The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the most exciting young teams in the entire NBA. They currently have a disappointing 19-33 record in the Western Conference but have shown signs of promise. The talented young trio of Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Zach Lavine will continue to get better and improve and could be a nightmare for the league in just a few years if not sooner. Could an infusion of Brandon Knight from the Phoenix Suns before the NBA trade deadline be exactly what the Timberwolves need to turn around their losing season?
If Minnesota can keep that core intact, they should be able to contend in the highly competitive Western Conference each and every year. They have a defensive minded coach in Tom Thibodeau who is going to push them and get the most out of them defensively whenever they step on the court. Offensively the young studs are already playing at an extremely high level with each member of their “Big 3” averaging nearly 20 points a game. That says a whole lot considering none of the three have even reached 22-years old yet.
Unfortunately, the team lost starting shooting guard Zach Lavine for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Yibada reports. The two-time slam dunk champion injured his knee in a game against the Detroit Pistons last week and will be out more than likely through the beginning of next season. This injury creates a huge hole in the Timberwolves starting lineup.
The team has tried starting veteran Brandon Rush at the shooting guard spot the past few games, but that doesn’t seem like a permanent solution. They may tinker with moving Wiggins over to the two guard and allowing Shabazz Muhammad to start at small forward. The problem with this scenario is that Muhammad is strictly just a scorer who is used to coming off the bench providing an offensive spark. He hardly ever passes the ball to his teammates and in Thibodeau’s system that simply will not work.
Muhammad is actually on pace to have the lowest assist total for a wing player in the history of the NBA for someone who plays so many minutes. He currently has 15 assists total in over 800 minutes of play. He has even been called a “black hole” for his refusal to get his teammates involved. His selfish play has some speculating that he will probably be traded before the deadline so that the Wolves can find a suitable replacement for Lavine while he is out recovering from his injury. Point guard Ricky Rubio is also said to be on the trading block since the team drafted Kris Dunn in last year’s draft to be their point guard of the future.
Let’s get it tonight in LA pic.twitter.com/3Qg1HdygCH
— Brandon Knight (@Goodknight11) October 31, 2016
One player that comes to mind as a temporary replacement for Lavine is Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight. Knight is currently coming off the bench for the Suns and is in the middle of a somewhat down year. His career averages of 16 points per game and nearly five assists per game are still pretty impressive. He’s just 25-years-old so he hasn’t quite hit his prime yet and he is the type of player that could come in right away and fit in alongside KAT and Andrew Wiggins. Knight is a good ball handler and can play both guard positions effectively which is the type of versatility needed on a team like the Timberwolves.
Phoenix is rumored to be making some moves before the deadline so moving a player like Knight to the Timberwolves makes sense. The Wolves could send a package that includes Rubio and Muhammad for Brandon Knight and possibly a draft pick. Both teams would benefit in this scenario because the Suns would get a very good point guard in Rubio along with a bench scorer and the Wolves would get the bandaid they need to hold things together until Zach Lavine returns from injury. The trade deadline is February 23, so the teams don’t have much time to put a deal together if that’s what they intend to do. The picture will become a lot clearer over the next few weeks, and we shall see if either team decides to pull the trigger.
[Featured Image by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]