#TwolfRank: #5 Chase Budinger

Credit: TwinCities.com

Welcome to the second annual #TwolfRank. It’s one of our favorite times of the year, to say the least. Here is the ninth part in this roster-long series and we are officially halfway through. As always, you can follow Jonah (@howlintwolf), Tom (@Tom_NBA) and Derek (@DerekJamesNBA) on Twitter as well to partake in the fun. You can find the rest of the series here

In Chase Budinger’s first three NBA seasons he missed a measly 20 games. Then in his first season in Minnesota, Budinger fell victim to whatever blight was cast upon the roster of the 2012-’13 Timberwolves and missed 59 games after injuring his knee early on. Not just in Houston, Budinger rarely missed time in college as well, making the Timberwolves unlucky or Chase unable to handle the cold (*joke*).

And when he came back from his surgery he struggled to regain his form that he had in his final season in Houston. We knew there would be some bumps in his road to recovery and Budinger consequently contributed to another recurring theme of the Timberwolves season: poor shooting. In fact, as March turned to April and Chase’s minutes were extending, his production dropped off almost across the board.

Here’s a fun fact about Budinger: for his career he shoots .382 percent from three on the road and a much more average .331 percent at home. Same goes for field goal percentage, points, rebounds and assists per game– they’re all better on the road than at home. This is based on 116 career regular season home games and 117 career road games, so it’s a legitimate sample.

I wondered if it was just Target Center when I noticed that his road numbers were superior to his home numbers, but check this out:

  • In the 2010-’11 season while playing the Timberwolves in Houston, Budinger shot 2-7 (.286 percent) from the field, including 0-3 from three. A couple of months later the Rockets rolled into Minneapolis and he went 4-6 from the field and 3-5 from deep.
  • In February of that same season, the Timberwolves went back to Houston and Budinger struggled again at home, shooting just 1-5 from the floor and missed each three point attempt. So, what happened when the Timberwolves and Rockets met up on the last game of the season in Minnesota? Yep, 12-21 and made four of his eight three point attempts on top of that.
  • Rewinding things to his rookie season, Chase went 1-3 at home from the field but then shot .500 percent when the Rockets came to Target Center.

Apparently, the secret for Budinger to improve his shooting at home, at Target Center, is to have him play for the other team, which isn’t the best gameplan. Really, it’s kind of an interesting trend.

So, why is Chase Budinger ranked fifth here on T-wolf Rank? Because of what he is capable of doing and the assumption that last season was the outlier given his past performance and history of good health.

That’s why re-signing Budinger was a priority this offseason and was like the majority of their moves in that they were doing what was expected, or what they needed to. His contract is pretty fair at $16 million for the next three years, or $5.3 million per year, especially if he’s healthy and can shoot between 37 and higher consistently.

Want to take part? Look for one of us to tweet out who the next player will be and tweet us your thoughts on him using the #TwolfRank hashtag and we’ll throw your tweet in the post.

About Derek James

In addition to writing for Howlin' T-Wolf, Derek James writes about basketball Hardwood Paroxysm in the ESPN TrueHoop Network and covers the Charlotte Bobcats for SB Nation’s Rufus on Fire. Andray Blatche and Isaiah Rider follow him on Twitter.