After some long, hard thought and consideration, I’ve come to realize that shooting guard is THE most important position on the court. Okay, maybe not, but it is essential for a team to at least have a good #2 if you plan on making a run at the Championship. The Wolves All-Decade team showed me that the Wolves have never had a true, reliable #2. The early years brought us JR Rider, who never lived up to the talent we thought he could’ve brought. Doug West played nine seasons with the Wolves but only averaged double-digits in points four out of nine years and frankly, other than Wolves fans, not many people have heard of Doug West before. My justifications for Anthony Peeler as the team’s shooting guard of the decade speak for themselves but again, I’m sure a lot of NBA fans wouldn’t be shy about asking, “Who the hell is Anthony Peeler?!” Let’s face it guys, at a position where leadership, being clutch and most of all scoring is required, the Wolves have never been able to properly fill this position.
Teams are building around players like this, and most of all winning Championships. We’re going to take a look at teams that have won Championships in the past decade and analyze who their #2 was, and let me tell you now, they are all better than Anthony Peeler! (No offense Peel).
- Los Angeles Lakers: Years won:’08-’09, ’01-’02, ’00-’01: Kobe Bryant: Not much explanation needed here. He’s only going to ride on Laker fan’s shoulders to Springfield, Massachusetts into the Hall of Fame all the way from L.A. Not my preference of transportation but his smug face sure would enjoy it!
- Boston Celtics: Year won:’07-’08: Paul Pierce/Ray Allen: Pierce is a great player; one of the best in Celtics history and that’s really saying something. He helped lead this team through that great season and playoffs on their way to a Championship. I put Ray Allen in there as well because both play the 2 and in my opinion, they both played as true wingers on a great team. Aside from that, Allen also led this team with his veteran ability and a sniper-like marksmanship.
- San Antonio Spurs: Years won:’06-’07, ’04-’05, ’02-’03: Manu Ginobili: Although coming off the bench for the last few years as well as a few lingering injuries, Ginobili gives a certain spark to the Spurs that not many teams have. His ability to use his craftiness and overall basketball IQ helped lead the Spurs to three Championships this decade. Sure, this is Tim Duncan’s team and Tony Parker is a stud, but Ginobili has always been there as a key piece in to this quietly decorated franchise.
- Miami Heat: Year won: ’05-’06: Dwayne Wade: Wade is the second most exciting player to watch in the NBA, and that is scientific fact. He makes plays when he touches the ball and you can see on his face how calm and cool he is. He’s led the Heat in most statistical categories and brought the Championship in it’s franchise history to South Florida. Wade will be a free agent in 2010 and will probably demand big money from any taker.
- Detroit Pistons: Year won: ’03-’04: Richard “Rip” Hamilton: Hamilton’s never been a household name but to Piston’s fans, he means a lot. He joined the Pistons as a mediocre to good #2 and ended up helping the franchise briefly return to “powerhouse” status. With a few years under his belt and a supporting cast, Hamilton was able to maturely grow and develop into a strong and reliable veteran player.
This just proves the importance of a solid shooting guard to an NBA franchise. The Wolves have had their chances to acquire some “assets” at that position. Problem is that Mr. McHale was in charge and felt that a need for a young, hybrid guard, Randy Foye, would be more valuable than an NBA-ready, sharpshooting, pure #2 in Brandon Roy, not to mention the other questionable moves McHale made or didn’t make. The Wolves have just not been able to solidify that position. Rashad McCants showed spurts of only goodness, but he’s not even in the NBA anymore. We traded away Ray Allen in 1996 for Stephon “Starbury”. We traded O.J. Mayo away, sure it was for Kevin Love, but we don’t know what the ceiling on Love is while for Mayo, well, sky’s the limit. I think you guys are starting to get my point. The Wolves need a true #2 if they plan on ending this rebuilding phase and getting back into the playoffs. With lots of money to spend in the offseason, the Wolves need to take advantage of someone in this wide-open pool of talent. Here’s just a few names who might be available for the Wolves to “bite” on:
- Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson
- Boston Celtics: Ray Allen
- Chicago Bulls: John Salmons
- Los Angeles: Kobe Bryant
- Miami Heat: Dwayne Wade
- Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Redd
- San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili
These are just a few of the names that could be buying new homes this offseason. Some of you might be thinking, “How could the Wolves lure someone like Wade away from any other team?” and I simply answer, “MONEY!”. Rebuilding a franchise needs to be done via 2 ways: the draft and free agency. I’ve done my research on the draft and will post what I’ve seen in some time soon, but from what I’ve found, not many shooting guards will be there in the high lottery worth taking. Sure, the college season is young and new talents will rise but as of now, there isn’t one name that gives scouts the butterflies. If the Wolves want to address that position and put Corey Brewer to rest on the bench (where he probably belongs), they will have to do it through free agency. Any Wolves fans want to see Dwayne Wade as a Timberwolf? I submit that I do!