Enough games have been played this NBA season to sense where teams stand relative to the rest of the NBA. Some NBA Teams have solidly established themselves as playoff contenders, whereas others have fallen outside of the playoff picture. It is early enough in the NBA season where the right trade could save a season for certain teams, and this eight-part series of trades could turn around each team involved with the right factors.
Washington Receives: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Adreian Payne, Nikola Pekovic
Minnesota Receives: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Sheldon McClellan, Danuel House Jr., Daniel Ochefu
The Wizards and Timberwolves have been two of the most disappointing teams this season, as both of these teams had playoff expectations going in, but they find themselves at 12th and 14th in their respective conferences. The Wizards just don’t have the depth or the health to compete in an improved Eastern conference, and the Timberwolves just don’t have the leadership to rally from 3rd quarter slumps. This trade, while completely changing both teams’ identities, helps them in the long run.
Washington might be understandably hesitant to part ways with its star back court, but the potential that exists in their acquired pieces is greater than that in Wall and Beal.
Kris Dunn is very promising. He was the 5th pick in the 2016 Draft, and Dunn was a great player at Providence. Dunn averaged 16.4 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds his senior season, and he was the Big East player of the Year both his junior and senior seasons. Dunn”s game is reminiscent of a young Dwayne Wade.
LaVine is already seeing production, but he is still just 21 years old. LaVine is already averaging 19.0 points per game on 44.9% shooting and 39.1% from three, and he is just the third option on Minnesota to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. On Washington, LaVine could be the number one option, and his production might even increase from the already impressive level its at.
Rubio had had a disappointing NBA career since being drafted over so many good players 5th overall in 2008, but he still can pass the ball with the best of them. Rubio is averaging 7.0 assists this season, and his career mark is at 8.3. The Timberwolves are 7.5 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court. There are definitely skills he brings to the table.
The other players Muhammad, Pekovic, and Payne are all high level offensive role players. Pekovic has only played 43 games since 2013-14, but he’s averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game for his career. Pekovic averaged 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on Minnesota in 2013-14 – he can play at a very high level. Muhammad is at a high level offensively, but his defense is the issue. He’s averaged 9.5 points on 47.3% shooting in 18.0 minutes per game, but Muhammad has a poor defensive rating that is high at 114 for his career. Payne’s efficiency has skyrocketed this season, his offensive and defensive ratings are at 119 and 103, and he’s getting win shares at a rate of .223 per 48 minutes.
Minnesota is giving up a lot, but the idea of pairing two dynamic young stars with two more should be salivating. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns on the same team. That is an offense that could rival Golden State’s. Minnesota would be losing a lot of their depth, but they still have solid players at each position off the bench.
Minnesota is already 10th in offense, adding playmaker extraordinaire John Wall (23.5 points, 8.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game this season) and potent two guard Bradley Beal (20.2 points per game this season, 39.1% career from three) would just catapult it into the top four, at least.
Tyus Jones was a first round pick in 2015, and a collegiate champion who’s played very well in limited minutes this season. Brandon Rush is an NBA champion from his years with Golden State, Nemanja Bjelica is an intriguing combo forward from Europe, Jordan Hill is another solid veteran who’s started before with Los Angeles, and Cole Aldrich is uber efficient off the bench. If Minnesota has these guys, and Washington’s three bench warmers from the trade to back up their loaded starting five, this team would be scary.
|Projected Washington Wizards Depth|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Trey Burke||Tomas Satoransky|
|SG||Zach LaVine||Kris Dunn||Marcus Thornton|
|SF||Otto Porter||Kelly Oubre||Shabazz Muhammad|
|PF||Markieff Morris||Andrew Nicholson||Adreian Payne|
|C||Marcin Gortat||Ian Mahinmi||Nikola Pekovic|
|Projected Minnesota Timberwolves Depth|
|PG||John Wall||Tyus Jones||John Lucas III|
|SG||Bradley Beal||Brandon Rush||Sheldon McClellan|
|SF||Andrew Wiggins||Nemanja Bjelica|
|PF||Karl-Anthony Towns||Jordan Hill||Danuel House Jr.|
|C||Gorgui Dieng||Cole Aldrich||Daniel Ochefu|