The Minnesota Timberwolves and President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly didn’t wait to make a splash in the hours leading up to the deadline. Nearly 24 hours in advance of the 2 PM CT buzzer, the Wolves made a deal with the Detroit Pistons, sending Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and a 2030 second-round pick in exchange for veteran point guard Monte Morris.
Timberwolves are sending Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and one second-round pick to Detroit for Monte Morris, sources said. https://t.co/sb12v2N1gk— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 7, 2024
Source: Wolves are sending their own 2030 2nd in the Monte Morris trade— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) February 7, 2024
Morris is a huge get for the Wolves, who had been very active on the trade market searching for backup guard depth according to just about every report out there. While Morris has just returned to action after missing the first 43 games of the season with a quad injury, he provides stability at backup point guard position along with an offensive spark to a team that needs some help from its bench unit. Morris’s injury is certainly something to monitor given how much time he missed, but if he can get back to what he was for the Washington Wizards last season or for the Denver Nuggets a couple of years ago he is sure to be of great value to the Wolves for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Let’s look at some specific things he will provide to the team.
Offensive Punch for the Second Unit
While we all love Jordan McLaughlin and he has been an impactful player for the Wolves over the last few years, Morris is a clear upgrade from the five-year veteran. The former Iowa State provides a lot more upside on offense. He has averaged 10.4 points per game and 4.0 assists per game across his seven-year NBA career. On top of this, he is also a career 38.9% three point shooter which will help with the spacing on the offensive end that has been tough to come by for a Wolves team that plays Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson together fairly often. He is a three-level scorer who can fill it up when called upon. He can shoot from the outside, get to the rim and even has a pretty solid mid-range jumper. Coming off of a Gobert screen should give him plenty of room to knock down shots when the game needs more of his scoring.
The Wolves have been a middling offensive team for much of the season so any boost on that end of the floor is huge as the race for top of the West rages.
Monte Morris 3-Level Scoring Efficiency, by year— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) February 7, 2024
- Rim: 61%
- Midrange: 43%
- 3P%: 38%
- Rim: 62%
- Midrange: 44%
- 3P%: 38%
- Rim: 65%
- Midrange: 48%
- 3P%: 40%
- Rim: 67%
- Midrange: 48%
- 3P%: 38%
When healthy, Morris has been a consistent scorer pic.twitter.com/GAk7IKN5nq
A True Point Guard off the Bench
While he can be a scorer from all three levels, Morris is mainly marketed as an rock solid distributor. He can run an offense efficiently and should help to counteract the stagnancy on that end when Conley is off the floor. His career assist-to-turnover ratio is 4.0-0.8, which is extremely good especially for someone that will be running the unit off the bench. This ratio is so good in fact that according to his basketball reference page, one of his nicknames is the “Count of Monte Assist/TO”. This trait of being able to take care of the ball will be a welcome addition to a team that has struggled with turnovers for the majority of the season. Simply converting turnovers into more shot attempts will lead to a bump on the offensive end.
The other angle to view this from is that he will take a lot of the pressure off of Mike Conley - especially in the regular season. We all love good ol’ Uncle Mike but he is getting older and the grind of an 82-game regular season is a lot for a 36-year-old. Having the security blanket of Morris to plug-and-play when Conley is out, or just limit his minutes so that he can be ready for the playoffs will be massive as the season comes to a close.
My apologies if this has already been reported but maybe the most important aspect of acquiring Monte Morris is that he has an elite nickname:— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) February 7, 2024
Count of Monte Assist/TO. pic.twitter.com/7k52nsML7q
Veteran with Playoff Experience
Morris is most remembered for his stint with the Denver Nuggets as they climbed the ranks of the NBA before their title last year. As they were taken out in the first couple of rounds in 2020-21 and 2021-22, Morris did an admirable job filled in for Jamal Murray while he was recovering from injury. He has a total of 48 games played in the postseason across four years with Denver and has been a big producer during that time. Against the Golden State Warriors in 2022, he averaged 14.0 points and 5.4 assists per game during the five game series. This veteran leadership and playoff experience serves well for a young Wolves team that has varying amounts of postseason exposure.
An underrated facet of Monté Morris' game: stellar recent Playoff production.— Charlie Walton (@CharlieWaltonMN) February 7, 2024
His last 2 Playoff averages:
• '22: 14p/5a/49% FG/42% 3P/31m/5g
• '21: 14p/5a/43% FG/30% 3P/29m/10g
*In '22, he started all 5 games. pic.twitter.com/z4r1BotJbd
All in all, Morris is a great addition to the Wolves roster and should be able to provide some much needed things to the second unit. He is a veteran who has “been there before”, can score and pass and do a lot of things that Minnesota has been craving for the majority of the season. Especially considering the compensation that the Timberwolves gave up for him, this should be a great fit and one that will help the team a lot as they head into the final stretch.