In our ongoing NBA Front Office series, Tom Penn (general manager), George Karl (coach), Amin Elhassan (scouting director) and Kevin Pelton (analytics director) are joined by NBA Front Office's senior consultant, David Thorpe. Today, the group weighs in on the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers and asks if the Minnesota Timberwolves got enough in return.
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Obviously, they'll have Andrew Wiggins now in the mix. He's the key piece. Anthony Bennett -- do we feel like he's a throwaway? What value does he actually have coming off summer league? I'm interested in opinions on that. Thaddeus Young's impact?
George Karl (@CoachKarl22): This is the steal of the century for the Cavs.
To give up Love for Wiggins, Bennett, Young and a first-round pick is crazy to me. With Wiggins, you're only talking about potential. You're not yet talking about productivity. Yeah, I think he goes on to be good. But this bothers me: He is a young player, and if any of a number of things happen -- he gets injured, the team is the wrong fit, he gets bitter about the game, doesn't have the passion, doesn't have the love . . . There's a significant chance he might not even be an All-Star, just because that's the way things work.
Bennett, I'm sorry, I saw him play in the summer league, and he was goofy, man. Yeah, he has physical tools. But he's got to be trained. He doesn't have the highest basketball IQ and commitment. So if you're the Cavs, and you give both those guys up and a future No. 1 pick, and you don't have to give up Anderson Varejao or Dion Waiters, and you actually get another team to give up a guy like Young -- I mean, I'm thinking this is a conspiracy! As if the league is making this happen because LeBron James threatened to boycott the league if Love didn't get traded to Cleveland and have a great team or something like that!
Penn: Love when the paranoid Coach shows his face. Love it. But Coach nailed it with the "potential vs. productivity" discussion. I call it "hope vs. promise." You sell hope to your fans, and that's what Minnesota is going to do with Wiggins et al.
David Thorpe (@CoachThorpe) : When I studied Bennett last season, the talent was obvious. He was significantly overweight. He had a bad start, and it took him a while to get going. But we've seen players rebound from a rough start to their careers. J.J. Redick -- admittedly, a much better college player than Bennett was -- comes to mind. Redick started off terribly, and I think most people would say he's had a pretty good career.
So Bennett's not a throwaway. He had a bad start, being hurt, being fat, just flat-out overweight. And all in a culture that wasn't great a year ago.