Now that the Golden State Warriors have offered sharp-shooter Klay Thompson to the trade proposal, things will start to get interesting for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their pursuit to trade to all-star power forward Kevin Love.
If I was Minnesota, I would definitely do this deal, which now includes: David Lee and Thompson to Minnesota for Kevin Martin and Love. Love doesn’t want to be in Minnesota, and has been somewhat of a headache the last eight months or so. Unless Minnesota was to make a deep run in the playoffs next season, there is no way Love will re-sign with them, especially after he said he plans to opt-out after this season.
Meanwhile, Thompson should be paid handsomely after this season, but clearly won’t make what Love was making (around $15 million). However, there are a few things that worry me about Thompson. I like what the T’Wolves have in place: totally upgrading one position (shooting guard) while slightly down-grading another position (power forward).
1. He doesn’t get to the free-throw line. Thompson averaged just 2.3 free-throw attempts per game last season while Love averaged 8.2 attempts per game. And Love shot a better percentage than Thompson at the line.
2. Averages three fouls per game. Thompson seems to foul a bit. I will say that he is overall a better defensive player than Love, but three fouls a game seems to be pretty high. He ranked 30th in the NBA in fouls per game, but when you look at minutes played per game, it doesn’t seem to affect him. He played about one less minute per game compared to Love (35.4 to 36.3) and Love only averaged 1.9 fouls per game.
3. Player Efficiency Rating was below league average. League average for player efficiency is 15. Thompson scored a 14.3, meaning that he doesn’t do much else besides score, and score in limited ways. Love scored a 26.9, ranking him near the top of the league. Love scores, rebounds, and passes better than Thompson.
The only reason I’m comparing those two players is because they are the main players in this trade. Both are young, talented players and look to be a building block for the next few seasons. While trading away Love and Martin might be risky offensively (14.4 Offensive Win Shares and 5.2 Defensive Win Shares combined), the T’Wolves are increasing their Defensive Win Shares to 6.7 by adding Thompson and Lee and decreasing their Offensive Win Shares by 6.8. However, if Nikola Pekovic can stay healthy this season, he will add more to his average 4.5 Offensive Win Shares.
And with an extra draft pick, in a pretty good draft, can only help the T’Wolves, provided they pick the right fit which has been trouble for them throughout their entire existence. Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng should see more playing time this season than they did in their rookie seasons. They gave pretty solid contributions when they were given a chance. Hopefully returning head coach Flip Saunders will figure out a way to use them better than Rick Adelman did.
All in all, I like this trade for Minnesota, and it’s also not a bad get for Golden State. In fact, it should make each team just a bit better, but the Warriors will probably benefit more from the trade, because when was the last time an established shooter came to Minnesota and lit it up? (Mike Miller sucked)