The next two months should be exciting ones for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, headlined by the No. 1 pick, of course.
Certainly the Devin Booker/Ben Simmons/unrealistic All-Star player rumors will heat up as we approach the draft. Minnesota also has decisions to make with restricted free agents Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez.
Beasley was in the news for the wrong reasons last week, and we’ll see if there is any other further legal action taken against him. How will that impact his free agency? We’ll see — it certainly doesn’t help. But Beasley fits in really well with this Wolves’ team. At the very least, he’s a huge scoring threat off the bench. Best-case scenario, he’s the team’s starting shooting guard and continues his hot stretch from the final 14 games of last season.
Hernangomez, meanwhile, isn’t a starting-caliber power forward for a playoff team, but he’s a nice stretch-4 rotational piece.
Who else could we see the Timberwolves sign in free-agency?
Given the team’s cap situation, don’t expect any big signings from the Wolves, but there are under-the-radar guys who could have a positive impact.
The three main areas of improvement for the Wolves are shooting, depth at point guard, depth at center and an upgrade at power forward.
Given the needs, here are three players who could be affordable options for the Timberwolves this offseason:
Justin Holiday, SG
If the Wolves bring back Beasley and draft Anthony Edwards, this would be an unlikely signing given the team already has Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie on the roster. Signing a player like Holiday would signify the team giving up on one of those two, which I don’t think is the case — yet.
Holiday would be a great fit on the Timberwolves after spending last season with the Pacers. At 6’6″, he’s versatile, has length and is a very solid defender. That’s necessary for whoever is playing shooting guard when you’re playing alongside either D’Angelo Russell or Jordan McLaughlin.
Holiday is also a solid shooter. He shot 40.5% from deep last season on 4.5 attempts per game. Plus, at 31, he’d give the Timberwolves another veteran. Outside of James Johnson, they don’t really have that. The young talent of Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns is nice, but they’re still more style than substance.
Christian Wood, PF/C
I remember Wood coming out of UNLV back in 2015. He was at the Combine in Chicago and there seemed to be a buzz that maybe he could be a late first-round pick.
Well… he went undrafted. We didn’t see a whole lot from Wood from 2015-16. He appeared in 51 games and averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He seemed closer to being out of the league than being a rotational player for a team.
But then the 2019-20 season happened. In 62 games with the Pistons, Wood played 21.4 minutes per game and averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 38.6% from the 3-point line on 2.3 attempts per game.
Plus… Wood is only 24 years old, which matches the Wolves’ timeline pretty perfectly.
I have no idea what the market for Wood is, but it seems like he should be affordable. If Wood signed with Minnesota right now, he’d have a real case as the team’s starting power forward. I’m not sure if that says more about the TImberwolves or Wood, but his free agency will be really interesting.
The Timberwolves could use some depth behind Towns at center. Hernangomez is the brother of Juancho, so maybe this makes sense? Minnesota needs rim-protecting, and Hernangomez really isn’t that (just 0.7 blocks per 36 minutes last season), but maybe Juancho takes a discount if the Wolves sign his brother. I’m not sure, but for how much they preach family, they could make it a reality with this signing — and it’d be a relatively cheap option.