Wednesday, July 3, 2013

T-Wolves Sign Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin

The Timberwolves and new president Flip Saunders are half-way there. The perennial gap at the 2 spot would seem to have been filled as the signings of Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin.

Now, re-signing Nikola Pekovic or otherwise filling the center spot would seem to be job #2. Anything else after that would seem to be gravy.

Budinger was of course a Timberwolf last year, but missed 3/4 of the season with an injury. He scored 9.4 points (his career average) in 23 games. The question with Budinger is whether 9 ppg represents his upper limit. In 4 years in the NBA he has scored 9, 10, 10 and 9 points per game in 20, 22, 22 and 22 minutes while shooting 44, 42, 44 and 41 percent from the field. At 6-7, he can play the small forward as well as the off guard spot so more than 20 minutes are probably available if he can up that shooting percentage a little bit.

But of course Kevin Martin will have something to say about that. Martin seems likely to take the starting 2 spot though he was 6th man for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year. In 11 years in the NBA he has scored 17 ppg on 44 percent shooting in 31 minutes. He's taken 12 shots per game (1 every 2.6 minutes) (Budinger by contrast takes 8 shots per game or 1 every 2.5 minutes. Budinger has also averaged 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 turnover, while Martin has had 3 boards, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. So the fact is they are very nearly the same player; Martin has simply had more minutes and more opportunity to establish himself.)

The NBA is nothing if not deferent to its stars and its older players, so Martin will start and play the 2, while Budinger will come off the bench and play the 2 and the 3. Of course, Shabazz Muhammad will have something to say about that. And if Shabazz and Budinger are the only 3s, then Budinger could end up starting. But Derrick Williams will be in the mix at the 3, too, unless Flip moves him for a real 3,  which could happen.

But if nothing happens except Pek is re-signed, the re-signing of Budinger and the signing of Martin makes this a most promised T-Wolves roster even with the current mix of forwards.

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