Of Timberwolves and Timelines

 

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

This was the summer that the Minnesota Timberwolves were supposed to strike.

With Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and new face of the franchise Jimmy Butler all due to receive maximum salary contracts in the coming summers, it only made sense; Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden wouldn’t exactly have much cap space to work with beyond this July.

(Quick aside: For those who aren’t aware, max level contracts are determined based on a player’s years of service. Wiggins’ and Towns’ max contracts will be worth 25% of the salary cap, while Butler’s will be 30%. It has been reported that the Wolves are looking to sign Wiggins to a max contract by the end of this summer, which will be on the books next summer. Towns can negotiate his max contract next summer, and Butler the summer after.)

However, the Wolves haven’t exactly made the big splashes that many figured and some borderline promised. Point guard Kyle Lowry returned to Toronto on a three-year, $100 million contract; JJ Redick decided to trust the process and accept a one-year, $23 million contract in Philadelphia; Paul Millsap took a three-year, $90 million deal with the Denver Nuggets. Interest was shared between the Wolves and all the three to varying degrees, but there has been very little indication that the Wolves ever came remotely close to signing any of the three. Thibodeau and co. committed to point guard Jeff Teague right when the clock struck midnight and free agency began Saturday and Lowry never really showed any signs of truly wanting to leave Toronto, they reportedly never even offered a contract to Redick, and, due to a lack of cap space, ultimately moved on from Millsap.

After moving fan favorite and generally underrated point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a lottery protected 2017-18 first round pick, the Wolves signed Teague, a former Eastern Conference All-Star, to a three-year, $57 million contract (the third year is a player option). A day later, the team grabbed power forward Taj Gibson, a defensive-oriented bulldog who played for Thibodeau when he was with the Chicago Bulls.

So, what gives?

Well, when it comes down to it, signing Teague and Gibson were good, though a little underwhelming, moves for the Wolves.

Teague, while being a lateral move from Rubio at best, is a better fit for Thibodeau’s offensive system for one reason and one reason only: he can shoot better. That’s not to say the former Hawk and Pacer is a marksman; his 35.5% career three-point field goal percentage is slightly below league average, but it is a full four percentage points above Rubio’s career total. Additionally, last season, Teague had an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 59.2% on all shots categorized as wide open (nearest defender 6+ feet away) and 53.0% on shots categorized as open (nearest defender 4-6 feet away) by NBA.com. Rubio had an eFG% of 47.9% and 40.9%, respectively.

Gibson is a good defender who is familiar with Thibodeau’s system and coaching style and figures to be a great veteran presence in the locker room, particularly for Towns. He’s a true power forward, making him a nice fit next to KAT in the starting lineup. Or, if Thibodeau so chooses, Taj would help bolster the bench solely through being a better player than anyone the Wolves had last year (looking at you, Cole Aldrich and Jordan Hill). In short, regardless if he or Gorgui Dieng starts, the bench got stronger with this signing.

These moves signal the Wolves’ transition from a team simply trying to acquire as much young talent as possible to that of a franchise looking to win now, while keeping the focus on continuing the development of Wiggins and Towns. The Wolves aren’t ready to compete for championships; signing Lowry, and to a lesser extent Redick and Millsap, would’ve fallen in the “compete now” spectrum of signings.

Bringing in Teague and Gibson (and Butler) on short contracts allows the Wolves to be in a much better position to finish over .500 for the first time since the 2004-2005 season and, if everything goes according to plan and everyone stays healthy, make the playoffs. These moves aren’t for setting up the team to win championships, or maybe even get to the second or third round of the playoffs; they’re for getting to the playoffs while providing much-needed mentorship for Wiggins and Towns, who remain the Wolves’ core and most important players.

They’re the kind of signings that naturally progress the Wolves’ “timeline”; they don’t speed it up (like signing a Lowry or Millsap might have) and they don’t slow it down (like running back the same team from last year may have).

Of course, until the players take the court and data points can be collected, the entire argument I’ve put forth is based on projection and conjecture. It’s possible that Teague’s shooting doesn’t space the floor sufficiently and his defense becomes the weak link that hampers the defense. It’s possible that Gibson’s defense takes a step back, which, when combined with an offensive game that doesn’t provide ideal spacing, limits his overall effectiveness. It’s possible that obtaining a lower level, cheaper point guard (like, say, a Ty Lawson or Darren Collison) and matching him with Millsap would’ve made the Wolves better in the immediate future.

However, the short length of the contracts is what’s most important. If any or all of those scenarios occur, the Wolves will be able to move on in short order. All three of Teague, Gibson and Butler’s contracts expire in two years (technically, Teague and Butler’s could expire in three years if they accept their player options prior to the 2019-20 season, but I’d imagine they’d both opt out for bigger paydays). At that point, Gibson will be 34, Teague 31, and Butler 30 and either on the verge of or exiting their primes, while Wiggins (24) and Towns (23) will just be on the verge of entering. At that point, it would be prudent of the Wolves to reconfigure the roster again towards making the leap from “win now” to “compete now”.

(Another aside: I know that Redick signed a one-year deal and that the third year of Millsap’s contract is a team option (unless the Hawks-Clippers-Nuggets trade goes down, then it’ll become non-guaranteed). I understand that both contracts would have technically fit what I just stated in the paragraph prior. I’m also not necessarily saying the Wolves shouldn’t have signed Millsap. But bringing him in would’ve handicapped the Wolves, much like the Gibson signing currently has. The Wolves would have had a dominant starting five, but they would’ve been left with no bench. As the Washington Wizards showed in the playoffs last year, the lack of a bench can be the difference between being good and being great. That’s the main argument for the Wolves staying away from “compete now” signings this summer; they aren’t ready to be great and signing Teague and Gibson will make them good anyway. However, what I don’t understand is why the Wolves didn’t at least offer Redick. He would’ve been a great fit on this team and would’ve bolstered the bench and team’s shooting to a great degree. I have to think he told the Wolves that he truly wanted to be in Philadelphia; that’s the only way not offering him makes any sense.)

Obviously, the roster still needs some finagling; it is nowhere near the final iteration. The Wolves currently only have 10 of their 17 roster spots occupied with only $2.2 million in cap space remaining (they have their $4.3 million room exception, as well), so many moves will be occurring in the coming days. As it stands right now, the Wolves have added a net of 20 Wins Above Replacement through the additions of Butler, Teague, and Gibson. That’s not insignificant and virtually ensures that the Wolves will be much improved over last year. How much exactly remains to be seen, but Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden have placed the Wolves in the position to do something they haven’t been able to do for a long time: consistently win basketball games.

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13 Responsesso far.

  1. Darzo says:

    “Additionally, last season, Teague had an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 59.2% on all shots categorized as wide open (nearest defender 6+ feet away) and 53.0% on shots categorized as open (nearest defender 4-6 feet away) by NBA.com. Rubio had an eFG% of 47.9% and 40.9%, respectively.”

    I’m no big fan of Teague, but that’s why I say he’s better than Rubio, defense and passing be damned. You simply don’t have to guard Rubio, and especially in the playoffs, that isn’t tenable anymore. Add in the fact that the rest of the team is inside-out and weak from 3 and it’s even much worse.

    Teague is far from an ideal alternative. To be honest, I’m not sure he’s better than Tyus, though of course he’s vastly more proven. But then, Tyus should still get his chances, so we’ll see.
    As you say, Teague and Gibson are definitely underwhelming, but were there any better options? Very possibly not.

    I think the most questionable thing in all this, I’m not saying wrong but just questionable, is the commitment to Wiggins, especially if they’re going to max him out this summer. Is it really a certainty that he’s going to develop into a max player? Start being a net positive defensively? Or at least not Five Thirty Eight’s “Least Defensive Player”? https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-nba-haters-ball/?addata=espn:nba:index

    And let’s say he’s the next Carmelo Anthony. Can you win titles led by a player like that? Anymore? Ever? Consider one Mark Aguirre, 1st overall pick in 1981, averaged mid-20’s, made All-Star teams, led Dallas to some playoff series wins, then traded to a championship team while still in his prime and wasn’t even the 4th most valuable player.

    Is Wiggins the next Bernard King / Mark Aguirre / Danny Manning / Danny Ferry / Christian Laettner / Glenn Robinson / Antawn Jamison/ Carmelo Anthony /etc? Name one player in that mold who’s ever been one of the 3 most valuable players on a championship team. Certainly not lately right?

    And then there’s the fact that, at best, he duplicates what Butler does. How much worse for this team would Jae Crowder be? Or better? And how much cheaper?

    As with free agency, we’re flying blind in terms of what Wiggins could garner in trade, but even so, is he worth a long-term max? Only time will tell.

    To add something more concrete to the question, some days ago I wondered about the following 3 way that’s no longer possible, if it ever was:

    Pacers trade George for Wiggins.
    Celtics trade Bradley, Crowder and Horford for George and Dieng.
    Wolves trade Wiggins and Dieng for Bradley, Crowder and Horford.

    Surely Bradley/Butler/Crowder/Towns/Horford would be far more competitive now, indeed, something more like a legit contender? And wouldn’t that also be vastly better for Towns’ development? Plus less of a long-term commitment than maxing out Wiggins? At this point, of course, I can only hope not.

    Go Wiggins!!! Go Teague!!! Go Twolves!!!

  2. gjk says:

    Fan perception is obviously going to be limited to how closely they watch the games and follow the other teams in the league. Teams’ PR, while trying to drum up interest, obviously oversells youth when a team is bad, as we’ve seen since Randy Foye and continuing to LaVine and Dunn. This perception often leads to a) a team’s own players being overrated or underrated and b) having higher expectations for transactions than what should be warranted.

    Each of the young guys they’ve moved so far would probably look a lot differently from the eyes of other teams, who are using a “glass-half-empty” approach to extract the most value. To them, LaVine isn’t a high-flying shooter who might be a star; he’s a raw athlete who can shoot but might see that athleticism diminished due to his knee, a guy with a low BBIQ who hasn’t helped a team be good, and someone who will be getting maxed out despite the high likelihood that he’ll never be an All-Star, much less an All-NBA player (like, you know, the guy replacing him). Dunn isn’t potentially a dynamic lead scoring guard and defensive stud; he’s a guy who showed below-average offensive skills for an NBA player as an old prospect (meaning lower potential) who could be a great defensive player, but that might not be enough to make him good enough to start on a good team. Muhammad isn’t a bulldozing scorer who can shoot the 3; he’s a maddeningly inconsistent outside scorer who lacks the handles to consistently get his shot off and hasn’t shown enough defensively to earn even 20 mpg on bad teams. As for the 7th pick, there’s at least a chance that Patton ends up being a better player than Markkanen, who probably won’t be Dirk Nowitzki and might not be good enough to stay on the floor against smallball teams. This doesn’t factor in that it would’ve been a huge risk to pay Muhammad in free agency when that money could also go to a guy actually proven as a contributor on good teams.

    It wasn’t my *ideal* free agency result.. I was hoping for Jamychal Green and Kyle Korver, with other bench shooters, and keeping Rubio. But every team knows before July 1 where they stand with all of these guys, and then it becomes a contest to see who can reel in the biggest fish with the lines they have out. The guys they added aren’t drastic overpays. The fan reactions have almost been similar to when they gave Darko $20 million. There was less outcry when they signed Brandon Roy. It was always going to, and still will, come down to how well they use their assets (cap exceptions/$ and draft picks) to find the supporting crew for Towns, Wiggins, and hopefully Butler. Teague and Gibson have proven that they can be big contributors on winning teams in some way.

  3. biggity2bit says:

    Thanks for this write up. You perfectly stated where my thinking has been going with these moves – Thibs is doubling down on Wigs and KAT’s development by bringing in system guys who will make it easier for them to know what to do/highlight gaps in their game or understanding via film review with great clarity.

    It’s not a perfect team, but it should help establish and teach a winning culture. And it follows the Morey model of ‘rebuilding’ your team around a couple stars every 3-5 years. As a strategy to win a championship, you’d think this team would basically be reliant on peak Towns and Wiggins, along with Butler. That puts our window out another 2-3 years…which fits these signings.

  4. That’s the optimistic view. That Butler Gibson and Teague will teach towns and Wiggins how to be winners and in 3 years time when they are in their prime they re-sign and we surround them with talent to win. Unfortunately plans are never that simple. Are we sure Towns and Wiggins will want to be here by that point with all of their young budding team traded away. I maintain that OkC lost Durant when Harden was traded away and it was a “business” and no longer a family all in together bunch. Secondly how are 2 stars gonna take on Golden State? We needed more firepower that comes through the draft. By the time we max out Wiggins and Towns we might as well be the Clippers trying to bring in additional talent. Only way to win against this golden state team is to be able to call on 3-4 high quality players. That doesn’t happen by putting a superteam together with only 2 homegrown stars

  5. pyrrol says:

    Very interesting article and comments! I feel like Thibs took a step that there is no return from when he made the Butler move (which I generally like). It seemed like growing this core without adding good, already established NBA talent was not working a lick. And quite frankly, we need to be in the playoffs next year. Thibs’ job will be in danger if he doesn’t get there. The black and white way of looking at it is to say he went from ‘development mode’ to ‘win now mode’. We are now doing everything to be the best team we can be. That’s an exciting change of pace. The grey version of this above is basically–‘we’ve gone from total development mode, to prepare the core to win with quality vets on short contracts, and after that we’ll go all in for real and chase a championship.’ The problem is, things are actually more black and white than grey at times…

    What I mean by that is that either you are trying to win as many games as you can or you are waiting and seeing by testing and developing talent on your roster (a variation of this is tanking which the league seems to reward to an extent). We are now trying to win. Sure, it isn’t really realistic we can make any run at a championship now, but Thibs is really trying to build the best team he can. The trouble with the theory that this is a short contract step toward a championship is that the guys we have now aren’t going to be good enough to teach just Wiggins and KAT to make any team a contender. We’ll need to replace Butler, Gibson, and Teague after their contracts expire–possibly by resigning some, but realistically, they’ll be in decline by then. Either way, it is going to be expensive to fill those positions. And in the mean time, KAT and Wiggins will both demand new contracts, and very likely both max. How will we have the finances to take the next step at this time? It seems unlikely to me as does the idea that we’ll be a fun and successful enough team to get guys to come here for less money than they might get on the market.

    It’s easy to play armchair GM. But that’s why where here, right! One seeming bonus of the exciting coup of Thibs’ Butler move was the idea of enticing more established talent to sign with us. It legitimized us to a degree. But Thibs was not able to cash in on that. Whether that was his fault or not, it is hard to know. There may be major reservations about coming to boring ole MN with only one really good, established player and with a coach who doesn’t put out a very dynamic style of play. Jimmy may have been a non factor in attracting free agents. My hope was close to gjk’s. I think we should have kept Rubio and saved money. Rubio is a more exciting unique talent and more or less a lateral move to get Teague instead… but Rubio’s cheaper. (I think the Teague deal was decent in this market, it’s just that we had a cheaper, equally good PG signed on the roster already).Then we got Gibson for 2 years, 28 Million. For context, we now know that Patterson signed for 3 years at 16 million. So we didn’t get a great value. We are now in a position where we are making an offer to Nick Young who will likely decline it as too low. In other words, we ran out of money before we got the roster filled out and yet still our additions after the trade consist of Teague and Gibson. I’m not really a fan of either, particularly for the money. If we were going to take this get rid of Rubio strategy, it seems that we needed to make a bigger signing–a Butler 2.0 (Lowry ?). I would have liked us to keep Rubio, and spend money more smartly filling the roster with more value guys… Green and Korver like gjk said were some ideas. I don’t think Reddick was super getable as he expects to start and get starter money and we don’t have a place for him in the starting lineup (most likely… it could be that Thibs really holds Wiggins’ feet to the flames now).

    Of course all this stuff is a calculated gamble. But the odds of Dunn or LaVine or that Finnish big man ever becoming a Jimmy Butler level player are pretty low. So that deal looks pretty sweet. Our free agency moves… not so much. Mixed with coaching worries this might not be the playoff shoo in we expect. But Utah is now in a tough place so that helps us. Rubio CANNOT have nice things! Jesus. I’d enjoy hearing gjk’s thoughts on the Wiggins matter. The basic premise is that he develops better with Butler and winning and maturity and boom, he’s a legit #2 on a championship team or even better when the vet contracts are up. And poof, the league wants to play with KAT and Wig like they want to be on GS. Then we sign those guys to max contracts and the fill comes flowing in. The reality is that I don’t see us having the extra cash we’ll need for the next step. And that involves not necessarily going to the finals, but being a 2nd or 3rd round playoff team, a team no one is quite sure what they’ll do in the post season. On top of that, this premise, to work, involves Wiggins and KAT developing into top end max guys when then enter their prime. I’m not sure this is going to happen. KAT might be a generational talent. But I have my doubts about Wiggins. I think he’s overvalued by this franchise right now. He might end up being like a sleepy Rudy Gay or at best a svelte Carmelo. Anthony is an expensive, elite scorer who’s never gotten his teams to be as elite his talent suggests. And there’s the defense…To some degree stars are super talented guys but still with a do *hit mentality, and I don’t think that’s Wiggins. He might not be talented enough to be an allstar level player, and even if he is, he may never be a do *hit guy. That leaves us in a tough place for out next move. Hope this 2017 step in the staircase works out better than I am imagining because I’m not sure about optimistic future assumptions…

    • gjk says:

      No problem with armchair GMing until that turns into “________ did poorly because they didn’t do what I would’ve done, and they could’ve done it.” There are too many unknowns. As for Wiggins, I think of him the same way as Kyrie because I think Kyrie is supremely overrated due to his offense, but he does things that can’t be taught. It’s rare to have a 6’8 SF who can do a standing dunk in traffic, and he finishes at the rim in a way that can’t be taken for granted after watching Corey Brewer all those years. If they can figure out how to use him the post, he can be a very efficient scorer, and I think his outside shooting will at least stay as good as it is or get better. From that perspective, giving him a max (the same way the Cavs did Kyrie before they even knew they had a chance at LeBron) isn’t really bothersome because they’re paying to find out what he can become. He and Butler are a bit redundant if both are unable to be average 3-point shooters, unless they explore lineups with Butler at the 4 (which they should). At his age, it’s not out of the question that his current flaws are fixable. It’s not so much that I really like the idea of giving him all that $ at his current production level, but unless he could’ve been moved for, say, one of the top 2 picks in this draft, it’s part of the commitment. He is one instance where “high potential” actually has meaning with a younger player.

      • Frank N says:

        what is it exactly you think arm chair GMing is? of course it’s grading/criticizing what the actual GM did. They did over pay Gibson, heck I literally laughed out loud when I was watching the dude on ESPN do the Wolves cap board and he says “well they paid him more than we thought he would get” then proceeds to bang on the up arrow of the salary projection about a half dozen times before he could slot him.

  6. Tom says:

    I love how people say it is OK to be an armchair GM, just don’t make any suggestions that differ from what happened. Either we like the moves or we hear or read other potential moves that would have helped our favorite team. Of course there are unknowns, but when we listen to the reporters that are supposed to be more knowledgeable than us fans and they say something could have happened, I think that isn’t just wishful second guessing.
    Jon Krawczynski has said that Reddick wanted to come here and we didn’t either have the cash or weren’t interested enough to make an offer. Now we know that they didn’t have the cash because of the big move on Teague. As we see above, Teague is a better shooter than Rubio, but is he better than a PG like Collison (signed for $10 mill, not $19mil) and having money to get a JJ Reddick? Maybe we wouldn’t have Taj Gibson money left, but maybe we would have Patrick Patterson money or now Kelly Olynyk. money. And we could still pull the CJ Miles sign and trade and resign Brandon Rush or maybe still get Taj for the vet’s minimum. Now maybe OKC would have resigned Taj, but maybe he would still be out there and wanting to stay in the league and try again next year.

    • gjk says:

      To start, the main things reporters know are who teams have contacted and some sense of which players do or don’t have interest. Besides Zach Lowe, many reporters don’t show the ability to break down film in a way that shows they deeply understand player value. They should press the front office on why things happened the way they did when those guys’ press conferences happen. Most analysis of the FA moves from a national level have been “they need more shooting, but the guys they signed are better than the ones being replaced.” That includes the Rubio-Teague swap, which surprised me.

      Collison has played for 5 teams in 8 seasons and been replaced by 2 teams (Dallas and Indiana) after 1 season of being their starter. He has 5 playoff starts. Think maybe it’s possible that NBA teams have legitimate reasons for not seeing him as a playoff-caliber starter? Teague has 55 playoff starts while Collison has been stat-hunting in Sacramento or backing up other PGs on playoff teams.

      If they had kept Rubio, they’d have about $4 million more to either give someone $4 million more than they did Gibson or split that among 2 players. Would CJ Miles, Nick Young, and Rubio help them win more games than Teague, Gibson, and a wing on the vet minimum? Is there a huge difference between Young and Gerald Green, who might be available for the room exception? Possibly, but being so strident that they made the wrong moves is foolish, even if I also wanted them to keep Rubio.

      Whether they had the $ for Redick or not, is it really a good use of assets to have 3 starting-caliber wings on the roster when next season they would’ve combined to make about $55-60 million? Does he have $16 million value if they have to play Butler out of position a lot?

      With Gibson, KSTP reporter Darren Wolfson indicated he had other offers that required them to act, including one from Brooklyn, and OKC could’ve paid him whatever they wanted. Comparing his value to Patterson again goes back to things that most fans and reporters don’t have an eye for. Why did no other team give Patterson a bigger offer, despite the perception that he’s a great way to fill the PF position in today’s NBA? Also, unlike Redick, there are no reported indications that Patterson was interested in playing here. Even from a basic standpoint, the Wolves had 2 non-shooters in their starting lineup and still finished 10th in offense, while being horrible on defense.

      So much of this comes down to the other available options. Here’s a list of guys who were productive in past Thibs playoff rotations while making the veteran minimum or less: Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed, Nate Robinson, and D.J. Augustin. The Wolves have spread their $ around to multiple rotation players before, and it’s led to paying $3-6 million for guys like Ryan Hollins, Brandon Roy, Darko, Ramon Sessions, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, and Corey Brewer. Is that 2nd list really any better than the 1st one?

  7. jmndodge says:

    Balance? KAT/Dieng/Gibson/Bjelica/Aldrich/Patton – and an undrafted PF “Collison” 6’9″ . Wing/Post combine Butler/Wiggins/Teague/Jones – possibly keeping Rush. Aldrich and Rush underperformed last season, meanwhile our budget for salary is about fully spent. To accomplish this, PEK is cut (had to happen – a year late but better late than never) Hill/Payne/Casspi/Bazz and likely Rush simply given away, With the trades – we get better with Butler vs. LaVine for a couple of years – Older/more expensive/likely at or just past his prime – Dunn was a throw away (strong backup at PG/SG) – given opportunity will become a quality player. Rubio vs. Teague – we gain scoring – larger salary and older, we give up passing/defense/youth. Gibson is a good acquisition but likely to expensive and creates an imbalance at Big. With Bjelica’s coming off injury it makes sense, but as presently constituted Bjelica or KAT will have to play some SF to make it work. Thibs has emptied our bench (except for big- where we have been overloaded for years) – destroyed the foundation Sanders laid – likely placed us one injury from a last place finish. I can’t see that KAT will consider resigning with this team – He’ll walk at first opportunity.

  8. pyrrol says:

    gjk, thanks for your thoughts! “_____ did poorly because they didn’t do what I would have, and they could have” is 75% of what armchair GMing is. It’s fun to talk about, but not something to take seriously. Fans will say what they aren’t happy about and come up with suggestions (realistic and smart or untenable and dumb) inevitably. And also say things they like or happy with, too… I guess I think it is a fun part of being a fan and I’m happy there are other fans out there passionate enough to armchair.

    I like your thoughts on Wiggins. I gave it some more thought, and he’s a max player. I mean, there is no way we can keep him and not pay him that, other players arguably not as good and certainly lower potential are getting that level of deal at times. We don’t have anyone to fill his void unless we make a brilliant trade somehow… Don’t think that’s realistic. So we’re going to have to pay and pray. Pray that he becomes worth it and more, and pray we keep our finances open enough to keep competitive and maybe get better in the near future. Otherwise we are on a pretty short road here.

    I think why Wigs has been held in such high esteem by our staff is that he’s got so many ‘unteachable’ aspects to his talent. Guys drool over that, because how many big time NBA stars have a low level of ‘unteachable’ talent? But it has been very frustrating to see him not pick up on so many things, coast on his talent in such a disappointing way so far. And a lot of the things he isn’t picking up or bothering with are super teachable. This is a bad sign. But, it also allows for hope that he can easily pick these things up in the right situation. Perhaps being competitive and having Butler around to teach him on the floor will bring Wiggins to the next level. Can’t hurt…

    Yeah I also worry about how redundant Wiggins is with Butler. I don’t say that the other way around, because Butler can do an awful lot that Wiggins can’t, but on offense, which is pretty much all Wiggins does, they score in many similar ways. One expects and hopes Wiggins will continue to get better from 3. Butler might show him a few things on O and will be getting on him about D like crazy. And hopefully, Wiggins will realize he now has more time and energy to devote to that end of the court.

    Funny you mention a standing dunk in traffic. I think that’s the #1 thing people see, and drool over and chase. Not many guys who have any real game have that kind of athletic ability. But how often do you see it? You go games at a time watching him arm the ball in when he could be dunking. This isn’t an aesthetic argument. It speaks to effort, intensity, and the dunk is a higher percentage shot than arming it in every time. Here’s to hoping this changes with our new ‘win now’ Wolves as well…

  9. Tom says:

    Wiggins should get a qualifying offer and let market, or lack thereof ,help Wolves set the contract. Unlike G, Wiggins can only go down with contract offers, which benefits wolves to wait. If they need more help, since they are going over cap next year anyway, not locking in Wiggins to a higher number early would be a good deal. They could do both Wigs and KAT next year which then locks our two stars up and still gives us room to work on Jimmy contract the following year before KAT raise takes effect.

  10. Tom says:

    How did Swaggy P get more money with the Warriors than the wolves could offer? Wouldn’t the W’s have the least amount of money to spend with the MLE? According to the NBA, Taxpayer teams (Cavs, Portland, Warriors) have almost a $1mill less on the MLE than Below tax payer teams (Philly, Minny, Denver). Yet, he gets to go to the Warriors AND make more money? That doesn’t seem right.
    Also, if reporters are involved in the selection of those players that become All-Stars or All-NBA, wouldn’t that benefit the biggest markets over places like Utah when it comes to providing SuperMax deals? Not always, but you look at Utah and Hayward had very little difference between staying and leaving. A player like Wiggins could go to Toronto for about the same was we will offer him, and then he can resign with the team for the supermax. It would seem that we need to make sure that Kat, Wiggins and Butler make all-star games and All-NBA teams or we will be nothing more than a farm system for the big Market teams.
    The NBA leadership always seems to support big markets over the little ones.

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