3 best players the Timberwolves must sign in 2021 NBA free agency
The Minnesota Timberwolves have just concluded another tough season as they ended their 2020-21 campaign with a dismal 23-49 record. After finishing in 13th place within a stacked Western Conference, the team certainly has to do more work in the offseason to bolster their lineup for next season. Nonetheless, this post is about Timberwolves free agency.
Certainly enough, the Timberwolves have a promising core in Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards. However, they still need to fill their lineup with more experienced players who could help right the ship and have an impact in the locker room.
The upcoming free agency will surely be a busy one for the team’s front office as they are looking to acquire talents who could be significant contributors moving forward.
Here are the three best players that Minnesota could go after in free agency.
Timberwolves Free Agency
3. Wesley Matthews
Veteran guard Wesley Matthews has already amassed a ton of experience after playing for two contending teams in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, his one-year stint with the Purple and Gold didn’t go as expected as he was relegated to a backup role wherein he saw limited action on the floor.
Matthews averaged meager numbers of 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 58 games played for the Lakers. The team’s lack of a reliable 3-and-D player who can also show the way for the youngsters could eventually slot the veteran as a potential target for the Timberwolves in free agency.
Though Wesley Matthews is already at the tail-end of his career, he remains to be a serviceable asset that could make valuable contributions to the team from time to time. Perhaps a change in scenery could do wonders for the former undrafted player as he aims to bounce back and do better on the floor if he manages to find himself in Minnesota next season.
2. Torrey Craig
Another possible option for the Timberwolves in their search for a 3-and-D player is Torrey Craig from the Phoenix Suns. He previously began the 2020-21 season with the Bucks but was eventually shipped to the desert where he averaged career-best numbers of 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 32 appearances.
Though Craig only saw limited action on the floor, he still played efficiently as he normed 50.3% shooting from the field and 36.9% from beyond the arc last season. His size and length also allowed him to be effective on the defensive end as he averaged 0.6 steals and 0.6 blocks en route to having a positive defensive box plus-minus all throughout his 2020-21 campaign.
Similar to the Suns, the Timberwolves also have ball-dominant playmakers in D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards. Torrey Craig will most likely handle similar duties if he lands in Minnesota but his familiarity of playing in a backup role will allow him to make a valuable impact on the Timberwolves moving forward.
1. Serge Ibaka
Perhaps the biggest hole in Minnesota’s roster as of the moment is the power forward spot beside Towns. Having young guys such as Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt to start at such a crucial position won’t be the immediate answer to the Timberwolves’ struggles on the floor.
Enter veteran big man Serge Ibaka into the picture. He may not be the same athletic shot-blocker that he used to be during his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder but the guy certainly has amassed enough experience to lead a young team like the Timberwolves.
At the age of 31, Ibaka still has a lot left in the tank as he just tallied a career-high average of 15.4 points during his stint with the Toronto Raptors two years ago. Last season, he recorded 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and career-best 1.8 assists in 41 games played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Aside from his inside presence, Ibaka can also hit open jumpers both from the mid-range and beyond the arc. He currently has a full mid-level exception and a player option for the coming season which means that he can enter the market a year early, depending on his decision.
Potentially landing the Spanish national in the offseason would finally give the Timberwolves a reliable power forward who can consistently play his role and could ultimately beef up their frontcourt alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.