Wolves have taken themselves out of the 18th pick fiasco that I babbled about yesterday by dealing it to the Houston Rockets for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu.
The Eliyahu aspect of the trade shouldn’t really matter. He’s a good athlete that really can’t shoot or do much with the ball. I guess a guy like Rubio could make him valuable in the open court on some level, but he really shouldn’t have a real chance at making the team if the Wolves are serious about filling out this roster. He’ll be at Summer League and we’ll see how he’s progressed.
As far as Chase Budinger goes, I love this deal for the Wolves. Is Chase Budinger a future star in the NBA? No. It’s also unlikely the Wolves would have picked up a wing player at 18 that would have provided the instant production that Chase will bring to the team. Terrence Ross falling to the Wolves seems like the only way the team could have maximized this pick. Otherwise, it’s a lot of square pegs into holes that already have square pegs there.
Chase Budinger is as good of an athlete as anybody that will be available, so let’s not pretend they downgraded there. He’s also a guy that shot 40.2% from 3-point range last year. Not only did he shoot 40.2% from 3-point range last year but he can make corner 3s as well.
Check out the next three shot charts.
Guess which one is Chase Budinger, guess which one is Wes Johnson and guess which one is the Wolves.
I’ll give you a hint: Chase’s shooting chart is the one that didn’t shoot 36.1% or 28.3% from the corner 3.
He can flat-out stroke the ball from long-range and knows how to move the ball to get open for those shots. Having guys like Rubio and Ridnour passing to him on penetration or having Love play a handoff, 2-man game with him out of the high post will be a really nice weapon for Minnesota.
He’s not a great defender. His one-on-one defense was adequate last year, but he gets lost in defensive rotations and doesn’t close out well on the ball. His help defense could use a lot of direction, but it’s possible it can be adequate with the way the Wolves played defense before Rubio went down.
Overall, the Wolves didn’t maximize value for the 18th pick but they also didn’t just give it away. As Tim Allen mentioned on Twitter, Budinger has never had a WS/48 under a .095 and the Wolves haven’t had a wing player with over a .094 the last three years. The Wolves upgraded their talent in a definite way. It’s a decent at worst start to the offseason.
And we know Diddy won’t be able to stop him at the rim.