With news coming out that the Twolves have dealt away Wes Johnson in an effort to sign Andrei Kirilenko, I can’t help but day dream about the Wolves picking up right where they left off pre-Rubio knee injury.
And after several moves to alter the roster over the summer, I wanted to take a look at what their rotation might look like. But because it’s football season coming up, I’ll run down the depth chart in true football fashion, by coming up with the Twolves 2-Deep to start the season.
1) Luke Ridnour (until Rubio is fully healthy, then Rubio)
2) JJ Barea (until Rubio is fully healthy, then JJ or Luke; whichever isn’t traded by then)
Point Guard will be in flux to start the year because of Ricky Rubio recovery from his late season ligament tear, so we may end up seeing a move towards the trade deadline as Rubio gets back to full form. Until then, it’s likely that Luke Ridnour will be named the starter with JJ Barea coming off the bench to help lead the second unit. It’s also said that newly acquired Alexey Shved can play some point, but he’ll be busy spelling Brandon Roy and his cartilage-free knees at the 2. Malcolm Lee also may see some minutes if injuries persist or if a trade gets made with either Barea or Ridnour.
1) Brandon Roy
2) Alexey Shved
This is where the Twolves will truly be starting from scratch. Brandon Roy and Alexey Shved are new additions as Wayne Ellington, Wes Johnson, and Martell Webster are out the door. Roy will probably start, with Shved getting very meaningful minutes to help Roy stay fresh for closing time (where he is going to be at his best). Both Barea and Ridnour played here a bit last year but mostly out of necessity.
1) Andrei Kirilenko
2) Chase Budinger/Derrick Williams
Kirilenko really changes the Wolves lineup here. Instead of guys who can sort of play offense but no defense (DWill, Martell, Wes), you’ll get a guy who blocks a ton of shots and harasses the other team. It also forces Derrick Williams to battle Chase Budinger for minutes. Given that Adelman has already questioned Williams and praised Budinger, it could one of the toughest situations for a number 2 overall pick you could imagine. It’s also said that Dante Cunningham can play some 3.
1) Kevin Love
2) Dante Cunningham/Derrick Williams
The main reason why Dante Cunningham will get any minutes (at the 3 or 4) will be because of his defense, which Love and Williams are not known for. Because Love plays 40ish minutes a game, his backup is really not that big of a deal. But if the Wolves play some small ball, you could see Williams, Cunningham or even Hummel at the 4 with Love at the 5.
1) Nikola Pekovic
2) Greg Stiemsma
Speaking of the 5, Pek essentially inked himself into the starting lineup for the next 5 years with his performance last season. He’s one of the few guys on the roster who will absolutely beat you up and he now has a true backup in Stiemsma, instead of a few pretenders filling in while he got a breather or was injured (Love, Randolph, Darko, etc).
While the Wolves missed out on a few targets (Batum, Lee, Brewer, Hill), it’s still much more likely that Adelman will finally have the lineup flexibility that he wanted when he started in Minny. Adding the Russian-Rubio (Shved), Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Greg Stiemsma, and Andrei Kirilenko should do that for you. If everyone can stay healthy, it should mean a playoff birth. But the real question is, does Adelman have room for a 5’11 3/4″ white dude with very raw skills and a ton of enthusiasm? I still haven’t gotten any calls back.