Despite finishing with one of the worst records in the 2019-20 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves might be one of the most-improved teams in the Western Conference with less than two weeks remaining before the start of the 2020-21 campaign. As proposed in a recent article, the organization could further improve its chances of making the playoffs by swinging a deal for Atlanta Hawks forward/center John Collins.
According to Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley, the Timberwolves appear to be "going for it," as the club made a number of moves this offseason to improve the supporting cast around young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. The club, for instance, recently acquired veterans Ricky Rubio and Ed Davis and re-signed Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez. Prior to that, Minnesota used the No. 1 overall selection in this year's draft on Georgia Bulldogs shooting guard Anthony Edwards.
Despite those additions, Buckley stressed that the Timberwolves might need to re-evaluate their power forward rotation, hence the need to trade for Collins, who he suggested could be acquired for a package featuring incoming second-year guard Jarrett Culver and a top-eight protected pick in the 2023 draft.
"While [Collins] would not solve their defensive issues, he'd help send this offense into overdrive. The fact both he and Karl-Anthony Towns can shoot means neither would congest the preferred attack areas of the other. Both could pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop) with Russell while the other spotted up on the opposite side."
As shown on his Basketball-Reference page, Collins posted career-highs in several categories in his third NBA season, averaging 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in the 2019-20 campaign. The 23-year-old former Wake Forest standout also shot 58.3 percent from the field and converted on 40.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The sixth pick in last year's draft, Culver was a part-time starter for the Timberwolves in 2019-20, with averages of 9.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, per Basketball-Reference. He did, however, shoot just 40.4 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from three-point range and also plays the same position as Edwards.
Aside from suggesting that Culver and the 2023 first-rounder could be useful additions to the Hawks' lineup, Buckley noted that the organization has shown multiple signs that it "[isn't] interested" in offering Collins a hefty deal when his contract comes up. The club got Clint Capela from the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2020 trade deadline and several months later, used their No. 6 draft selection on another big man — former USC star Onyeka Okongwu.