The Minnesota Timberwolves made two key roster moves yesterday, to finalize their 2020-21 roster but also set the groundwork for future plans. First, they brought back forward Juancho Hernangomez for 3 years/$21 million (year 3 is a team option). Later, they traded Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans for Knicks power forward, Ed Davis.
Love this move. https://t.co/h2KHGX4iAp— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 23, 2020
The Timberwolves power forward position was basically empty before these moves were made. With Hernangomez and Davis now on roster, though, the position looks much better. Early money has Hernangomez starting, with Davis as the backup, but that is not set in stone.
In 48 total games last season, Hernangomez averaged 6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.8 assists. In 28 games with the Utah Jazz last year, Davis struggled with back problems and averaged a meek 1.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.4 assists. The season before (2018-19), however, he played in Brooklyn with D’Angelo Russell and his numbers were much better.
Who is Ed Davis?
He played in 81 games and posted 5.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, in just 17.9 minutes of playing time. His rebound percentage was off the charts that season, at 25.2. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Davis didn’t average enough time on the floor that season to qualify as a “league leader”, but he would have finished 3rd in the NBA behind only Hassan Whiteside (25.9) and Andre Drummond (25.4), if he had.
Davis is exactly what the Wolves needed off the bench, offering those ++ rebound numbers and great defense. His old teammates and coaches apparently rave about him too, and D’Angelo Russell was a much better player when they are on the floor together in Brooklyn.
One person who will be very happy with the Wolves acquisition of Ed Davis: D'Angelo Russell.
The two played together in Brooklyn. Davis is very highly thought of as a teammate.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 23, 2020
DMs and texts being flooded right now from people — players, coaches, media — absolutely raving about Ed Davis. A very important move there for Rosas.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 23, 2020
Ed Davis was *by far* D'Angelo Russell's most successful 2-man pairing for the 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets, who went 42-40.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 23, 2020
Statisically, what made the DLo and Davis pairing potent was *defense*. Brooklyn's best 2-man pairing on that end — again — by far. https://t.co/7vDa9llyDx pic.twitter.com/T1zTY0v5K2
That’s all for this offseason folks…
This is by and large the team the Minnesota Timberwolves will play with, when games start tipping off in December. The franchise surpassed the luxury tax threshold in 2019-20 so Rosas and the front office portrayed all offseason the importance of getting under that mark for 2020-21, as to not be penalized by the “repeater tax” penalty.
The moves they made over the weekend, including the Malik Beasley deal, are expected to push them right up next to that number. So, these transactions are likely to be the last of any significance.
This team isn’t going to dominate the Western Conference, that’s for sure. The plans are clearly laid out, however. The team will look to grow its young core together this season, while they duck under the luxury tax and evaluate who can help lead them to the future promised land, vs who is disposable.
Starting in 2021-2022 and the offseason that precedes it, all options to push the Minnesota Timberwolves into legitimate playoff contention will and should be on the table. They now have a lot of pieces to deal, who are under moveable contracts, if they perform well.
Cooper Carlson and Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan