Updated: 12/25/2012 11:18 PM KSTP.com By: Ben Musel
At this point the Timberwolves are no longer weathering the storm, they are living in it. Earlier last week it was revealed that both forward Josh Howard and guard Malcolm Lee are lost for the season. This is a pretty significant blow to a team contending for a playoff spot and lacking backup wings.
At this point, they literally has no true backup shooting guard. If forward Chase Budinger was healthy there wouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue. If guards JJ Barea and Luke Ridnour were just a little bit taller there wouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue. If guard Brandon Roy’s knees existed there wouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue.
There is an obvious need to trade for a shooting guard, or at least a small forward who has a handle -- someone like Philadelphia's Dorell Wright. It doesn’t matter that Roy is back at practice. He’ll need to be on a severe mileage limitation and even after that he’s never going to look like he has “fresh legs.”
Right now the team has an extra backup point guard and a young, athletic power forward buried on the bench to use as trade chips. As for draft picks next year if both Minnesota and Memphis make the playoffs the Wolves would be picking in Memphis’ spot while Phoenix picks in the Wolves' spot. The team also has two second round picks (Oklahoma City's and Brooklyn’s) in 2013, and three in 2014.
That should be enough to buy just about anybody in the league without ripping out the soul of the squad -- though it would have been nice if the team didn’t have to waste two first round picks on Wesley Johnson in only three years (one on the actual pick and one included when trading him to the Suns).
The team needs a defensive wing who can make three-pointers. Wright tops my short list followed by Jared Dudley of Phoenix and J.J. Redick of Orlando. Two other players who make the list, but might not be obtainable are MarShon Brooks of Brooklyn and Avery Bradley of Boston.
The Wolves should not be adding a shooting guard at the veteran minimum with Josh Howard’s roster spot. The team should be looking to make a trade and filling Howard's spot with a power forward/center to replace either Derrick Williams or Lou Amundson if they end up being involved in that future trade.