for pre-draft scenarios and opinions.
* I can’t keep up with all of the rumored trades that may or may not happen. I can’t keep up with whatever the hell crappy jokes are coming from Dan Gilbert’s Twitter account. Basically, I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen, and it doesn’t sound like anyone else does (as I type this at 1:39 CST, anyway) either. Since Kyrie Irving chimed in on that PDW photoshop that Anthony Bennett instagrammed, I’ll go ahead and predict the star Runnin’ Reb surprises as the #1 Pick tonight.
* What will the Wolves do? By just about everybody’s account, they’ll draft KCP if he’s there. Our mock had him, you know, NOT there. That’s the interesting scenario. I highly doubt they’ll draft Shabazz as Pat did in our mock. Everything points, I think, to either KCP or trade.
* What do I WANT to see happen?
Of semi-realistic scenarios, I’d like to see a trade up for Ben McLemore. I think he’s the third-best talent in the draft (behind Noel and Bennett) and is the best fit on the Timberwolves — now and in the future — by a huge margin. His relatively-shaky handle is less problematic when you factor in his athleticism that would bolster the Wolves slow transition game, and you factor in that Ricky Rubio shoulders such a high degree of responsibility for creating offense on the Wolves. When Ricky sits, Alexey Shved does a nice job as a pass-first guard. The Wolves seriously need a catch-and-shoot guy, and if they can get one with McLemore’s physical gifts, uptapped potential, and more-than-humble background, that seems like the perfect fit for this team. Brett Koremenos wrote as much for Grantland the other day. Oh, and according to yesterday’s post at TrueHoop, certain advanced analytics also peg McLemore as a top-notch prospect in this year’s draft. I’d love to see the Wolves go get him.
After trading up for McLemore, I like the idea of trading up for Victor Oladipo. If the trade is with any team picking after Cleveland, it might not be our choice between Ben & Vic, but who is left on the board. With Oladipo, I’m less sure of his offensive readiness as a pro. His freshman and sophomore seasons including horrible perimeter shooting, but he turned that around his junior year and established a famous rep as a tireless worker that shoots hoops in the middle of the night. I guess I could be convinced that he’ll be a longtime 38-40 percent shooter from 23 feet. His form looks good.
It’s easy to say “we should trade up” without acknowledging the cost. For me, it’s #9, #26, Derrick Williams and either taking back a slightly less favorable contract (than D-Thrill’s) or a future draft pick to sweeten the deal. Since the Wolves already owe a future 1st Rounder (protected) to Phoenix, it might be difficult to use additional draft picks to get this done. It might be that they take back a less-than-desirable contract. It would take too long for me to delve into specific possibilities.
After the trade-up scenarios, I like the idea of standing pat and drafting Cody Zeller. He probably won’t be there, based on what I’ve seen for rumors this morning. He’s got the upside to be an impact 4 that could share the court with Love or Pekovic.
If the Wolves stay at 9 and Zeller is gone, they should draft KCP. 3’s, D, and a nice-fitting talent.
After that, and if by some chance (as in our mock) both Zeller and KCP are gone (and assuming the top-flight talents like Noel & Bennett don’t slip all the way to 9) they should think hard about trading out of the lottery in a deal that either provides a little bit of salary relief to help keep Pekovic and Kirilenko, and/or in a deal for a capable veteran shooter on a reasonable contract. They still have 26 to draft their 3 & D guy.
* What about #26?
It depends on what happens in the lottery, of course. If they draft McLemore I don’t see a whole lot of point in drafting somebody like Reggie Bullock or Allen Crabbe. In fact, given the tight budget and Pekovic’s free agency, I doubt they’ll use both picks on players coming over here anyway. The most fun option would be if Giannis Adetekunbo falls to 26, after reports surfaced that he will come immediately to the NBA and begin collecting his (likely) guaranteed contracts. He’s apparently an absolute freak specimen — something like 6’9″ and maybe still growing, with hands so big it looks like he’s dribbling a grapefruit. The “most fun” pick is often times the one that gets you fired. But it’s something to think about.
Should be a fun night.