Here are my three big takeaways from the news that the Wolves have acquired veteran guard Patrick Beverley from the Grizzlies for Juancho Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver:
1. The deal addresses some key needs for the Wolves. Beverley, 33, is a veteran point guard who can slot in behind D'Angelo Russell and/or start in certain lineups. He's a career 38.2% shooter from three-point range.
More importantly, Beverley plays with a certain defensive edge — and has the numbers to back up that reputation. ESPN had him as the No. 8 point guard last season in defensive real plus-minus. Two years ago? He was No. 1 among point guards. On a roster largely devoid of defensive acumen, Beverley will make an immediate impact. It's not just Jaden McDaniels and Josh Okogie any more.
Gersson Rosas has stressed the desire to upgrade the team's defense and add more "two-way" players. Beverley is that type of player, and it doesn't hurt that he's played 59 career playoff games. Rosas is certainly familiar with Beverley from their time together in Houston, where the guard played five seasons before spending four with the Clippers (and then very recently being dealt to Memphis).
That said, the numbers on ESPN's trade machine also suggest this is basically a neutral deal in terms of wins and losses. Do not suddenly go out and bet the over on the Wolves.
Part of that is perhaps because Beverley's worth has an intangible quality to it. Part of it, though, is that he doesn't necessarily move the dial all that much. And part of it is the Wolves gave up two potential rotation players for one year (at $14.3 million) of Beverley.
2. Speaking of which, this deal closes the Culver era in Minnesota with a thud. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft couldn't get much traction here. His confidence suffered. Injuries played a role. More than anything, he couldn't make shots consistently.
Dealing him now is an admission that the pick — the first of Rosas' tenure — was a major whiff. In a perfect world, you wouldn't need to trade for Beverley. Culver would be your defensive stopper knocking down threes. Instead, he's getting a fresh start.
I also can't help but notice that Beverley not only isn't a power forward, but the Wolves traded away a power forward (Hernangomez) in the deal. I still have no idea who their starting "four" is, and they are net-neutral in that market this year (trading Ricky Rubio for Taurean Prince) after Rosas indicated they would be aggressive in their pursuit of an upgrade. Maybe there's another move yet to come for another veteran. For now, I'm hardly heartbroken about seeing Hernangomez go, but he was useful at a position of need.
3. From a salary standpoint, it cleans up the Wolves' books a bit. The incoming/outgoing salary is only about $1 million different (with the Wolves taking on that extra burden), but Beverley's contract is simple. He is on an expiring, $14.3 million deal. Culver has a team option for 2022-23 while Hernangomez has a non-guaranteed deal for that season as well.
If Beverley plays well and the Wolves are in the hunt for at least a play-in berth, he's a nice piece to have down the stretch. If the Wolves aren't in the hunt, he could be a trade chip at the deadline for a contender.
Bottom line: I'd rather have Beverley than Culver and Hernangomez. He fits this year's team in a lot of ways. For that reason alone, the Wolves win the trade even if they clearly lost the draft two years ago.