February 20, 2012

Future Timberwolves: Pau Gasol?

With the NBA trade deadline less than a month away (March 15th this year), rumors are beginning to fly like Derrick Williams in the dunk contest.  Kobe Bryant stirred the pot yesterday with his comments about Lakers management, saying, “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow,” Bryant said. “So I’d rather them not trade him at all. If they were going to do something, I wish they would just … do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it.”  There was a rumor of a trade offer of Pau Gasol for Kevin Love right after the CP3 deal fell through, and there have been musings since of Pau finding his way to Minnesota.  The only problem is that Love has now signed his extension, which means there is virtually no chance he will get traded any time soon.

So, 2 questions arise now that Love's contract has been solidified.  Who would we have to give up in order to get Gasol?  And, maybe even more importantly, do we even want/need Gasol?

To answer the first question, without Love in the equation, I would assume Ricky Rubio would be the next Laker target.  There's no way that would happen.  To look at it from the Wolves side, would the Lakers take on a guy like Michael Beasley?  Derrick Williams?  I would assume it would take much more than that to bring in a guy like Pau.  Maybe if there were a few draft picks thrown in the mix, the Lakers would take that in order to compile picks in a run for Dwight Howard.  However, with the improvement the Wolves have made this year, our draft picks aren't exactly increasing in value at the moment.  In the 2012 Draft, we actually own Utah's 1st rounder (top 14 protected) and Oklahoma City's 2nd round pick.  We do also have a lottery-protected pick from Memphis next year, which gives us 2 1st rounders next year to work with.  There may be some potential there, but only through draft picks, and only if the Lakers actually decide to make a run at Howard in the next 3 weeks.

Now, onto the second question.  Do we want/need Gasol at this point with Pekovic playing so well with the opportunity he has been given?  Gasol is 5 years older, with 9 more years of experience in the NBA.  Gasol's FG% has been declining every year since joining the Lakers in the 2007-08 season, and currently has a career low in PPG (16.6) this season as well has his 2nd worst shooting season (49.6%).  Pekovic, who is an inch shorter and 20 pounds heavier than Gasol, is shooting 61.5% from the field, leads the league in Offensive Rebounding Percentage at 17.9% (compared to Gasol's 9.9%), and is averaging 18.6 points per 36 minutes (Gasol = 16.2).  Pek's PER is also better than Gasol's, 22.6 compared to 21.0.  Is Gasol a better jump shooter?  No question he is.  Is Gasol a better shot blocker?  You would think so, but Pek actually averages 1.2 blocks per 36, while Gasol averages 1.3.  Would Gasol be a great fit with Rubio?  Absolutely; however, we already know Pekovic fits in great!  In this case I don't think it matters that Rubio has been friends with Gasol for years.

In my opinion, I like our chances with Pek at the 5 this year and moving forward.  The guy was a top 10 pick back in 2008 that fell in our lap the beginning of the 2nd round because of his overseas contract situation.  Obviously teams knew he was good back then, and he has seized his Lin-like opportunity this season.  If we are going to use draft picks to swing any deals, I would like to see a 2-guard in the mix, rather than another big - even if it is an All-Star like Pau Gasol.  Shooters like Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, or even Kevin Martin would sure look real good in Minnesota.

Follow Wolves Rubes on Twitter @wolvesrubes.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I don't really want to see us go after Gasol for a couple reasons:

    1. He has struggled when he has to play the 5. I think he is much better when he has his nookie-blankie (Bynum) in the game rather than having to go down low. Gasol has been at his best playing the 4 when he can be versatile and go inside and out - and more importantly play against 4's instead of 5's. Does that sound like the perrenial all-star we already have? Yeesh.

    2. I don't want to undervalue how good Gasol is, but in my opinion he does not have a lengthy future ahead of him. Now do we run with what we have right now, roll the dice and see what happens in the next year to 3 years? Or do we go the OKC route and keep allowing this group of players to develop into a championship team? Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of pieces missing. A lot! But we have a core to build around. And like you said, I would love to see a 2-guard in the mix instead (ERIC GORDON!!!!!). Don't know what to think about the 20-year old D-Will. Don't want to give up on him, but have to realize he is an extrememly valuable asset. But for the right piece only. And I don't think Gasol is the right one.

    But hey, isn't it fun to actually be talking about guys to bring in rather than who we can ship off at the break? Forgot how fun this was..