2009 NBA Offseason: Minnesota Timberwolves

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Year: 24-58)

Live 2009 NBA Draft Grades:

5. Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
Minnesota needs a true point. Enter Ricky Rubio. I still can't believe he fell to No. 5. The T-Wolves should be popping bottles of Cris like they are Diddy. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)

6. Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
Rubio AND Flynn? Aren't they both point guards? Again, I love Flynn as a player, but I'm not sure how those two complement each other. The T-Wolves don't have a pure shooter. Flynn can shoot the three, but I think Curry would have made much more sense. (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)

18. Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
OK, Lawson is going to Denver for ultimately Charlotte's first-round pick next year. It makes sense because Denver needs a backup to Chauncey Billups and the T-Wolves aren't keep all six of their picks. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)

28. Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina
At least, they didn't take a point guard. Ellington is the pure shooter the T-Wolves have yet to get in this draft. With Foye and Miller being traded to the Wizards, this pick makes a ton of sense and should be a great role player. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)

45. Nick Calathes, G, Florida/Greece
Calathes could be an absolute steal this late in the draft, but I guess we will find out in a couple years when he comes back to the States. This pick was dealt to Dallas which makes sense for both teams especially since the Mavs have been high on Calathes all along. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)

47. Hank Norel, F, Netherlands
The T-Wolves ended up keeping five of their six picks, so taking another foreign player makes sense, even though he may never see an NBA floor. (Pick Grade: Meh)

2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
  • Timberwolves waive G Chucky Atkins
  • Timberwolves sign SF Sasha Pavlovic
  • Timberwolves sign PG Ramon Sessions
  • Hornets acquire F Darius Songaila and G Bobby Brown from Timberwolves for PG Antonio Daniels and 2012 2nd-rounder
  • 76ers sign SF Rodney Carney
  • Ricky Rubio will stay in Spain until 2011
  • Hawks sign C Jason Collins
  • Heat acquire SG Quentin Richardson from Timberwolves for C Mark Blount
  • Timberwolves hire HC Kurt Rambis
  • Celtics sign PF Shelden Williams
  • Thunder sign PG Kevin Ollie
  • Thunder acquire C Etan Thomas from Timberwolves for SF Damien Wilkins, PG Chucky Atkins, 2nd-rounder
  • Clippers acquire C Mark Madsen, PF Craig Smith and PG Sebastian Telfair from Timberwolves for SG Quentin Richardson
  • Mavericks acquire PG Nick Calathes from Timberwolves for future second-rounder
  • Nuggets acquire PG Ty Lawson from Timberwolves for a 2010 first-rounder
  • Wizards acquire SG Randy Foye and SG Mike Miller from Timberwolves for No. 5 pick in 2009 NBA Draft, C Etan Thomas, PF Darius Songaila and PF Oleksiy Pecherov

    2008-09 Season Summary:
    The Timberwolves have fallen to such depths that a 24 win season created a glimpse of hope for the future. Injuries decimated the team as only one player dressed for every game (Ryan Gomes), two of their ten man rotation missed more than 32 games (Al Jefferson, Corey Brewer) and Randy Foye, Mike Miller and Craig Smith combined to miss 29 games. Kevin McHale replaced Randy Wittman as head coach early in the season and at one point led the team to 11 wins during a 15 game stretch prior to the Jefferson injury.

    2009-10 Projected Depth Chart:

    C: Al Jefferson/Mark Blount

    PF: Kevin Love/Oleksiy Pecherov/Brian Cardinal

    SF: Ryan Gomes/Corey Brewer/Damien Wilkins

    SG: Wayne Ellington/Sasha Pavlovic

    PG: Jonny Flynn/Ramon Sessions/Antonio Daniels

    NBA Free Agents:

    2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $50.7 million

    2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million

    NBA Offseason Needs:

    1. Point Guard - Sebastian Telfair wasn't terrible, but he is nowhere near the distributor the T-Wolves need to go with their front court. Minnesota would really like to get a point guard that is more adept at attacking the rim and can finish or dish. Tyreke Evans is a good fit for that need and should be available in the range of the Wolves first pick.

    2. Defensive Stopper - There really isn't a player on the Timberwolves roster that is considered a lock-down defender. Most opposing teams' scorers have a hay-day against the Wolves. Since Kevin Garnett left the team, the defensive passion has escaped as well. Corey Brewer (when healthy) could be this player but coming off a major knee injury could hamper some of his lateral movement on defense.

    3. A reliable 2nd Scoring Option - After Jefferson got injured plenty of players stepped up on various nights to take on the scoring role, however when Jefferson returns, so will the top dog title. When it came to playing 2nd fiddle, no one really stepped up. Mike Miller was supposed to be that guy, but he had his worst season as a pro. Foye or Gomes have the potential but need to develop the consistency.

    4. A GM with Intelligence - Since the inception of the Timberwolves in the late 1980s, the organization has been marred by terrible personnel decisions and bad luck. Hindsight hasn't done good things for the Stephon Marbury/Ray Allen draft day deal, the Randy Foye/Brandon Roy swap, the Michael Olowokandi signing and the drafting of Paul Grant, Ndudi Ebi, William Avery, Donyell Marshall or Rashad McCants. Someone with an above-average eye for talent and even better intuition is crucial to the team's success in the near future.

    Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
    Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
    All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com

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