I’m not sure if you heard the big news, but the Minnesota Timberwolves traded a metric boatload of players and first-round picks for Rudy Gobert. The move sent shockwaves through the league and crowned Brian Windhorst as our meme lord. It’s the biggest win-now move the Wolves have ever made, and it has me ready to bet my entire bank account on them to win the 2023 NBA Championship at +4000.
Whether or not you like the Gobert trade, the Wolves also made one of the most universally praised moves in free agency, signing Kyle Anderson away from their budding rivals in Memphis. Just those two moves drastically improve last year’s spunky seventh seed that won 46 games and took the second-seeded Grizzlies to six games in the first round. They’re both critical moves, but only one of their signings brings a championship pedigree and an essential skill that the Wolves desperately need.
Bryn Forbes may have gotten lost in the Gobert mania, but he’s an essential piece to Minnesota’s puzzle. His ability to shoot the hell out of the ball will be a key asset off the bench. Forbes went from not getting drafted in 2016 to hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy with the Milwaukee Bucks last year. Forbes lit the first round on fire, averaging 15 points per game while knocking down 16 of his 33 threes (48.5 percent) en route to sweeping the Miami Heat. He may have cooled off after the first round, only making 17 of his 56 three-point attempts (30.4 percent) across the next three rounds. Still, Forbes showed the NBA world he can be a solid contributor on a championship team.
That’s exactly what the Timberwolves are looking for after jettisoning three of their most important rotation players from last year’s playoff squad. The most significant way Forbes can keep contributing to a championship hopeful is to continue his Steph Curry impression. The former Michigan State Spartan is quietly one of the best three-point shooters since he entered the league in 2016.
In his 406 games across his first six seasons in the NBA, Forbes is shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc on 4.3 attempts per game. That includes Milwaukee’s championship season, in which he hit 45.2 percent of his threes and 41.4 percent from deep last season between San Antonio and Denver. He must have been born to shoot threes because Forbes shot 43.5 percent from three in college, including 48.1 percent in his senior year at Michigan State. Forbes’ flamethrowing will be integral for a team that shot one more three than any other team but only finished with the 12th best percentage and just sent their second-most consistent three-point shooter to Utah.
He will be a godsend off the bench when Anthony Edwards and or D’Angelo Russell are taking a breather. The Wolves bench wasn’t terrible shooting the three. Still, Forbes running around with Jordan McLaughlin, Jaylen Nowell, Taurean Prince, Naz Reid, and Wendell Moore Jr. Forbes was almost automatic from the corners, shooting 57.7 and an insane 66.7 percent from the left corner. Forbes was better from the left corner last season than Russell Westbrook was from the free throw line. That’s insane to think about. It’s like the videos you see of Steph Curry making 105 threes in a row. Okay, maybe not that crazy, but still pretty damn good.
The way he shoots the basketball, you begin to wonder why he’s not at least Klay Thompson. But unlike Klay Thompson, Bryn Forbes doesn’t really do much other than lights-out shooting. Forbes isn’t much of a playmaker, he doesn’t get to the rim, and he’s a pretty poor defender. Forbes is a great three-point shooter, but that’s literally all he is. He’s essentially a poor man’s Malik Beasley, but shorter, less athletic, but with a better stroke.
After he destroyed the Heat in the first round of last year’s playoffs, Forbes played 14 minutes a game in the second round against the Brooklyn Nets. He played less than 12 minutes a game in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks, and only appeared in three of six finals games for a grand total of 22 minutes in the NBA Finals against Phoenix. If his shot isn’t going in, he does almost nothing on the court. For the Wolves to win, they need 7-10 versatile players who can contribute in a plethora of ways when they are out on the court.
Unless Moore flashes more than expected in summer league and preseason action in the fall, Bryn Forbes should be competing with Nowell to be Minnesota’s fourth or fifth guard. The Gobert trade turned heads around the league for better or worse, and the Kyle Anderson signing will even out a top-heavy roster. But neither offers any shooting. Forbes adds depth to a Timberwolves roster that desperately needs it, and he’ll stretch the floor in ways the other new arrivals can’t. His one-year, $2.3 million contract is a steal for a man who is by percentage the seventh-best active three-point shooter. Forbes won’t be the reason this iteration of the Wolves wins a championship. But he’s a helpful piece who we know can contribute to a true championship contender.