As D’Angelo Russell’s play has been up-and-down, we asked all of you who you want to play point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Based on the general tone of the fanbase, the results were unsurprising to me.
Anthony Edwards’ playmaking acumen has progressed this season as he’s been given more responsibility there, and 38% of you would like him to be the lead ball-handler permanently, making him the most popular choice. The second-most popular choice was “someone not on the roster,” which got 21% of the vote. My guess is that many of those who voted for that option have a former NBA champion in mind that currently resides in Miami.
After that, Kyle Anderson earned 17% of the vote and Jordan McLaughlin earned 15% of the vote. I’d guess most people who voted for that just want any type of pass-first floor general out there next to Ant. In last place, unfortunately, is the Minnesota Timberwolves actual starting point guard. D’Angelo Russell only garnered 8% of the vote, which is great timing on our part as this will publish less than 24 hours after his outstanding performance against the Los Angeles Clippers.
It didn’t surprise me at all that Ant was the most popular choice, or that Russell was the least popular pick. The general vibe from the fanbase right now seems to be “Ant, or anyone other than D’Lo.” I know Russell’s stock is down in the Twin Cities right now, but I don’t know that giving Ant the keys full-time as the primary decision maker would yield the most positive results in the short-term.
I’ll admit that, when it comes to Ant, I tend to act like a parent who is afraid to let their kid finally take the training wheels off the bike, but his decision making is still quite raw. Even as the assists totals start to rise, the possession-by-possession decision making can be a rollercoaster.
To me, if “someone not on the roster” is Kyle Lowry, yeah, that’s a home run. That elevates both the floor and the ceiling of this roster rather considerably. Clearly you’re not getting Lowry in his prime, but he would still be a perfect fit here for a lot of reasons. Aside from the championship pedigree, Lowry would making playing drop much more palatable on defense. He’s great at fighting through and over screens to get back into the play, which is the number one thing guards have to do to make drop coverage work.
If it’s not Lowry, though, I’m not sure who fills that spot. I’m not saying that the fit with Russell has been perfect, or even good, but I do feel like he is going to end as the scapegoat for what has been an underwhelming season to this point. I honestly just don’t know what other guard comes here at the deadline. Due to Russell’s contract situation, Minnesota needs to make a decision on his future here sooner rather than later. If I had voted, this is what I would have voted for simply because Russell’s time here seems to have run its course.
It would surprise me if D’Lo was the starting point guard next season in the same way that it surprised me that he was still here on opening night this year. I do think that his tenure here has been better than it’s being given credit for right now, though. Being at Target Center for the play-in game last year is a memory I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life.
With all of that in mind, I tend to agree with the general principle of the people who voted for Jordan McLaughlin and Kyle Anderson. I’m not sure you actually want either of those players to be your starting point guard, but the idea of starting a ball-mover and great decision maker next to Edwards is the route I would go as well. You want a connector in that spot. Maybe it’s Lowry, maybe it’s someone like Alex Caruso. I’m not sure if Lonzo Ball will ever play basketball again, but he would be another perfect fit. The Wolves are starting to find their rhythm, but adding an elite role-player into the starting lineup makes this roster fit better than the current iteration does.
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