The Minnesota Timberwolves are technically the 10th worst team in the league by the standards of the NBA schedule; it’s obvious as we head into 2019 that a move needs to be made for the future of the franchise.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are the 13th seed in the western conference, just coming off a frustrating 123-114 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans (14th seed) last night, who were without their superstar Anthony Davis.
The Wolves have gone through trial and error all season long, waiting for a consistent run by all their players. And while they’ve seen glimpses of hope shine through those in Karl-Anthony Towns, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington, Tyus Jones, or even Josh Okogie since the Jimmy Butler trade, there seems to be an odd man out in Andrew Wiggins.
It would be unjust for me to mention the terrible play of Jeff Teague this season too (besides his empty facilitating numbers), but the “hype” that surrounds the former No. 1 pick Wiggins gives his name more weight in the conversation of expectations.
Wiggs is objectively having his second worst season of his career, and you could argue that his rookie-self looked even more promising than he does now, but I’ll take the safe bet and assume he has some minor steps forward in the coming months.
Albeit, the following inconsistency of these numbers have kept this team from getting further than an average squad or from Karl-Anthony Towns’ taking his game to the next level.
Andrew Wiggins (2014-15): 16.9 PPG, 4.6 TRB, 2.1 AST, 1.0 STL, shooting splits of 43.7/31.0/76.0
Andrew Wiggins (2016-17): 23.6 PPG, 4.0 TRB, 2.3 AST, 1.0 STL, shooting splits of 45.2/35.6/76.0
Andrew Wiggins (2018-19): 16.6 PPG, 4.0 TRB, 2.2 AST, 1.2 STL, shooting splits of 39.7/35.2/72.6
So again, this may be the worst season of Wiggs’ 5-year career.
However, even if Wiggs is able to bounce back this season, the western conference is still an elitist dinner table that the Wolves may not be invited to come the post season.
Alas, what do you do if your Glen Taylor? Do you fire head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau, or possibly the general manager Scott Layden? Or do you try and relocate the team (or sell), hoping for a move elsewhere to start anew, or even in the eastern conference?
The ladder is probably the right answer; you sell your disappointing asset in 23-year-old Andrew Wiggins, and wish him the best elsewhere. Wiggs has the potential to be a really solid starter in this league, but may need a fresh start (yes, I’d rather the new start be with a new head coach here in Minny, but that doesn’t look likely).
The question remains: Who would take the $125 million due to Wiggs over the next four years?
Well first, you need to realistically analyze the backend of Wiggs enormous contract. The wing will approximately make $34 million in his last season, and will be just turning 27-years-old, which isn’t terrible in the sense that he’ll – technically speaking – be in his prime by that age. In comparison, John Wall will be making close to $45 million at 32-years-old after a few surgeries, who would you rather bet on?
*crickets* The right answer should be Andrew Wiggins.
You’ll still need to find the right trading partner, so the only teams that would be willing to buy Wiggs are those that are close to coming out of the tanking ditch they’ve dug for themselves, or other teams like the Wolves’ who are stuck in basketball purgatory.
And while 10 trades sending Wiggs elsewhere may seem excessive, this team middling around being a bottom tier squad without getting a high lottery pick in return for the next few seasons isn’t acceptable.
A lot of these trades won’t look like “equal” value, but if we’re honest with ourselves, what kind of value does Wiggs really have right now? To start off our trades, let’s begin with the “tanking” Atlanta Hawks (who gave Minnesota a butt-whooping recently, so what do I know about tanking).
All of these trades have gone through the ESPN trade machine and contractually work out.