My typical order of operations for running this blog is to write first, read later. During the season that means I watch the game, think about a post theme on my fifteen-minute walk home, and then immediately start banging on the keys. I do this for two main reasons that are equally important to me: First, I don’t have a lot of time during the work week to spend on the blog, so I need to be as efficient as possible. Writing while thoughts are fresh and I’ve yet to unwind from the game is the least wasteful of time. Second, it’s the best way for this blog to provide a unique perspective. If I’ve already read other takes, I’ll be more accurate but less original. So with those considerations in mind, I bang out a post as best I can, press “publish” and then read the other fine Timberwolves websites and blogs, usually discovering mistakes I made but also setting my previous thoughts in a fuller context.
I didn’t do that with last night’s draft. That’s partly because, after the Muhammad and Dieng picks, I strolled down the street to my favorite bar for a some post-draft decompression. By the time I got home it was too late to start writing. But I also wanted to read other takes first because, well… THE WOLVES DRAFTED SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD!!! Unbelievable. Pat and I have written a few different ‘Bazz-related posts, and I kind of sort of thought they were at least a little bit in jest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a Shabazz Hater; just didn’t seem possible that this team, coached by this coach, at this juncture, would opt for such a polarizing prospect.
More on all of this later, when I get some time to fully digest it.
for pre-draft scenarios and opinions.
If the Wolves draft Shabazz Muhammad, Flip won’t have to ask for his longform
Eds. Note: This mock isn’t necessarily intended to predict what teams will do, but to spell out what WE would do at each pick. Some of that is likely to map onto what teams actually end up doing on Thursday, some isn’t. Part 1, which covered picks 1-8, is here.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA
Patrick J: If the draft were to unfold as we outlined it here, there won’t be any great options left for the Wolves at #9. That said, the Wolves need a shooter and scorer on the wing. Shabazz Muhammad is a shooter and scorer who plays the wing. Most fans hate Shabazz. They don’t like that his dad RON HOLMES (!) forged Shabazz’s birth certificate. They don’t like that Shabazz never collected any assists. They don’t like that Shabazz didn’t play well against the Gophers during the only game most of them probably saw Muhammad play all season long. Me, I don’t care about Shabazz’s age, his Daddy issues, his passing, or his putative attitude problems, which is (at this point) overblown since we don’t know beyond vague RUMINT that Shabazz has any attitude problems. What I do care about is obtaining a scorer who is taller than 6’1’’ and can score without being ball dominant. Shabazz does that in his sleep. He wouldn’t be a great fit for every team, but I think people are selling short the fit he could be on our team.
To close, I will quote RON HOLMES:
“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!” Holmes wrote to a Times reporter in a text message. “I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”
Doesn’t that convince you?
(More of Ron’s Ruminations are here.)
Adam Silver will be rollin’ phat on Draft night
Eds. Note: This mock isn’t necessarily intended to predict what teams will do, but to spell out what WE would do at each pick. Some of that is likely to map onto what teams actually end up doing on Thursday, some isn’t.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Patrick J: I think the Cavs go with the conventional wisdom here. In a draft without a sure-thing superstar, you go with talent and size, especially when there’s a seven footer with potentially upper upper level shotblocking skills and defensive instincts.
Andy G: Can’t disagree, here. It’s not so much that NERLENS is can’t-miss as much as there’s probably not a sure thing anywhere in this draft and it’s pretty easy to see how his game carries over to modern NBA defense, often times built around roaming paint protectors.
Plus, that flat top.
Ben McLemore to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Some of McLemore’s intangible qualities — mainly his assertiveness, focus, and competitiveness — have a number of front offices concerned about his future prospects. The Kansas guard also isn’t a great off-the-dribble creator, so a team bereft of playmakers may ask McLemore to shoulder more offensive responsibility than he is ready for, which could irrevocably damage his game and confidence. More than perhaps any potential lottery pick, McLemore needs a stable, winning environment to help mold good habits while also letting him grow into his game at his own pace. In Minnesota, Kevin Love fills the role of first-option scorer while Ricky Rubio plays the part as the primary, off-the-bounce creator. McLemore would only be required to help the Minnesota attack in ways that play to his strengths — attacking in transition and using his sweet stroke to spot up from the outside in the half court. It would be a much easier transition for McLemore, allowing him to perhaps slowly grow his offensive game in a similar fashion to the aforementioned George. And by combining with Rubio, Love, Andrei Kirilenko, and center Nikola Pekovic (if he’s re-signed), playoff appearances would likely follow, aiding McLemore’s development as a winning player.
–Brett Koremenos, in his Grantland post, “Four Ideal Prospect-to-Team Fits in the 2013 NBA Draft.” For the entire post: (http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/66726/four-ideal-prospect-to-team-fits-in-the-2013-nba-draft)
In a podcast with CBS Sports, Jonathan Givony was asked to name one player that is “confounding him” right now — meaning that his opinion differs significantly from what he’s hearing from NBA teams. His response:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has really moved up draft boards significantly over the last few months. He has a really good chance of being a top-ten pick on Thursday now. And while I like his talent — I like a 6’6″ guy that can really shoot the ball and is committed to playing defense — that can really score, I wonder if he has the mindset to be a top-ten draft pick and really carry an NBA team; to be a go-to option early on in his career. I wonder about that. I think that he is more comfortable being a complementary type — being a third or fourth option player. I liked him a little bit more when he was projected just outside the lottery, in that 15 to 25 range as opposed to a top-ten pick. I think really that’s what the draft is all about, it’s all about value. I think all these players are talented. I don’t think there’s a single guy that’s going to go in the first round that cannot play. I just think that it’s a matter of expectations. It’s a matter of where you fall in the draft and what opportunity you get to how you can actually become.