Timberwolves 2013 Draft Review

Photo Credit: Timberwolves

Photo Credit: Timberwolves

In case you weren’t aware, the NBA Draft was last Thursday and there were quite a few storylines.  The night got off to a surprising start with the Cavs taking Anthony Bennett with the first pick of the draft.  Any time you can appease your ex, and new head coach, with their favorite player in the draft, you have to do it.  I have no idea how this is going to play itself out, but I expect to see the Gilbert’s in the lottery a lot over the coming decade.

After that surprise pick, Victor Oladipo to Orlando and Otto Porter to Washington seemed to make a lot of sense.  Then the remaining wheels came off the draft, with Cody Zeller and Alex Len being selected ahead of Nerlens Noel – who was favored to be the 1st pick of the draft at 6pm Thursday evening.  As these events started to unfold, excitement started to brew, as I realized we were getting very close to the Pups pick at #9 and two of my top three were still there for the taking – Ben McLemore and KCP.  Excitement hit this level in fact:

 

Needless to say, things were getting a bit fuzzy.  Then, the Basketball Gods remembered that I root for the Minnesota Timberwolves and quickly struck down with no regard for my health or overall wellbeing.  McLemore quickly got scooped up by the Kings and Joe Dumars surprised us by taking KCP over Trey Burke.  (Thud)

I’ll get into some thoughts on all of this later, but here are my thoughts and grades for the players we actually wound up with.  I’m also including a draft highlight and lowlight at the end.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

#9 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Thoughts

In no way, shape, or form was this our pick and it didn’t take long to figure out where Burke was going.  The Utah Jazz came knocking on Flip’s door and the Pups received the 14th and 21st picks from the Jazz.

Grade: C

This is a grade on the trade itself.  Why?  I didn’t love Flip’s comments after the draft regarding the picks, his positioning or rationale on why they did what they did, etc.  I appreciate his candor, but his thoughts did nothing to improve my own opinion on what happened.  In fact, let’s get right into our picks …

#14 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA

Thoughts

The most polarizing player in the draft lands on the Wolves, of course he does.  I had Shabazz as my fourth option, ahead of CJ McCollum and any of the big men in the draft.  However, he was significantly behind the top three, and the list looked more like this:

  1. McLemore
  2. Oladipo
  3. KCP
  4. (Blank)
  5. (Blank)
  6. Muhammad

The biggest turnoff for me is not what he did, or did not do on the floor this past year.  It was more about the interviews I heard/watched.  If I could put my finger on it specifically, I would, but I can’t.  There was just “something” there.  It bothered me.  It still bothers me.

Grade: C

Perfectly “eh” of a pick.  I am certainly not excited about this selection, but it also could have been a lot worse, like the rumor that the front office was targeting Kelly Olynyk with this pick.  Thankfully, he was picked right before this and we never had a chance to select him.  I think something would have broken in my house.

#21 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Thoughts

The second of the Jazz picks and Flip was able to grab a defensive-minded Center to help plug the middle.  Quite honestly, this pick felt like a good pick and is exactly what we need – based on the assumption that Pekovic stays.  This also likely frees up some extra cap space by waiving Stiemsma.

Dieng has a long way to go in the league, but if he can contribute on the defensive end of the floor while learning an offensive move or two, this could be a very solid pick in the long term.  If Pekovic doesn’t return … well, we’ll have Stiemsma and Dieng to clog up the middle.  You know what, let’s not think about this and stick to the draft.

Grade: A-

There isn’t anyone selected after Dieng that I can point to and say, “we absolutely should have taken him over Dieng”.  That might say something about the draft, but he fills a need.

#26 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Andre Roberson, SF, Colorado

Thoughts

There was absolutely no way Roberson was sticking with the Wolves and the team having three rookie contracts on the books for this coming season.  Within seconds, we knew that Roberson was on his way to Golden State for a 2014 second round pick and … drumroll … cash!  It’s the annual tradition of selling picks for the Timberwolves!

Note that Roberson wound up on the move again, landing in OKC.

Grade: D

Here is where I am strategically placing my rant.  Skip ahead as you wish.  This is your last warning…

Every year this happens and every year I get aggravated.  As mentioned above, there is no way the Wolves were going to bring in a third rookie contract.  However, selling picks always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  It is nice to have a second round pick in next year’s draft, but someone please tell me they have full confidence in that panning out.

This pick, along with #9 and one of our “assets” (DWill, Barea, Ridnour, etc.) should have been used about two hours earlier and handed over to one of the teams in the top eight.  I would have been OK with Flip giving this pick with #9 and a second round choice just to Detroit to move up one spot and get KCP.  Add DWill to that and send it all to Sacramento for #7.  Sell the farm (this year’s draft picks) to get the one of the three guys you pined for … and needed.

#52 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Lorenzo Brown, PG, NC State

Thoughts

This pick was pretty shocking.  I thought for sure that this was going to be someone to store overseas for a few years.  Instead, another PG.  Here is all I needed to see about Brown, filed under “Weaknesses” on his NBA.com profile: “Not a great jump shooter” & “Has to convert at the rim more often”.  I’m sorry, but aren’t those our biggest weaknesses right now.  So much for A. plugging holes and B. not drafting a PG.

Grade: D

This team/roster has absolutely no room for another project PG.  I thought this was the worst pick/move of the night by the team.

#59 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Bojan Dubljevic, PF/C, Valencia BC (Spain)

Thoughts

This is what I was expecting earlier in the round.  Take a flyer on someone like this and hope you strike it rich in a few years.  Doogie has already reported that Bojan has no intention of coming to the States.  Perfect.  As an added bonus, he is from Montenegro and gives us more fluff to throw at Pekovic as he enters restricted free agency!

Grade: B

Again, this adds to the Wolves overseas stash and maybe we see him somewhere down the line.  If not, add him to the pile of Wolves’ picks that didn’t work out.  No harm, no foul at #59.

Overall Grade for Flip & the Timberwolves: C

I find myself right in the middle on this one.  By no stretch of the imagination, do I think Flip “won” on draft night.  However, he didn’t completely screw things up either.  This might be a problem in and of itself, when you feel like your team did OK, by not screwing up.

The draft’s results really change my opinion on what this team needs to do in free agency.  That’s a whole other topic to talk through under separate cover.  Here are my overall draft highlights and lowlights:

Draft Highlight

The fashion world.  I absolutely loved this year’s trend of having your college jersey sewn into the inside of the suit jacket.  I’m so excited about this, I might sew in a KG and Rubio jersey into one of my suits and have a formal evening on my trip to Minnesota in the fall.  (Note, I’m not actually doing this.  I just wanted to see how ridiculous it looks in writing.)  I mean, take a look at this suit and continue to wish that Ben McLemore was on the Wolves:

Check out my suit!

Check out my suit!

Draft Lowlight

The on-going Rivers vs. Simmons war of words.  All parties are to blame.  ESPN had Doc on for an interview and shamelessly goaded him into a response, asking him to provide some thoughts on what Simmons has publicly said about Doc quitting on the team.  Rivers’ response was equally awful, “I would like to call him an idiot but I’m too classy for that”.  Well, apparently you aren’t.

Things got worse later in the evening with Rivers’ oldest son taking to Twitter and trying to blast Simmons and ESPN.  My thought from draft night remains the same: sometimes I hate the Internet.  This needs to end, and it needs to end now.  Here’s the video of the interview during the draft:

What do you think of the Pups night?  Let us know in the comments below.