’s. Even with his bloated bucks on the salary cap, this deal was still a huge win for the Wolves considering they got the best player in the deal (Miller) and the guy that actually wanted to draft in the first place (Love)."

CW:  All we need now is Brian Scalabrine and the Wolves will have successfully cornered the market on overpaid, non-sklled, big slow white guys.  Next stop… world domination.

 
HW:  "Rodney Carney: Along with Calvin Booth, was traded from Philadelphia for cap space used to sign Elton Brand.
Grade: B
One of the more athletic young guys in the league, Carney was an expendable up-and-comer for Philly the last two seasons. Hopefully a change of scenery gives him more opportunity to shine, but he’ll be locked into a tough rotation with Rashad McCants and Corey Brewer."

CW:  This grade seems about right to me.  I’m not sure if he’ll ever get any playing time due to our surplus of players that are all about the same skill (aka "average"), but he does have potential and some explosiveness.  I’m all for giving him his shot to make the team and get some minutes.  Can’t complain about a free player with some upside.

 
HW:  "Calvin Booth: Acquired in same trade as Carney.
Grade: D+
Booth’s been around the league and never really has stuck with any franchise. If he were worth much more than cap space in a trade, he might have had better luck sticking with someone."

CW:  I think a ‘D+’ is pretty generous.  When did they stop giving out F minuses?  That’s what I’d give him.  If he’s not bought out I might cry.

Business To Be Done…
 
HW:  "With all the trades the Wolves have done already it doesn’t seem likely anything big and splashy is left for them to do. They’ve got a couple of free agents left from last year’s roster, but the team already has fourteen guys definitely on the roster for next year. Will Chris Richard, Michael Doleac, or Kirk Snyder be on the roster next year? That’s about all Minnesota has left to decide.
 
Total Offseason Grade: B
 
It’s hard to call Minnesota’s overhaul a coup, but they definitely made some nice moves and upgraded their roster without giving up much at all. They’ll win more games than they did last year, and it seems as if they’re definitely on the up-and-up. They don’t have KG anymore, but they do seem ready to turn a new page in the team’s history."

CW:  There is so much business to be done if this team ever hopes to contend that I don’t have the time or space to expound upon it at this moment.  I think the off-season grade he gave us is pretty fair.  I can’t disagree with it, as the draft went well and we’ve made some solid trades and re-signings this off-season as too.  There’s no question we’ll be a "better" team this season, with a decent win total improvement I would think.  My guess is that we win around 34-37 games.  Unfortunately, that would cause us to lose our draft pick to the LA Clippers, but that was bound to happen eventually.  One qualm I have is that these changes simply make us into a mediocre team that will spin it’s wheels into perpetuity.  We might not ever contend, but we won’t be vying for the top lottery pick either.  Who knows though, I could be wrong.  Only time will tell. 


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