Obviously after last years debacle of a season, there are areas in which the Wolves are going to have to improve. I will try to tackle each of these as we approach training camp and the season. In this episode, I'll tackle the Point Guard situation.
Yes, Sam Cassell had a great year two years ago, and he battled injuries all of last season, but face it; he ain't getting any younger. He certainly didn't help quell the problems in the locker room last season, recently it's come about that he was a major contributor, and that's NOT supposed to be what "savvy" verterans do. His status with the team will be in questio this year, if not by the team, then by us, the fans. He's in the last year of his contract which can mean one of two things - or both.
1)He's in a contract year so he's going to be at his best, assuming he'll be playing for another contract elsewhere and return, atleast part way, to the form he led the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals.
2)He'll continue to whine and complain about his lack of a contract, and continue to be the cancer he was last season
Although option 1 looks to be MUCH better than option 2, option 2 isn't as bad as it may seem. With Sam in the last year of his contract and that contract is not very big, he'd be very attractive to a team that's looking to clear cap room for the next season. I think the Wolves would rather have option 1, but as a fan - of both the Wolves and Sam - I certainly look at option 2 as viable.
As for our backup situation at PG, I'm less optimistic. The Wolves clearly made a mistake signing Troy Hudson to the contract they did. We all WANT to see the T-Hud that wreaked havoc on the Lakers in the playoffs three years ago, but what we're GOING to see is more of what we did last season when he was healthy. He's a shoot first guy, who was not capable of running Flips offense last year. Yes, I know, Flip isn't around anymore, but there's nothing Troy has done that shows me he'll be any different. "But Troy would be more suited to a run and gun offense like Dwayne Casey had in Seattle." Wrong. The guys the Sonics had distributing the ball were smart players who can pass (Luke Ridnour and Ray Allen). Troy is neither of these. As stated above, he's a shoot first guy, who is only capable of looking for HIS shot, not the BEST shot. He's turnover prone and is more capable of disrupting an offense than he is of running one. If there were any way to get rid of him, the Wolves would be wise to do so, but who in their right mind would take Hudsons' game AND his contract?
As for the rest of the back-ups, it's been a tough road. Darrick Martin, Keith McLeod, Anthony Carter, and at times Fred Hoiberg. Last year Carter occasionally showed flashes of "brilliance," and I say that keeping in mind he was the third-string point guard. He's a very good defensive player, he's tough, and he makes few mistakes. On the other hand, I think he shot 50%, for the rim. Teams could leave him open every time down the floor, because he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Albeit, as the back-ups back-up he wasn't expected to score. Carter was an emergency guy incase one or both the other two guys went down, so I don't fault him for his contribution, because he was asked to do more than he was capable.
The Wolves NEEEED help. With their starting point guard a big question mark, and their back-up a waste of space, they need to do something about that position. Bracey Wright may be able to fill in, but I have a hard time putting too much faith in a 2nd-round draft pick. There aren't too many free agents out there that would help greatly, but there are a few.
Damon Stoudemire probably leads the list of free agent point guards, but it's hard to say how much money he's going to want - that and there are a few teams that would be willing to pay him more than the Wolves could, or would.
There are some older guys available as well. Kenny Anderson, Doug Overton, Darrick Martin, and Brent Price are all available, but I don't think the Wolves need to get any older.
Some guys that you may see get a shot: Smush Parker, Jamison Brewer, John Gilchrist, Marcus Taylor.
Unless there's a trade I don't really see the Wolves helping themselves out too much at Point Guard through free agency, but then again, nobody wanted Fred Hoiberg or Trenton Hassell and look how well the turned out. For McHale's sake, I hope they get it fixed, because frankly he's on his last leg.