1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Minnesota’s point guard situation consists of the trio of Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones. These three have had their moments, but aren’t good enough to help the Timberwolves make the playoffs.
Rose was the feel-good story of the season, averaging 18.0 points and 4.3 assists with a solid 37.0 percent from 3-point range. He underwent arthroscopic surgery towards the end the season, however. This latest injury proves that even if Minnesota can retain the soon-to-be free agent, he won’t be the long-term answer at point guard.
Jeff Teague will be 31 before next season and had his least efficient year since his rookie season,
Tyus Jones, 22, finished his fourth season in the league averaging 6.9 points and 4.8 assists in his first season averaging more than 20 minutes per game. Jones is also set to be a restricted free agent, but it seems likely that the T-Wolves can bring him back for cheap.
The T-Wolves desperately need a guard that can shoot and make plays for others. Point guards like Ja Morant, Coby White and Darius Garland are expected to be gone early in the draft to other guard desperate teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, and Chicago Bulls. In comes Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Alexander-Walker averaged 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists — up from 1.5 assists per game in his freshmen year — per game for Virginia Tech. He can play either guard spot and could replace Rose’s shooting, as he shot 37.4 percent from 3-point range in his sophomore year on 4.6 attempts per game.
The biggest problems in his game are related to his size. Alexander-Walker has a small, slender 6’5” 205-pound frame which could hurt him against more physical, athletic guards in the NBA. Still, he’s the perfect fit for the T-Wolves and addresses some of their biggest concerns coming off the 2018-19 season.
The most important thing for the T-Wolves is to make sure they give him a legit chance at playing consistent minutes. Kris Dunn rarely got to play in his rookie season before they packaged him in the trade for Jimmy Butler. Alexander-Walker may take a couple of seasons to develop into a great starting point guard, but he could one day become the Minnesota Timberwolves’ floor general of the future.