Like most seasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had their fair share of ups and downs in 2021. The Wolves got off to a hot start at 3-1, but have ridden the rollercoaster since, losing six straight and winning five straight. Most recently, they’re currently on a five-game losing streak.
A week and a half ago, the Wolves were 11-10, seemingly on track to take the next step toward contention. Now? With D’Angelo Russell sitting out the past three games with an ankle injury, the Timperpups have fallen to 11-15.
One of the biggest drawbacks under the Karl-Anthony Towns era is not having enough size to hang with teams who do, such as the Cleveland Cavaliers who just beat the Wolves by 17. Another issue is not having enough shooting to complement KAT when he’s on the floor.
Teams are doubling him more often than ever and having players who cannot space the floor such as Jarred Vanderbilt and Josh Okogie only makes matters worse. Defenses frequently leave the fifth starter wide open, knowing he won’t be able to make them pay.
The alternative is placing another offensive-minded player in the starting five, but that will most likely take away from the improved defense the T-Wolves have employed thus far.
What’s the solution? Timberwolves’ general manager Sachin Gupta needs to add another starting-caliber two-way player who can shoot and at least stick with his man on defense.
The good news is Dec. 15 is near. On the 15th, teams will be able to trade players who were signed to a new contract this past offseason. This means there could be a flurry of activity upcoming for teams looking to make a change.
Here are three players we’ve identified who can help the Minnesota Timberwolves ascend into playoff contention for good in 2021.
Minnesota Timberwolves swing trade with Pacers for Myles Turner
Minnesota Timberwolves trade: 2023 first-round pick (Top-8 protected), Taurean Prince, Josh Okogie
Indiana Pacers trade: Myles Turner
This trade may not seem so appealing to the Pacers on the surface, but for a rebuilding team, the $17 million in cap relief as the contracts of Prince and Okogie fall off the books at the end of the season is quite valuable. The first-round pick just gives them more ammo to build their foundation, however they choose.
For the Wolves, it gives them the much-needed additional big man they’ve been seeking for a number of years. Sure, it may be strange, asking Towns to now take the role of playing power forward instead of the center role he’s played for the entirety of his NBA career, but it’s likely one he would welcome.