Columnists debate Timberwolves’ future: Lack of a shooting guard will continue to be Wolves’ weakness

There’s no question the Minnesota Timberwolves are a young team. The heart of their lineup — Joe Smith, Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak — could all probably still be Evan Eschmeyering their way through college. (The Eschmeyer plan: Redshirt until you’re older and taller than everyone.)
But youth doesn’t make up for a glaring problem with the Timberpuppies — their guards will never lead them to an NBA title. While the Wolves are almost unquestioned up front, the shooting guards aren’t going to get Minnesota anywhere.
Terrell Brandon, the starting point guard, isn’t a bad player. In fairness, the almost 30-year-old did average 17.1 points per game and was fourth in the NBA in average assists.
But his backcourt mates are less than impressive.
Bobby Jackson is looking at other teams to play for and it’s quite possible he’ll bolt.
And that leaves Minnesota with 20-year-old William Avery and Brandon at the point. While Brandon has been good, Avery has barely set foot on the floor this season.
Meanwhile, over at the shooting guard spot are two 30-year-olds. Anthony Peeler and Malik Sealy are basically left out of an offense that focuses on the forwards. In an offense with two options up front and two sporadic point guards, Sealy and Peeler are the fourth options (at least).
As for the notion that the team will mature into a great team, this team has had a two seasons (OK, a season and a half, thanks to the strike) to turn into something special. But they haven’t. While Garnett is able to light up the scoreboard down low, his shooting guards have been spectacularly average.
The problem, the block between Minnesota and NBA stardom, is the salary cap. The cap is a good idea (it’s tough to knock something that’s sole goal is to keep salaries down) if the Wolves would have to get creative beyond belief to sign a marqueÇ shooting guard or a backup to Brandon.
There’s no questioning the talent on this team — it’s just located all on the front line. Szczerbiak is a talent, no question. But the Wolves are overloaded at the forward positions already. With Smith’s play around the basket, Garnett’s all-around game and Szczerbiak’s blossoming talent, it’s enough to make you wish one of them was about a half foot shorter and a shooting guard.
They could draft a guard, if they ever got a draft pick high enough to take someone worth mentioning. Then, when that talent develops, they can watch him take off to make the money he should make as a star on another team.
They’re at an impasse. Unless Sealy and Peeler develop (at the age of 30) into solid shooting guards, Minnesota will be struggling to join the ranks of Los Angeles and Indiana for a while to come.

Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]