A playoff atmosphere is making its way to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love is back, Andrei Kirilenko has been as advertised, Alexey Shved has been better than expected, and Ricky Rubio will return soon. The Wolves have a solid cast of Ricky Rubio, who should be returning to action soon, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love, and Pekovic. That said, the Timberwolves are still missing a legitimate starting shooting guard. Brandon Roy was signed over the offseason to fill the shooting guard hole, but with his never ending knee injuries and contemplation of early retirement, Roy doesn’t seem to be living up to the “80% of what he was in Portland” expectations. The Wolves have been forced into mixing Malcolm Lee and Josh Howard into the stating lineup. Lee, a second-year guard out of UCLA, has been playing better as of recently but still lacks a true scoring mentality and is better served off the bench. There has been a lot of speculation regarding trading certain pieces in order to get a starting-caliber guard. Here are some possible options the Wolves could look at with ESPN trade machine showing the trades would work out financially.
Current Bobcat Ben Gordon is finding ways the pick apart defenses this year and is a terrific 3-point shooter. Gordon, a career 40% 3-point shooter is currently shooting an astonishing 47% from beyond the arc this season including shooting 8-12 against the Blazers and 7-10 against the Hawks. Gordon is getting paid big money with the 5 year $50 million deal he signed with the Pistons back in 2009. Gordon was traded in the offseason to the Bobcats and currently has 2 years remaining on his contract. For the Timberwolves to make a push for Gordon it would likely include Barea or Ridinour and Derrick Williams (mostly due to financial reasons). Gordon, 29, has been a bench player for the Bobcats this season, but has started over 260 NBA games in his career.
Redick, 28, is a pure shooter and a good teammate. He is currently averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game in a mainly bench role. In his 6th season out of the Duke, Redick is a reliable guard that can stretch opposing defenses and create chances for his teammates. Redick, a career 39.5% 3-points shooter and 88% free throw shooter, has the shooting touch Minnesota needs. Although he isn’t the best defender, Redick is averaging a career high .6 steals per game, and has improved in scoring in each of the last five seasons. With Redick entering the last year of his deal he could more than likely be had for a player like Derrick Williams.
Recently acquired Guard/Forward Arron Afflalo is having one of his best individual season averaging 16.1 points per game with 2.6 assists. The Orlando Magic are struggling this season and are quickly loosing there spot in the division with the Heat taking control of the division, Atlanta having a good start, and the Bobcats surprising everyone floating around .500. Afflalo was involved in the huge Dwight Howard trade last year in which he was sent from Denver down to Orlando. Afflalo is tied with Glen Davis for the leading scorers on the Magic. Afflalo is a legitimate scoring threat that can play both guard and forward. If the Wolves are looking for a top-tear shooting guard that could possibly be had with a mix of draft picks and players, Afflalo could be the guy.
Primarily as a bench player, Marcus Thorton has a lot of potential, especially if given the pieces around him. The Kings are loaded with guards and Thornton could be more than expendable come the trade deadline. They have sunk to the bottom of the conference and are in need of change. Marcus would fit in well with the Timberwolves offensive system, especially once Rubio returns with his pass-first mentality. Thornton, 25, has seen regressions in both his minutes and points per game the last few seasons. Thronton is by no means a lights out shooter, but is capable of putting the ball in the basketball. Thornton is averaging 13.3 points, 1.4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game with the Kings this season. In 2010’11 Thornton averaged 1.7 steals and 21.3 points per game as a starter.
Morrow isn’t exactly a starter that the Timberwolves are after, but Morrow has starter experience.. Morrow has never really had a stand out year throughout his NBA career, 13 points per game with the Warriors in 2009, but he excels from the 3-point and free throw lines. Morrow is a career 42.6% 3-point shooter and 89.5% free throw shooter. Timberwolves fans will probably remember when he dropped 42 points and shot 8-11 from 3-point range against the Timberwolves last season. Morrow would be a great option for a rotational guard, especially if Roy is unable to return to previous form. Morrow is currently averaging a career low 12.6 minutes per game and 5.6 points per game.