After the Minnesota Timberwolves traded away Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine for Chicago all-star Jimmy Butler (as well as swapping first round picks in last night’s NBA Draft), many Minnesotans became even more excited about the Timberwolves future – and rightfully so. While Lavine was certainly a fun player to watch when he would throw down dunks, he didn’t quite have the “it” factor and wasn’t a complete enough player to be an all-star in the NBA. Butler, on the other hand, has been a three-time all-star and Olympic gold medalist with Team USA in Rio a year ago. However, the departure of Lavine has left a hole in the Timbwolves’ lineup – unless they are going to put up with another inconsistent season from point guard Ricky Rubio. So what if the T-Wolves paired Rubio with a couple future draft picks and a little cash? Perhaps they go and trade all that for an all-star player who is currently disgruntled with his current team – such as Paul George from the Indiana Pacers? While this is a lot of moving around, this is the NBA that has seen super-teams and mini-dynasties built in a single off-season. There’s plenty of reasons why that won’t happen in Minnesota, but there’s also an argument to be made for it potentially happening – and here is what that starting lineup could look like:
PG: Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, or Tyus Jones
Chris Paul is a free agent this off-season. While many rumors potentially link him to the San Antonio Spurs, perhaps he will see the future Minnesota has and his chance to help elevate them to a perennial playoff team (and hopefully a contender) sooner rather than later. Paul has plenty of experience in the NBA, as well as plenty of experience with lobbing the ball up for Clippers-teammate Blake Griffin to slam down – something that he would be able to continue to do in Minnesota with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler.
Derrick Rose is also a free agent this off-season. While injuries are definitely a concern when teams look at Rose, he has shown he is an all-star caliber player when he can stay healthy. Rose is a much riskier choice than Paul, but if Paul signs with the Spurs, Rose might be the Timberwolves best option in free agency.
Tyus Jones is the best option currently on the roster. While Ricky Rubio has done more in his career thus far, Rubio’s inconsistency is painful to watch. Jones has shone in the rare occasions when given a chance. Plus, he is a Minnesota native, so that would help sell seats and draw positive media attention.
SG: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is in Minnesota. This is a done deal. There’s no way Butler doesn’t start, he has come here to play. Welcome to the era of Butler-Wiggins-KAT (maybe PG13 too?) as the big three in the big north.
SF: Andrew Wiggins
Already on the roster. Already a rising star. No questions here.
PF: Paul George or Blake Griffin
Honestly, it will probably end up being someone already on the roster or some smaller-name free agent who plays here for the Timberwolves. However, the trade I mentioned at the start of this article would really transform the hopes of this Minnesota team from reasonable goals to actual expectations. Paul George has the size to potentially transition to PF instead of his usual SF position (or maybe Wiggins would play here and George would stay as the SF).
Blake Griffin is a free agent this off-season. He has been mentioned as an option for the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and maybe even the Oklahoma City Thunder – but if the Timberwolves can entice Chris Paul to come to Minnesota, perhaps Griffin would follow?
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
As with the SF and SG positions, there is no question who the guy is. Towns is one of Minnesota’s big three and he is here to stay. The future looks bright for this young Minnesota team.