As if it weren’t hard enough to be an Minnesota Timberwolf, the Wolves’ point guards seem to have a particularly tough lot in life. Dust off jokes about Minny’s one-time glut of PGs if you must, but these days, the point man is practically endangered in Minneapolis.
Jonny Flynn is still recovering from hip surgery, Luke Ridnour is out with a strained hamstring, Martell Webster (an off-guard capable of covering ball-handling duties in a pinch) just had surgery to repair a herniated back disc, and even Wayne Ellington is out of action with a bruised thigh.
Sebastian Telfair is really the Wolves’ only ball-handler or distributor…and in yesterday’s game against the Kings he had a single assist in almost 40 minutes. Telfair is capable of holding down the fort until the team’s more capable point guards are healthy again, but the circumstances currently demand that he play entirely too many minutes. That’s no good. Telfair’s effectiveness and efficiency will dip when he’s thrust into such a high-minute, high-usage role, and the best answer for the Wolves — unless they can just pop Flynn’s hip back into place — is to get Telfair a little help.
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Wolves are looking to add Sundiata Gaines to back up Telfair. Minnesota has worked out a number of other prospects capable of filling in minutes at the point, but Zgoda reported that Gaines impressed the Wolves most. In order to free up a spot for Gaines, Minnesota has waived former first round pick Maurice Ager, a shooting guard who just hasn’t turned all that many heads since being drafted in 2006. Gaines is a much more natural fit for a reserve point guard, as he put up solid scoring and assist numbers for the D-League’s Idaho Stampede last season before doing well in limited minutes for the Utah Jazz. He also hit some big shot, but you probably didn’t hear about that.
Gaines doesn’t have much of a shot at playing time once Ridnour and Flynn are healthy again, but a stint with the Wolves could be a nice way to boost his NBA stock. Regardless, this is the right decision for the Wolves right now. Ager wasn’t helping much, and though Gaines is more of a stopgap than a notable addition, he makes sense for Kurt Rambis’ team right now.