The Minnesota Timberwolves made a slightly surprising move today, sending the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to Houston for forward Chase Budinger as well as the draft rights to Israeli prospect Lior Eliyahu. Minnesota gets another athletic forward, and Houston acquires a third first-round draft pick which they seem to be stockpiling in order to make a run at Magic superstar center Dwight Howard.
At first glance, it seems like a ridiculous move by David Kahn, although it makes tons of sense for a variety of reasons.
The Timberwolves ranked 23rd in the NBA last season in 3-point percentage at just over 33%, with Kevin Love being the only reliable outside shooter. Enter Chase Budinger, who shot 40% from downtown last season. He will be put in a position to do exactly that, along with throwing down alley-oops from Ricky Rubio. Essentially, he should be able to do exactly what Wesley Johnson has not been able to do.
Additionally, first round draft picks outside of the lottery are anything but a sure thing. Some players recently taken at the 18th spot include Chris Singleton, Eric Bledsoe, Marco Belinelli, Oleksiy Pecherov, and Gerald Green. It makes all the sense in the world to trade all the uncertainty that comes along with that pick for a proven athletic shooter like Budinger.
This move has Rick Adelman’s fingerprints all over it, as he mentioned when the season ended that he desired to have serious input with the offseason decisions. He coached Budinger in Houston and it should make for a seamless transition. There were many agonizing moments last year as a fan having to endure so much of Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster, and Michael Beasley. Budinger also comes in with a very favorable contract, at less than $1 million next season. This puts the team in position to have the freedom in free agency that they desire, where there are plenty of shooting guards available.
The reality is that for the Timberwolves to contend, they need to eradicate all of the dead weight from the roster. Budinger’s presence brings hope that future moves will provide exactly that. For this team to get to the next level, they need complementary players to place around Rubio, Love, and Nikola Pekovic. Miami and Oklahoma City would not have made the finals if not for players like Shane Battier, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha, and Udonis Haslem. This move was the first in a crucial offseason for the franchise, and it was a good one.
About the Author
Written by Justin Hussong
New Jersey born and raised....Journalism major at the University of Arizona, Bear Down!!