The Timberwolves definitely seem to be putting together something that actually looks like a plan. After the draft that a lot of local guys didn't like, but I did
(seriously, watch out for Lorenzo Brown!*), the Wolves did something that we haven't seen in many a year - paying a reasonable amount of money for free agents who fit the needs of the team.
With the re-signing of Chase Budinger and the grabbing of Kevin Martin, the Wolves have secured a couple of guys who know and love Rick Adelman's system, and play well in it. Losing Kirilenko is somewhat annoying, but seeing as he ended up taking millions upon millions less dollars to play in Brooklyn, it is safe that the Wolves couldn't have done anything to keep him. Very good basketball writers (as opposed to reactionaries that live on radio and daily fishwraps) started getting worried that the Wolves had gained offense but had lost way too much from an already shoddy defense.
So, one freakishly skinny defensive dervish gone; let's get a new one, and the Wolves did that in bringing back IDYFT Favorite Corey Brewer. He doesn't have AK's game on the offensive side, no doubt. Brewer is a career .416 shooter from the field, and a very pedestrian/bad .298 from the three point line. He's a bit of a spaz, to be honest. But I love the guy.
He plays defense on the perimeter and causes nightmares for opposing small forwards/shooting guards. He's 6' 9", with a wingspan closer to 7'. He's got quick feet. He sometimes gambles too much on passing lanes, in part because he's so good at getting in those passing lanes that he over-commits. He's a terror on the perimeter, and has the span and speed to block what looked to be uncontested lay-ups. I love having Corey Brewer back on my team. I never wanted him to leave it
A lot of Wolves fans were borderline outraged when the news hit Corey was coming back, but they aren't getting what Corey is being brought in to do. He's not here to score. That's what Kevin Martin is for. Corey is back in Minnesota to play perimeter defense, cause turnovers, and be a great locker room guy. There's a reason that the Denver Nuggets (who won 26 more games than the Wolves did last year) played the guy 24 minutes per game. He's gotten better at his role. And he's got some pretty impressive stats to bring along back with him to Minnesota.
Corey was Top 10 in steals per turnovers (he'll be joining another underrated Top 10 guy from that list in Dante Cunningham). Corey was just one spot below Josh Smith in points scored per 48 minutes last year. Again, I can't call him efficient, exactly, but I think he's more efficient than his shooting percentage suggests.
Essentially, for the $11 million that AK opted out of, the Wolves got Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. That's weird...that's Timberwolves math that MAKES SENSE.
And hey, for small market teams who feel like they can't get free agents - it is amazing what a respected coach and GM can do for you. I don't think any of these guys sign without the Adelman/Flip combo running the show. (Sorry, Kahn, you crazy bastard, you undoubtedly made free agents more expensive).
Oh, also, the Wolves signed Ronny Turiaf, which gives them a center trio of Pekovic, rookie Dieng, and Turiaf. That's as good of a trio one can ask for at the Neglected 5 in the NBA.
But back to Brewer. I'm looking forward to more of this:
*I'm saying that as the guy who liked Pekovic
before anyone knew who he was, not as the guy who was against trading OJ Mayo fo
r Kevin Love
on draft night.