If you’ve been on Twitter today and are a Timberwolves fan you’ve undoubtedly heard the Derrick Williams trade rumors. Apparently they spread locally and something was supposed to go down today, and it didn’t Then ESPN’s Marc Stein dropped these nuggets and some validity was added to the speculation:
Timberwolves, I’m told, are in advanced discussions with Sacramento on a deal that would swap Derrick Williams for Luc Mbah A Moute
By dealing Williams for Luc Mbah a Moute, the Timberwolves would get the consistent perimeter defender that the lost when Andrei Kirilenko headed east for Brooklyn. Mbah a Moute, averaging just 4.4 points per game, will never be accused of being a great scorer, but will score in the ways that Williams scored best: within the flow of the offense as a cutter/spot-up guy. In fact, MySynergySports.com says that he has been above average in those categories so far this season.
Mbah a Moute has been damn-near shutdown on the wing so far, holding opponents to just 39.5 percent shooting and a strong 0.84 points per possession. For comparison’s sake, Corey Brewer is averaging 0.80 ppp and with Mbah a Moute, the two would combine to give the Timberwolves another defender on the perimeter. Now, would you ever play the two together? Probably not too much since they could leave the Timberwolves with too few scoring options on the court, but that might depend on the lineup. However, if they did play them both, Mbah a Moute has shown to be a better spot up shooter and Brewer a better transition player, so that could work; the only way to really know is to try it out.
For Williams, he would get the change of scenery that he needs. After a relatively productive season when he was asked to step up, his minutes have fallen and so has his production. Or his production is down because of his minutes…either way. With a healthy Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham, the Timberwolves just don’t seem to have a use for Williams. And without a superstar at either forward spot, Williams will have the opportunity to earn all of the minutes that he desires. Which is good, because he is a useful player when he is used right and can even be a capable defender for spurts.
Williams’ production has been concerning, but that’s more of an effect of the lack of playing time so far. The last time Williams has been asked to play this few minutes was probably, well, never. So, the adjustment to 14 minutes per game has made it difficult for him to get a feel for the game and in rhythm. Williams’ percentages have fallen from respectable averages of around .430 percent and .333 percent from three last season, to .335 and .133 this season, despite taking fewer threes per 36 minutes. For Derrick, he’ll be in a more advantageous position competing with Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson for minutes instead of Love and Cunningham. If he can someday prove to be a serviceable small forward, he’ll only be competing with Travis Outlaw and John Salmons, so this will be a good opportunity for him.
From day one it seemed like it was going to be a challenge for Derrick Williams to succeed here. There was always one too many players in front of him and the Timberwolves tried to get him on the floor where and when they could. Last year, Cunningham joining the team immediately seemed like it was going to push him out of the rotation, and it did. This season, Chase Budinger came back and Robbie Hummel impressed Rick Adelman enough to earn his favor. Adelman spoke of Hummel on Media Day as a solid player that never tried to do anything that he couldn’t do, which was a fault of Derrick’s at times. This isn’t too say that Williams didn’t put in the work, because he absolutely did by losing weight, trying to work on his game and exerting effort on defense. This worked last season and Adelman praised him for it, but it appears this was always going to be his role on this team had everyone been healthy as they are now. It’s just where Derrick is at this point in his career, and he can have success in the NBA, but it just won’t be here.
As Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears reports, the deal will go through tomorrow pending physicals and Derrick Williams’ time as a Timberwolf will be done. Sacramento isn’t traditionally known as a hotbed for player development, but DeMarcus Cousins has made strides and Williams’ attitude and work ethic gives him as good of a chance for success as any. If this goes through, expect it to be a straight deal with no picks or cash being exchanged.
Trade sending D Williams to SAC from MIN for Luc Mbah a Moute to be completed if latter passes physical Tue due to knee concerns,source says
The Minnesota Timberwolves made a few roster moves today. The first was exercising Ricky Rubio’s contract for another season. No surprise here. Rubio is the cornerstone point guard every team wishes they had and he’s only getting better.
The second was another exercised contract, this time for Derrick Williams. Shouldn’t be a surprising move for the sole reason that they had to do it. Williams’ future with the team is quite hazy but if they didn’t re-up on his deal, then trading him for anything valuable would be near impossible. Teams would low-ball Flip Saunders and co. to a degrading level. Now, even with a $6.3 million hit on the cap for the 2014-2015 season, Williams has more value to the Wolves than he does with an unknown contract situation hanging over his head. Plus, with the injury to Chase Budinger, I think Adelman is finally ready to lean heavily on Williams to fill in as the top forward off the bench or even step up as the starter at the small forward spot. We’ll see in just a few days what Adelman’s thinking.
Lastly, the Wolves cut their roster to 15 players by cutting ties with Chris Johnson, Lorenzo Brown and Othyus Jeffers. Johnson posted 3.9 points per game on 64-percent shooting and two rebounds per game in 30 games with the Wolves last season. With Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng asserting themselves as the back-up center options, Johnson was expendable. Surely a fun player to watch, though, and I hope he finds another opportunity in the NBA elsewhere. As for Brown and Jeffers, they both were long shots to make the squad from the get-go, so it’s no surprise to see them go.
With those cuts, the Wolves’ final 15-man roster shakes out like this:
Just my own opinion, it’s one of the deeper teams we’ve seen in quite a few years, which helps warrant the preseason optimism for the upcoming season. They’re still young — quite young, in fact. But everyone on this 15-man roster can burn minutes in the NBA without screwing it up too much, if you know what I mean.
Today, The Chicago Tribune reported that the Timberwovles were possibly interested in trading for the Chicago Bulls’ Marquis Teague. As CBS Sports’ Eye on Basketball’s Matt Moore also noted, Teague has struggled with his execution in preseason, which does not make Bulls coach Tom Thibideau happy.
Teague is another point guard who would interest the Wolves as a third point guard behind Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea. The Timberwolves did bring in AJ Price but this tells me that they haven’t liked what they’ve seen from Price so far. And they would really need a point guard if they plan to move Shved to the off-guard spot and view second round pick Lorenzo Brown as more of the same.
As for Teague, he’s definitely an athlete, but struggled shooting everywhere. Seriously. He shot .381 percent from the floor; .174 from three, which didn’t stop him from taking two per game; and .563 from the free throw line. Even at Kentucky he was an average shooter at best, and on top of all of this he had an incredibly high turnover rate during his rookie season.
Teague was the 29th overall pick just a year ago, so his contract is guaranteed, but he is just 20 years old, so there may still be some hope for him to grow into a serviceable player someday. But, sheesh, AJ Price, you really can’t inspire enough confidence for the Timberwolves to not considering giving anything up for Teague?
That’s the other thing– what would they give up for him? Probably not too much. We’re talking a second rounder, probably, so it’s not like they’d be giving up anything of value.
This is really no big deal and probably just the Timberwolves doing their due dilligence. It’s actually really no big deal even if they do wind up making a move for Teague since he likely wouldn’t matter on a team with this depth and not in the project development business at the moment.
Note: If you don’t live in or near Minnesota, this post probably doesn’t pertain to you. But if you read to the bottom (or just scroll there really fast, whatever floats your boat), I included something only a soulless alien wouldn’t enjoy. So read all the way through to test if you are a soulless alien!
The Target Center isn’t a bad place to watch a basketball game, per se. The seats are a little uncomfortable, unless you can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars for the low-level comfy chairs, but seats in every arena are uncomfortable unless you can afford the comfy chairs. The piped-in music and sound effects are absolutely deafening in the upper-levels, but the college kids who predominantly end up sitting in those seats because they are considerably cheaper probably listen to louder things on a consistent basis. The court has been frequently mocked for the lighter shade of finish inside the 3-point arc (which, for my money, is actually kind of cool, although I know a lot of people disagree with me). But compared to other venues and arenas, there is little inherently wrong with the Target Center as a whole. It’s just kind of unremarkable.
According to Burl Gilyard of Twin Cities Business, however, the Target Center is on the verge of getting a big-time facelift.
City leaders have been negotiating behind the scenes with the Minnesota Timberwolves and arena manager AEG for more than a year on the $100 million project. But now city and team officials say that they are hoping to have an agreement hammered out by the end of December. The city of Minneapolis owns Target Center.
“Our goal is to have an agreement by the end of the year,” Jeremy Hanson Willis, executive director of the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department, told Twin Cities Business. “Everybody is focused on getting it done. I am confident that we will reach an agreement and be able to move forward.”
A team official echoed that timetable.
“We believe along with the city that being able to close out a deal by the end of the year is absolutely doable,” said Ted Johnson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Timberwolves. “We feel from the team’s side that we’ve made great progress.”
When two sides are discussing money, it’s never a good idea to believe reports of progress unless both sides are reporting that things are going well. But that’s what we have here, so it’s a good sign for continued development.
Here’s the thing: $100 million is a LOT OF MONEY. THAT’S SO MUCH MONEY. By way of comparison: My alma mater is currently fundraising to construct an entirely new building for the athletic department. It will be a practice facility for baseball, softball, golf, soccer and football — essentially all of the outdoor sports. That facility will cost roughly $3 million. For $100 million, especially with the bare bones of a stadium already in place, this project could be enormous.
What’s more, after seeing the renovations to Target Field, Wolves fans should be excited. Target Field went from a dumpy park to a beautiful state-of-the-art baseball facility. The Timberwolves’ play this season will be the biggest factor in putting people in the seats, but shiny new renovations to the arena certainly won’t hurt the cause.
This may seem like a boring business-y story, but for anyone who attends Timberwolves games in person, this is kind of big. It will affect Minnesota’s fans (hopefully in a positive way), and we will continue to give you updates as we find them.
For those of you who patiently waited until now (and for you scrollers….screw you guys), here’s your reward for making it to the bottom: A baby picture of Ricky Rubio. It is everything you could POSSIBLY want. And more.
Y/N: Did this brighten your day?
If you answered yes: Congratulations! You might be human.
If you answered no: You are probably a soulless alien. Sorry.
As a former Golden Gopher, I strive to be the best alumnus I can. In fact, I’m concurrently watching the Gopher football team as I write this post. Like that matters to anyone, the point is my support is unending for my alma-mater.
The Gary Tinsley Memorial Scholarship Fund, which honors the late Gopher linebacker by providing scholarships to undergraduates, has an online fundraiser going on called the Minnesota Ultimate Auction. You can visit it here.
Amongst all the other wonderful, mostly sports-related items up for bidding are a bunch of Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx memorabilia. Here’s a list of some of those items:
Three (3) game experience packages for the Timberwolves
Three (3) autographed Timberwolves basketballs (Kevin Love, Corey Brewer & Kevin Martin)
Lindsay Whalen autographed basketball
Maya Moore autographed basketball
Autographed picture of the the Lynx Olympians autographed by all three (Seimone Augustus, Moore & Whalen)
Life-size Fathead wall mural of Ricky Rubio
Please, please, please check out all of the items up for bidding as part of the Minnesota Ultimate Auction and take part in the action. The money goes to a great, local cause in memory of the late Gary Tinsley.
With all of the overhaul in the front office and on the roster this offseason, there is understandably much hype for the coming season. Despite the upgrades that Flip Saunders has made to the roster, Wolves fans learned last season that you need more than just talent: you need luck. Yes, damn your hard work and in-born talent– sometimes the only thing that matters in the end is not landing on your ankle wrong. It’s unfortunate but, hey, what can you do?
Anyway, the Timberwolves kick off the season on October 30th against the Orlando Magic at home, and then turn around to face Oklahoma City, when Kevin Martin faces off against his old team.
Conversely, the Utah Jazz come to Target Center on April 16th to close out the 2013-`14 regular season. I say “regular season” because I’m hoping they have a post-season. I’m not trying to jinx anything but I’d rather spend May covering the playoffs instead of researching draft prospects for a change. It’s been 10 years and year 25, I don’t think I’m asking too much here!
The Timberwolves have a tough stretch in December that includes playing in Oklahoma City on the first, at “home” against the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City on the fourth and the Heat make their lone appearance in Minneapolis on the seventh. And Dwight Howard will make his first appearances as a Houston Rocket at Target Center on February 10th and March 20th.
Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota on November 22nd with the new-look Brooklyn Nets. This will also mark the return of former Timberwolf Andrei Kirilenko.
In February, Utah and the Timberwolves will play a home and away series on the 18th and the 20th. One can only assume the four days off will be because they are traveling by station wagon instead of flight.
As far as back-to-backs, the Timberwolves will play 20 total, including three in February alone. Hey, the All-Star break is for rest for a reason, right?
Ya know what? February sucks. Period. If being the month of the year that is also known as, “The Official Homestretch of Winter” wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves will also spend their longest time away from Target Center going to Utah, Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix and Denver in a stretch that lasts into March. Hey, at least they’ll have their longest homestand of the season (Four(Portland, Houston, Denver and Indiana) and winter is almost over.
One more thing before I go: who wants to go to the Bobcats game with me on January 10th? No one? Fine. I’ll go by myself.
As many of you reading this probably know, I took up covering the Charlotte Bobcats for SB Nation’s Rufus on Fire this season in addition to my work here and at Hardwood Paroxysm. Even when I first started at Rufus I always saw Bobcats fans clamoring for Derrick Williams. And tonight I’m seeing Timberwolves fans trying to figure out how they can trade Derrick to Charlotte to get the number four pick. Clearly these two fan bases have one thing in common: They know nothing about the other team. But since we’re a Timberwolves blog I’m going to talk about why the Bobcats wouldn’t do it– consider this Bobcats 101 or something.
@derekjamesnba tell me more about why Horn-Cats can’t use DWill as much as Wolves. I don’t watch them at all.
C: Brendan Haywood/Mullens/Gana Diop (You don’t know what this was like, you don’t know the things I’ve seen!)
At first glance you may notice that many players on this list are relatively undersized for their position, especially in the backcourt. In fact, the Bobcats played small quite frequently all year. Secondly, Kemba and MKG were lottery picks in recent years, so they’re not going to add another player at their position to take minutes away from them. Third, they’re thin on depth at the four and five, and they were also a very poor shooting team.
Detach from the Timberwolves fan mindset for a minute and think, do you think Derrick Williams would help this team? No, he’s an under-sized tweener-forward that is also a recent lottery pick. This isn’t to say that I don’t think Derrick has a purpose, because he does, it just isn’t best-realized the Bobcats. And since it takes two sides to make a deal, this is a problem.
Certainly, the Bobcats would not like to cut into the precious minutes needed for MKG to develop, but Derrick and MKG both thrived in similar areas this season according to MySynergySports:
- In pick ‘n’roll man situations Williams posted .98 points per possession (“PPP”; 1.00 being average) to MKG’s .94 PPP.
- In plays as the cutter: Williams: 1.06 vs MKG: 1.19
- Off of offensive rebounds: Williams: 1.03 vs MKG: 1.18
- In transition, each player posted 1.18 ppp as well.
If you think their strengths are similar, they each have similar weaknesses, too. It’s kind of weird.
- Both were terrible post-up players this past season, meaning that they could not play together from a skill set standpoint, as well as each player being 6’7-6’8 and 230 pounds. Williams averaged .71 ppp to MKG’s .76 ppp and each player shot under forty percent on those plays.
- Neither player was particularly strong trying to create in ISO situations, evidenced by Williams’ .64 ppp to MKG’s .83
- Nor was either player very good working off of screens, since Williams’ .73 ppp in those situations was about .30 points higher than MKG’s. This is surprising because Williams rated as average-to-above average in pick n rolls, but maybe those two things are completely unrelated and I’m only imagining there should be a correlation.
And here’s a chart from Basketball-Reference.com:
See, see?! Even with the most basic statistical metrics show they are very similar, with neither player really showing that they’re truly better than the other. Although, considering MKG was the youngest player in his draft class, and his defensive ability not reflected by stats that take into team effort like Defensive Rating, it may be fair to say that MKG would be more worth the Bobcats’ time right now. Especially since MKG is currently a better passer and has a more defined position than “off-of-the-bench-scorer.”
And since you couldn’t play them together either, a trade to Charlotte makes no sense. As far as size go, the Bobcats need more in the frontcourt. Diop, Mullens and Haywood are each seven-feet, but Diop is retiring; Mullens is Mullens; and Haywood is unlikely to be a long-term fixture. The next tallest player is McRoberts at 6’10 before the rest of their centers and power forwards check in between 6’9 and 6’7. Derrick being listed around 6’8-6’9 does not help them, and as we covered above, he would play behind MKG at the three. They need length and size at the 4-5, and Derrick just doesn’t help them with that need.
For now, Derrick is better suited with the Timberwolves. He’s an average rebounder, has a low turnover percentage and now exerts some energy on defense. With the Timberwolves, he can be a successful player because of his productivity in pick n rolls and while he isn’t exactly great in them, he can spot up well enough while he continues to improve his shot. So, Williams has a role on this team and dealing him for an unknown commodity like a 19-year old rookie who may wind up glued to the end of Rick Adelman’s bench.
It’s more likely that if they do make a move it will be one of JJ Barea and Luke Ridnour, but Flip did not sound optimistic about their ability to package one of those players with the nine pick to move up.
Not bad. But I gotta admit, seeing CJ McCollum, the high-volume shooting guard from Lehigh, who sat more than half of the season with a left foot injury, in the top ten is awfully depressing. It only pays testament to how poor this draft is towards the top. And it doesn’t get much better in the 20′s with the Wolves slotted to take Giannis Adetokunbo. International prospects scare everyone because of their mystique and unfamiliarity to fans. I will state that Adetokunbo and Dario Saric are two of my favorite international prospects in this whole draft, and getting our hands on one of them would be nice.
Although the Wolves address two needs with both of these picks, they’re just not very sexy. Sexy will undoubtedly be difficult to come by but some picks (Saric, Glen Rice Jr., Shabazz Muhammed and Gorgui Dieng) radiate on the surface just a little bit more, even if they’re not completely polished.
Despite Kevin Love’s optimism of being cleared today to begin practicing once again at a check up with a hand specialist in New York City, Love got the news that he’s still 2-3 weeks away from just contact. However, they did get the good news that his hand is at least healing well, and with the Timberwolves out of the playoff chase for the season it makes sense to have Love take his time.
Oh, you can’t hurry Love! No, you just have to wait– whoops, sorry; I couldn’t resist.
Out since January, this pushes Love’s return closer to April, leaving the Timberwolves to (hopefully) get a feel for what a full healthy lineup will look like for about 8-10 games since Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, and Nikola Pekovic should be back as well. This way, hopefully the Timberwolves will get an idea of what they already have on the roster for next season and what they need to do in the offseason. Now, nobody else get hurt (again) in the mean time.