Before I get around to talking about the guy who could very well be the newest Timberwolf, let me take a moment to stroll down memory lane, circa December 2008:
What are the reasons for the current state of disarray? I think you can point to two main factors: awful offense and terrible back court play. Let's focus on the guards. Not only were Wolves fans treated to a historically brilliant player in King James, but they were also witness to one of the most inept back court rotations in recent NBA memory.
Plugging in starting point guard Randy Foye's numbers into Basketball Reference's full court machine, he is having a season comparable to the 93/94 campaign of Greg Graham, 99/00 Larry Hughes, 08/09 Acie Law, 69/70 Wayne Chapman, and 98/99 Kendall Gill. These are the top 5 seasons of guards who shot less than 40% from the field, <25% from 3, <5.5 apg, and < 15 ppg.
Moving over to Rashad McCants, Shaddy is currently the only guard in NBA history (with the minimum number of minutes required to qualify for the scoring title) to average less than 35% from the floor, 25.5% from 3, 1 apg, and 10 ppg. He is epically bad. If you extend these numbers to forwards and centers, only a 36 year old Jerome Kersey (98/99), Manute Bol (89/90), and Chuck Hayes (current season) can compete with Shaddy's ineptitude. Each and every single Wolves fan should quickly end any fantasy of Shaddy being traded for anything other than a toaster. He may be the single most ineffective regular in the NBA.
Current starting off-guard Mike Miller is complete disinterested in playing anything remotely approaching defense and he is averaging career or 5-year lows in FGA, 3P%, 3PA, and ppg. He doesn't have a good enough handle to get his own and he requires a labyrinth of screens to get his shot off on a team with zero threat of guard penetration.
Backup point Sebastian Telfair is in McHale's dog house after signing a contract extension in the off season. He is shooting .313% from the field. He boasts a current OE of 86 and a DE of 112. Contract extension or not, there's a reason why he's not playing this year.
Kevin Ollie is...well, I like Ollie. He's a 35 year old vet who is earning his paycheck. He is what he is and he's probably the best guard on the squad. This fact alone should condemn each and every single front office basketball operations employee to immediate termination. Yes, this includes the Triangle of Non-Accountability: Freddie Iowa, Toronto Ron, and Jesus Jim. Fire now, fire yesterday, fire tomorrow.
While the season's quality of guard play didn't quite end up where the late-December trajectory suggested it might, the Wolves still ended the season with the following positional splits:
Net Production by Position
Outside of Randy Foye tearing it up against sub-par (and depleted) competition in January, the Wolves featured the worst backcourt in the league and it really wasn't even close.
As it stands right now, and before the Ramon Sessions matter plays itself out, the Wolves are staring at a backcourt rotation of Chucky Atkins, Bobby Brown, Wayne Ellington, and Jonny Flynn, with Damien Wilkins and Corey Brewer possibly providing relief at the 2. While Flynn and Ellington are unproven rookies, the rest of that rotation can easily be described as nothing but awful. Brewer and Wilkins are not the type of players who can spend long minutes at the two because of issues with handle and outside shooting. Atkins and Brown are D-League starters at best. All of this brings us to Sessions.
No matter what he may bring to the table in terms of chemistry or his effect on the long-term prospects of Ricky Rubio, I think it's fairly clear that Sessions would be the best guard on this team the second he puts his foot through the door. Not only that, but a fairly solid case could be made that he would be the best Minny guard since Sam Cassell.
The basic argument for his signing goes like this: He immediately becomes the best guard on the team while providing a two-PG proving ground for the next 2-3 years that Ricky Rubio remains in Europe.
The basic argument against his signing looks something like this: He is a ball-dominant player who can't shoot from the outside (at all) with a player option in the year that Rubio may come over to the NBA. He's also not above 6'4".
My question to all of you is this: Is Sessions and his 4th year player option a good philosophical fit for the Wolves? Is his acquisition a good thing simply by way of increasing the backcourt talent pool? We'll take a look at his numbers in a future post. In the meantime, what say you?