Life after Pek

Since no one else seems willing to talk about it, I wanted to discuss the probability of Nikola Pekovic not being a Timberwolf.

Now I know that the hivemind will disagree, but I don't think it would be the end of the world if we lose Pek to free agency if the price is too much. I love having Pek on the team, as a person and as a player. That being said, I fully recognize that there is a possibility he could be in another uniform come next season.

So what are some options if Papa Glen and Flip decide to let Pek go?

Sign and Trade

We need to get whatever we can if we decide to let Pek pick up and walk. Possible destinations are; Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas or Portland.

Cleveland has nothing we want, that wouldn't conflict with a position of strength here. Varajao gets paid too much, Dion Waiters and Alonzo Gee? No thank you. However, They do have a "Habit, and I'll just say habit" of winning the lottery. A few first round draft picks would be the best we could get from them not including Kyrie Irving.

Atlanta. Why Atlanta? Because Al Horford can play PF and Zaza P. isn't the future. What do they have that we would want? Lou Williams at what looks like $5 mil a season. This wouldn't be the worst thing to happen. Throw in a second rounder or two, and The T'wolves can walk away from this with a sense that they didn't get completely bent over.

Dallas has Jae Crowder, which would satisfy a lot of Canis Hoopians. (Canis Hoopsters? Canis Hooptrons?) Anyway, it would make some people around here happy. Is it enough for Pek? Nope. we would need some additional assets in order to say we got close to fair value. I'm not interested in anyone else on the roster, so a first round draft choice would have to be in the mix as well.

Portland. Can I just say how happy I am to not be in the middle of another offseason where we talk endlessly about Nic Batum? Ugh, that was painful. Portland has Will Barton, which once again will satisfy some Hivemind, but isn't enough for Pek. Once again, draft picks will have to be included. How about a first and a second?

Now the part where we have to try and fill Pek's enormous shoes. We can do this a number of ways.

The Draft

Oh so much debate when it comes to the draft this year. Personally, I love it. I think being at number 9 actually affords us the ability to go a number of ways without screwing up too badly. As of today Draft express has it ordered like this;

1. Nerlens Noel

2. Ben Mclemore

3. Otto Porter

4. Alex Len

5. Victor Oladipo

6. Anthony Bennett

7. Trey Burke

8. CJ McCollum

9. (Gasp!) Shabazz Muhammad

This will change 350 more times before June 27th. But for our purposes, this is potentially how it will shake out. I don't believe that we will find anyone here that won't agree that we can do better than Shabazz. But who is left? Plenty of big men, which plays right into my argument here. Let's take a look.

Kelly Olynyk

Cody Zeller

Stephen Adams

Rudy Gobert

Mason Plumlee (No thanks)

Gorgui Dieng

Personally my top choice is Olynyk. Zeller is Second. The rest are kind of Meh. Olynyk and Zeller both graded out well in vjl110's college player model, so that makes me feel good about this opinion.

I understand we will not be able to replace Pek with a draft pick. But these two could help us ease the pain a bit. Also, I believe that even with Pek, we are not close to contending. We are not on the cusp, we haven't even sniffed the playoffs in a very long time. Hoping that a draft pick develops may be our best hope anyway.

Remeber this? SSC: Timberwolves centric review of "Big 2’s and Big 3’s: Analyzing How a Team’s Best Players Complement Each Other" by Robert Ayer

To be fair, that was last year. Pek has grown as a player, and really didn't get a chance to play with Love this year. But still, I know how you all love statistics. I distinctly remember this article and thinking "If these types of players don't work well together and it is supported by statistical evidence, why is Canis Hoopus in a froth about keeping this core together"?

Anyway, Here are a few other options to round out our potential future;

1. Dwight Howard signs with Rockets, immediately inquire about the availability of Omer Asik.

Compare Asik to Pek

Not a bad swap, eh? We would see less scoring, but look at that rebounding! Everything else is relatively similar.

2.Inquire about the availability of Bismack Biyambo.

Compare Biyambo to Pek

Not nearly as attractive, but our defense and blocks look better.

3.Inquire about the availability of Andre Drummond.

Compare Drummond to Pek

This seems favorable to me other than free throws.

4. Look at the free agent market

Dwight Howard (Nope)

Andrew Bynum (Nope)

Chris Kaman (No thanks)

Al Jefferson (At the right price I'd consider it.)

So assuming Al Jefferson really hates money, we really only have one option that could come close to what we'd need to get out of a free agent.

What to do with the rest of the team?

I think the priorities align something like this.

1. Resign Chase Budinger 3 years 11m

2. Get rid of JJ and Luke. We've had enough of the tiny 2 guard.

3. Balance the roster through the draft at 26 and 2 second rounders. We need 3's and real 2's Sergey Karasev, Ricky Ledo, Dario Saric, Glen Rice, etc. KCP will not go at 9, nor will he be available at 26.

4. Send Derrick Williams to a bad team that can use him. I like the deal for Dudley (Although I think Phoenix is done taking our dirty laundry.) and I don't hate the Afflalo trade.

5. Keep this freaking team healthy. Maybe this should be #1...

That's all I can muster for my first post ever. What say you Hivemind?

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