What The Experts Are Saying

by Kyle Ratke
Web Editor
@Kyle_Ratke

There’s been a lot talk about the team’s recent trade, and really, it’s not a shock. It’s been speculated for months and now the local and national media is getting their chance to weigh in on the matter.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers may have acquired the best player (for now) in the trade, most experts seem to agree that Flips Saunders and the Wolves did pretty well for themselves considering the circumstances.

This wasn’t a trade where the Wolves got a boatload of future draft picks. They received the last two season’s No. 1 picks and a top-15 power forward in the NBA. That’s impressive. Let’s see what the experts had to say:

Jeff Zilget – USA Today Sports

While the Timberwolves are rebuilding, they are intent are on fielding a competitive team. Timberwolves President and coach Flip Saunders and general manager Milt Newton are shaping the team in their vision.

Wiggins has the upside to be a superstar, while Bennett disappointed as a rookie but is in much better shape. Young, meanwhile, gives them a proven scorer who averaged 17.9 points a game last season as the 76ers' leading scorer.

The Timberwolves have a young nucleus: Wiggins, 19; Bennett, 21; Young, 26; Ricky Rubio, 23; Chase Budinger, 26; rookie Zach LaVine, 19; Gorgui Dieng 24; Shabazz Muhammad, 21. Nikola Pekovic, Mo Williams and Young give the Timberwolves experience.

James Herbert – CBS Sports

The headliner in the deal is Wiggins, but Minnesota did well to acquire even more. Bennett was regarded highly as a prospect because guys that big are rarely that mobile or skilled. He has a chance to make an impact if he stays in shape and the Wolves give him the right environment to develop. Young, who will start in front of Bennett at power forward, should be a positive influence on him.

Josh Martin – Bleacher Report

The cupboard Fiip Saunders has to work with is far from barren. Andrew Wiggins is a superstar-type talent the T-Wolves could build around in the years to come. Anthony Bennett, who looked beastly in Summer League, could be a long-term contributor if he's not traded in short order.

Tom Powers – Pioneer Press

The Wolves probably will lead the league in potential this season. What's more, it's not just regular, run-of-the-mill potential but rather potential anchored in "athleticism." That's the buzzword for 2014-15 and beyond. The team has announced that one of its goals is to become "more athletic." And supposedly that's what it has done via the draft and this three-team trade.

Andy Rennecke – St. Cloud Times

But Minnesota has the potential to be a contender within the next two seasons with established players like center Nikola Pekovic, point guard Ricky Rubio, guard Kevin Martin and forwards Corey Brewer and Thaddeus Young leading the way.

Those five should mix in nicely with the youths the Timberwolves received from the Cavaliers in guard Andrew Wiggins and forward Anthony Bennett.

Judd Zulgad – ESPN1500

The Wolves did not draft Wiggins, but his presence on the roster marks the first time in franchise history the Wolves will have the top-overall selection from that year on their team. Wiggins averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32.8 minutes last season during his one-year stay at Kansas.

 Jon Krawczynski – Associated Press

On the face of it, the Wolves had little leverage. So owner Glen Taylor, President Flip Saunders and general manager Milt Newton had to convince the sharks circling around them that they didn't HAVE to trade Love. A summer-long dance culminated on Saturday when the Wolves sent Love to Cleveland, Alexey Shved, Luc Mbah a Moute and Miami's first-round pick in 2015 to Philadelphia and received No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from the Cavaliers and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from the 76ers.

Getting the last two No. 1 overall picks in the draft and an athletic, 26-year-old forward who averaged 17.9 points per game last season for a superstar who had one foot out the door required patience, discipline and plenty of luck along the way.

Jerry Zgoda – Star Tribune

Saunders is hopeful this is the start of a relationship that will convince all three players that their future is in Minnesota, which in turn will convince others of the same.

“Our NBA has changed a bit,” Saunders said. “Instead of destination cities, it has become destination players. It seems players gravitate toward other players to play with. We feel with some of the players we have, we’re going to have the ability to get players to gravitate towards our organization because of that.” 

Phil Ervin – Fox Sports North

But Wiggins isn't the only scorer who can get from baseline to baseline. LaVine, drafted 13th overall, rated as one of the fastest prospects in a deep 2014 draft class. Corey Brewer was the main reason Minnesota ranked seventh in fast-break points last season. Second-round pick Glenn Robinson III, though he has yet to sign, is another potentially lethal transition threat, as exhibited several times at the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League. Saunders' inaugural draft pick was Shabazz Muhammad because of his own sheer athleticism. Even Young -- a 6-8, 220-pound veteran also acquired in the Love trade -- can run a little.

They can all run. And they can all finish at the rim, generally with a crowd-wowing dunk.