(The 2013 NBA trade deadline is February 21st at 3PM ET. WTLC is exploring potential trade ideas that could bolster the Thunder's chances during their playoff run.)
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We continue with our analysis of Thunder needs and available players today with another look at the guard position, this time at Thunder nemesis and Timberwolves backup PG J.J. Barea.
What the Thunder need:
I believe OKC needs a better backup PG who knows how to both create his own shot as well as set up others. Reggie Jackson's development has been great, but he's not quite there yet and I'd like to see someone coming off the bench better capable of creating their own shot. Maynor is a known quantity, but has not yet regained his play from before he tore his ACL.
If there is any fan base that's aware of J.J. Barea's potency off the bench and his ability to go on a vicious one man thrashing against an opponent, it's the Thunder. That's not to say he's among the best in the league, but he absolutely has his moments. Between tearing up OKC in the playoffs a couple of years back and putting up 14 points in the final quarter of a December matchup against the Thunder that snapped an OKC 12 game winning streak, the little man has proven he can play.
While Reggie Jackson has done well enough to supplant Eric Maynor as the backup point guard, a talent upgrade in that spot wouldn't be a bad idea heading into the second half of the season. As of late, I'd like to see a little more ball movement and Barea would do a great deal to help out with that in addition to providing another scoring option off the bench. He's listed as 6'0" but I would swear he's more likely to be 5'8" or 5'9". Combine that with the fact that he has a five-head (not a forehead, but a five-head. It's large.) and you have one hell of a worthless but still kind of cool side bonus. He kind of looks like a bobble-head doll. He's also in a relationship with Miss Puerto Rico, which goes to show...something...unfair.
Barea won a ring as a key member of the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He is currently averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.4 APG, and is shooting 42% from the floor. The Timberwolves currently have 4 PG's on their roster, and have already indicated a willingness to shop one of them, Luke Ridnour.
There would be nstant upgrades in bench scoring and ball movement. For the current season, Barea's numbers are superior to Jackson, who is averaging 4 points per game with 1.6 assists over an average of 11.7 minutes of floor time. Barea also provides significantly more playoff experience than Jackson and has proven to be clutch in big games in the past.
Also, Barea would provide some much-needed additional scoring punch for a Thunder bench that has been inconsistent on the offensive end of the court.
Not too many, if you go with the 1st scenario. Losing Liggins is a bit of a downer as he's had his moments this year, but you've got to give talent to get talent. The Timberwolves are looking to build for the future with Kevin Love's absence severely damaging their chances at a post season appearance this year. Young talent to go along with Rubio in the backcourt along with a 1st round pick would be tempting.On his own, Maynor doesn't have other teams knocking down the door, but packaging him with a 2 guard with size in Liggins and a 1st round draft pick could do the trick. The only real downside is losing Liggins if you go with the 1st scenario.
If you go with the second, you get to keep the promising young talent but you'd be losing the very valuable Toronto 1st round pick. I'd go with the 1st scenario without blinking. You already have Jeremy Lamb at the 2 and you have him signed for the next four years where Liggins is only signed for the next two.
If it's the 1st scenario, do it and don't think twice. If it's the 2nd scenario, I'm not so sure. I would think that the Timberwolves are looking for young backcourt talent to compliment Love and Rubio as well as to convince Love to stay on board in Minnesota. If Maynor, Liggins, and the 1st round pick from Dallas works for the Timberwolves, I'd be more than happy to trade that for Barea.
What do you think?