Maybe the biggest splash the Timberwolves made in the off-season was signing Brandon Roy. If he can somehow find a way to return to anywhere close to the form he was when he was with the Blazers, this move will be one of the Top 5 moves the Wolves have ever made. The chances of Brandon Roy's knees allowing him to return to the same form are a long shot, probably smaller than the chance he can even return at all, but if the Wolves can get half of a game out of him it is still a good signing. With how weak the Wolves were at the shooting guard position, and with premier free agents unlikely to come to the Wolves, they need to be creative when putting together a roster, and this was exactly the type of calculated risk the Timberwolves will need to take to build this franchise into a play-off contender and possibly more. With a contract that will be easy for the Wolves to get out of if his knees fail, the Wolves get an A on the Brandon Roy signing.
After missing out on Nicolas Batum, the Timberwolves decided to make a different big splash at the small forward position, and this move came with a lot less drama. The Timberwolves switched their intentions from Batum to Andrei Kirilenko. This move will provide the Wolves with someone who brings in veteran leadership, can help Alexey Shved transition, and a very good player. Andrei Kirilenko makes his living off a doing a little bit of everything. He can score, he can dribble, he can play defense, and he can hopefully fit very well into Coach Adelman's system. He appears to be a perfect fit, even if the Wolves had to overpay a little to get him. The good news is the deal is only for two years, and won't cripple the Wolves too much, as they didn't need the money this year, and will make things work next year. Andrei Kirilenko was another great move in a very good off-season by the Wolves, giving them a grade of A- for this move.
One of the smaller move the Wolves made this off-season may actually be one of the move which helps out the most. The Wolves were on a mission to find a back-up center, who was ideally athletic and could block shots. They found Greg Stiamsma, who may not be the most athletic, but he can definitely block shots. After being released by the Timberwolves in the past, he found a home in Boston in 2011, and under the mentor ship of Kevin Garnett, found his role in the NBA. When he comes into the game he knows his job is to protect the paint, whether by fouling or blocking the shot. After what Wolves fan have come accustomed to from back-up centers, Greg Stiemsma will seem like a top five NBA center. David Kahn did another good job, or maybe Rick Adelman, but either way the grade is a B.
The Timberwolves went into the draft without their pick,(I still can't get Marko Jaric memories out of my mind) but they did have the 18th pick from Utah Jazz from the Al Jefferson deal. Chase Budinger is an athletic, two/three combo who can shoot the ball well. He was in the Slam Dunk competition, but yet the Twolves traded for him because of his shooting ability. He will most likely be coming off the bench, but he thrived under Rick Adelman before, so expect him to see a lot of minutes. The question brought up by this trade is if they could have got a higher upside guy in the draft with the 18th pick, but with how the rest of the off-season turned out it looks as if this was the right move. The grade for this off-season move is a C+.
On July 24 the Timberwolves traded Wayne Ellington to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Dante Cunningham. Wayne Ellington was a fan favorite, but with other off-season moves the back court was crowded and Wayne appeared to be the odd man out. It was a swap of role players which play different positions. In his career 5.2 PPG and 3.3 RPG, in not a lot of playing time. His averages per 36 minutes extend out to be 11 points and 7.1 rebounds. In a move which was a simple swap of role players, it seems like both team may have won. The Timberwolves ended with an end of the bench big who has decent averages per 36 minutes. The final grade for this move is a C.
If you had not heard the Timberwolves blogger Tim Allen has passed away. He was only 29. I can't say I know him or ever met him, but reading his Timberwolves blog was one of the reasons which made me interested in blogging and blogging about the Timberwolves. My prayers go out to his family and friends. If praying is your thing, please say a prayer for them also.
One of the more interesting off-season moves in the NBA was the Minnesota Timberwolves signing of Alexey Shved. Alexey Shved is a 23 year old Russian guard, who many casual basketball fans had probably never heard of coming into the last season. He was a once hyped up youngster, who looked to be on a similar path Ricky Rubio took, but was cast off by his Russian team and his draft stock took a hit because of it. His draft stock dropped so low he was undrafted, making it possible for the Timberwolves to sign him this off-season. Although earlier we made a comparison to Ricky Rubio, do not expect another Ricky Rubio out of Alexey Shved. After watching what he has done in the Olympics so far, seeing stats and highlights from his Russian career, and reading scouting reports on Alexey Shved, some realistic expectations for him are:
1. A combo guard who can play the 1, 2, and maybe even the 3(but that is pushing it)
2. We can expect him to be another play-maker, sort of in the same way Ricky Rubio does it, but in a much lighter version
3. A decent outside shooter, although there maybe a little bit of question if his range will extend to the three point line in the NBA
4. His defense is a bit of question mark, but the same was said about Ricky before he came over
5. Although we have made a lot of comparisons to Ricky Rubio, do not expect another Ricky Rubio
The final grade on the Alexey Shved signing is a B. He is a player with lottery slot potential, but with other guards on the roster, he can take his time to transition into the NBA. He could develop into a nice back court with Ricky Rubio, but more likely into a good backup.