Moore’s NBA Trade Deadline Recap: Why the Wiggins-Russell Swap Works for the Wolves

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Photo credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: D’Angelo Russell

The 2020 NBA Trade Deadline was interesting, but not captivating. A lot happened … but not a lot changed.

The Rockets went big on math. The Cavs got Andre Drummond for some reason. And the Warriors swapped one questionable young guard for another.

Let’s break down what these moves mean for the league. (Note: I already broke down the Clint Capela-Robert Covington trade; see my analysis for that here.)

THE WARRIORS-WOLVES TRADE

  • Warriors receive: Andrew Wiggins, 2021 top-three protected first-round pick and 2021 second-round pick
  • Wolves receive: D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman

For more on this trade, read our roundtable.

In addition to what I wrote there, it’s important to get a broader perspective on what Gersson Rosas has done with the Wolves and what the Warriors’ ultimate goal is.

You can argue about D’Angelo Russell’s worth or how he doesn’t fix the Wolves’ biggest problem: defense. You can argue about the value of the pick or their other moves, including the trade of Robert Covington.

But the one thing you can’t do is ignore how they at least centralized around what Rosas and coach Ryan Saunders are trying to do.

Minnesota is taking the fourth-most 3-point attempts per 100 possessions this season. Of the other top-five teams in that category, three of them are also top-five in Offensive Rating. Minnesota is the only team bottom-10, mostly on account of being 30th — dead last — in 3-point percentage.

Wiggins, Keita Bates-Diop (traded to Denver in the four-team deal Tuesday), Treveon Graham (traded to Atlanta in the Allen Crabbe deal) and Gorgui Dieng (traded to Memphis for James Johnson) were all sub-40th percentile on spot-up plays, per Synergy Sports.

Now, look at what they added. Wiggins shot 32% on spot-up opportunities this season. Russell shot 45% on a lot fewer possessions, but also 40% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Malik Beasley? — 40% spot-up, 58% eFG on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

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