Draft Talk, Take Two (The Lowered Expectations Edition)

Glenn Robinson II (!) and Glenn Robinson III

Glenn Robinson II (!) and Glenn Robinson III

A couple weeks ago, in anticipation of the NCAA Tournament, we scribbled some preliminary thoughts on NBA Draft prospects. Now that we’re into Sweet 16 territory, and we know a little more about where the Wolves may end up drafting, we thought it about that time to do another quick #lottobound rundown of our current thoughts on potential Wolves prospects we like.

I pass the baton to Andy G to kick this thing off.

Andy G: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Ben McLemore: Disappears too often for my taste, certainly if you’re taking him as high as #1(!) I mean, check out his game log (Insider, sorry). I’d like the Wolves to get him but I wouldn’t expect that we’re getting a Durant or Ray Allen as much as a Jason Richardson.

That said, who is #1? My take is, if we somehow win the lottery I think it’s Nerlens Noel or Anthony Bennett.  Gotta get the star power at the top of the draft.

If we don’t win the lotto and take Oladipo, we might be getting a better player than McLemore anyway.  Victor O plays Jrue Holiday-style defense and seems to have the shooting mechanics to become a pretty reliable secondary scorer. It’d be incredible to watch a Rubio-Oladipo backcourt terrorize opposing guards defensively.

Patrick J: I don’t necessarily disagree. I’ve cooled my jets on McLemore. I think he’ll be that very nice, in his prime borderline all-star but never truly great, kind of SG. Do you take that guy at #1? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how much you like Noel, how much you like Noel’s knee surgeon, and whether you have Pek coming back. I’d probably take Noel #1 for now, and look to get Oladipo (or McLemore) somewhere below that top pick. I’m still bullish on Bennett, by the way, but the need is so far from a top priority unless we’d do something radical like, hmm…., play Kevin Love at Center, and use both K-Love and Bennett as matchup nightmares (on both ends!). Bennett has a ton of potential as an NBA scorer, but only as a PF.

NEW ISSUE: I’m increasingly thinking that if we land between #7-9 in the draft, we trade down for GLENN ROBINSON III (DX profile here). I see some McLemore in his game, albeit at the SF position, and like the variety of things he can do. I think there’s more we haven’t seen yet, either. He’s sneaky quick, smooth, long, can score in multiple ways, and didn’t look uncomfortable as a frosh. I really like how he would assert himself but not force things, i.e., he seems to know how to play and that’s important for integrating a young pup into a team that wants to be Kahntending for a playoff spot next season.  And at risk of stating the obvious, GR3 appears to have a much better attitude and MOTOR (DRAFTSPEAK!) than his old man ever did.

Mostly, I’m floating interest in Robinson III because I’m not that impressed with other prospects whom I expect to be available in this range, sort of how I wasn’t impressed by Wes Johnson at #4, thought Paul George looked at least as good, and thought it’d therefore be smart to trade down and grab George and get a sweetener rather than stand pat and take Wes. That’s obviously now an extremely stilted example, and I don’t think GR3 has the chops to become another George, but I think it shows the value of trading down in lottery situations when it makes sense and is possible. Robinson is currently projected to go at #20 in DX’s mock. I doubt he’ll slide that far, but still, he seems like a decent and attainable target who could help immediately even he’s unlikely ever to be a big time star.

GR3 doing work.

Agree or disagree on Robinson III?

Andy G: Well, I disagree (strongly) on the “could help immediately” part.  GR3 is barely 19 years old, skinnier than Alexey Shved (okay, maybe not, but still) and only shoots 7.5 times per the 33.2 minutes that he plays per game.  That said, I like that he makes a whopping 57.4 percent of those tries (EFFICIENCY!) because it shows that he knows how to play next to talent — in this case Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. — and find ways to fill in the gaps.  We’re both working largely off of SECONDARY SOURCES here, and the best college mix of GR3 I could find is just a dunk mixtape.

Eh, the only time one of those amounted to prima facie draft stock evidence was DeAndre Jordan.  (When a man that big can dunk like that, you draft him with the 34th Pick.  I’m looking at you, Kevin McHale.)  What else do we have on the secondary front?  Well, Chad Ford ranks him 16th and calls him a smooth scorer with high BBIQ.  He questions his motor — so not so fast with that favorable comp to Big Dog Sr.  (Speaking of which, how fucking insane was Big Dog in college?  Dude averaged 30 & 10 as a sophomore, back when college ball was still really stacked with talent!  He was a wealthy man’s Mike Beasley and made his self a lot of money in the pros — even if his defensive lapses and one dimensional skill set never made him the superstar that GENE KEADY! could.)  In any case, sure, there are some things to like there and maybe he’s worth taking in the mid-lottery after a trade down.  But I’d need to see something that separates him from the always-big pile of generic wing alternatives that could be had in the late 1st/early 2nd.  Like, is GR3 a better prospect than the North Carolina wings or Allen Crabbe of California?  Is the only reason we think so because he’s a freshman?  If so, is there anything wrong with that?  As you can see I’m undecided on GR3, and I’ll try to keep a close eye on him during the time I can watch Michigan-Kansas tonight whilst stepping away from the Wolves-Thunder tilt.  I might even do this periodically AT TARGET CENTER, ducking into Hubert’s for a pint and some Sweet 16.

(Takes deep breath.)  That was a lot of words about a mid-tier draft prospect.  Since we’re talking Big Ten freshmen, I guess I’ll throw GARY HARRIS into the discussion.  MSU Spartan (also plays tonight, against Duke) that seems to be rising on draft boards of late.  He’s a 6’4″ off-guard which doesn’t excite me all that much unless he’s a freak athlete or unusually skilled.  Ford’s rundown on his pros and cons bores me a little bit (sounds like a typical Izzo guy: hardnosed, good-not-great athlete, streaky shooter) but I’ll keep an open mind and look at him a bit more as we approach draft day.

That’s all I’ve got.  Wolves-Thunder tonight.  Sweet 16 and Elite 8 all weekend.  Solid hoops weekend ahead.
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