Free agency begins tomorrow, and the Timberwolves will be looking to add a big man. While NBA positions are less rigid than they used to be, I think there’s a reasonable chance that the Wolves will try to acquire a “true center.” I have two basic reasons for expecting this:
- I believe Tom Thibodeau wants to start winning right away; not in a year or three.
- Last season, the Wolves were absolutely destroyed on the interior whenever the 7’1″ Kevin Garnett was unable to play. Which was most of the time.
Karl-Anthony Towns has a big future ahead of him (Captain Obvious) and most of that future will probably involve him playing the center position. The sorts of matchup nightmares that he will present at that position are probably the biggest reason Thibodeau took this job in the first place.
But last year, he was not able to defend very well as a five, and — again, if they are trying to win right away — the Wolves will probably sign a full-sized big man to at least insure themselves against certain types of matchups when KAT would be better off at the four spot.
In case you forgot one of the primary negative themes of last season, I’ll run a few quick numbers by you:
- 107.1. This was the Wolves defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). It ranked fourth worst in the league.
- 108.8. This was their D-rating without Garnett. This was just a hair better than the Lakers, who were the league’s worst defensive club.
- 96.4. Their D-rating WITH Garnett playing. Instead of playing league-worst level defense, with a talented seven footer out there, the Wolves defended slightly better than the historically-great San Antonio Spurs.