Turnovers Hurt; Wolves 82 vs Jazz 91 in Summer League Game 3

KAT dishes an amazing assist vs the Jazz

KAT dishes an amazing assist vs the Jazz

(Yes, it’s late and I hope this is a great way to fill in the gaps in
Wolves summer action.)

After watching game 3, I wanted to share my thoughts on games from
Vegas. Here’s main impressions and how they impact the upcoming 2015-
2016 NBA season.

Immediately, the announcers made it clear the Wolves are on the rise.
They pointed out it’s been 10 years of under .500 ball for Minnesota
and noted that should change with the recent additions.

O Strong!
The #SummerLeague is built to determine who fills out your roster. It
gives NBA teams a chance to give solid time to players who need
development and who may or may not be NBA ready. For Summer Wolves
guard Othyus Jeffers, this is another chance to show Minnesota he is
ready. Jeffers, or simply “0” (I was told that was his nickname when I
saw him play live in Des Moines with the Energy) joined the Wolves two
seasons ago (last year he played in the Philippine Basketball
In his return to the Wolves, he’s shows aggressiveness and hustle. I
don’t see him bringing the ball up the court, but his drive and effort
can give him a spot on the roster. Last year’s Wolves needed guards
and I see an opportunity for him.
O’s dilemma might be foul shots. During the first half of this game vs
the Jazz, O missed both foul shots (can’t call ’em free throws when
you miss ’em). The roster will be interesting to see develop. This
summer the foundation is set and roster spots will be hard to get for
some. I think O could make it and if not, he’s an injury away from
returning. He’s definitely shown me he’s on the cusp.

Towns Flying Around
In yet another game, Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) was chasing the ball. He was on the floor and hustling. When the season starts in October, I
hope the Wolves will let the Lexus Club members know to watch out!
Those seated in the first row will receive a visit from KAT.
A telling play was at the end of the game. With time expiring, Towns
asked for the ball. Lorenzo Brown drove to the hoop and was blocked.
The game is basically over, but Towns did NOT give up. He chased down
the ball and got a shot. It did not go in, but he took a shot. That’s
the hustle I love! That experience will pay off in the future.

Wiggins Layup!
Yes, there are two Wiggins’ in Vegas. Andrew Wiggins sat courtside
with Zach LaVine, General Manager Milt Newton and owner Glen Taylor & family while Nick Wiggins joined the Wolves wearing #6 and joined the Wolves’ summer roster. The first points of Wiggins’ Minnesota
thanks to Lorezno Brown. He, too, showed drive and made good on his
opportunity. I’m certain his bro was proud.

Payne Trying the Deep Ball
Adreian Payne banked one in & hit front rim on another. Has he done enough to start next season? Probably not, but he’s shown improvement, looked solid (against summer ballers), and has enough on tape to look create a summer to fall workout program.

Jones’ Passing Promise and D to Learn
Tyus Jones will be fun to watch on offense. His game shows the passing
flashes that will only develop as he gets to know his teammates. He
does chase on D and I know that the Wolves and Jones will be working
on that all summer into the fall. Jones will learn how to defend in
the NBA. It’s not easy to make the jump up a level. Summer League is
up one level and the NBA is another level.

Brown Belongs
Lorenzo Brown showed he’s the #1 guard on the Summer team. He looked
comfortable bringing the ball up the court and was a solid assist-man.
Simply said Brown belongs.

Okafor vs Towns
I’ve spent a lot of time on NBA TV and overheard an interesting
conversation about KAT. During the Bulls versus Phoenix broadcast,
ex-Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas was announcing and talking about his
thoughts on whom he’d choose #1 overall. He admitted knowing Jahlil
Okafor‘s family, then said he understood the Wolves’ choice because of
how their pick would need to fit with LaVine and Wiggins. He liked
Towns, but said that Okafor’s talents make him an 8- to 10-year-All-
Star barring injury. That’s high praise. Only time will tell, but I
can’t imagine not having Towns in a Wolves jersey.

Next, Summer League Game 4.

The Lynx are Not On, What Is?

Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx Drives against the Chicago Sky

Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx Drives against the Chicago Sky

It’s 3:30 pm Central on a Sunday. The Minnesota Lynx just tipped in Tulsa versus the Shock. Both teams are solid in the West and well, Sunday at 3 is the NFL’s big time slot.

So what channel is showing the WNBA?

FSN is showing the Twins. I get it.
CBS is showing the Shark Rocket? Well, they don’t have a contract with the NBA & WNBA. I get it.
Surely, it’s on NBC. Nope. NBC and ABC are showing golf.
Fox Sports 1 is showing Trinidad & Tabago vs Panama. They are pursuing the world game.
ESPN is rerunning the Home Run Derby. Come on, ESPN? That’s disappointing. If people love baseball, games are on today. Those fans are already busy watching baseball.
ESPN2 is showing the Pan America games and MLS Soccer. Those are happening now and it makes sense.
What about NBC Sports? Showing NASCAR.

After all that, surely NBA TV is on it. After all, the best way to expand the footprint of “the Association” is to support a league for women.

Nope, NBA TV is showing After Dark with Rick Fox. That’s in case you missed it earlier this week and forgot to set your DVR.

Somehow the Lynx and Shock are not on TV at all. Ugh. How is this possible? They are obviously not buried on a busy sports day.

Right now, I’m disappointed that the NBA & ESPN aren’t using this day to plug their interests in women’s basketball. Since some fans are not watching Major League Baseball, they are missing an opportunity. Not so much today, but they should be showing it thinking of tomorrow.

Nemanja Bjelica: Not Just Another Rookie

Nemanja Bjelica posing with Lazar Hayward and Wesley Johnson at the Timberwolves 2010 post draft press conference. Bjelica then opted to stay in Europe, where he won the Euroleague MVP last season. (Source: Jordan Johnson/NBAE)

Nemanja Bjelica posing with Lazar Hayward and Wesley Johnson at the Timberwolves 2010 post draft press conference. Bjelica then opted to stay in Europe, where he won the Euroleague MVP last season. (Source: Jordan Johnson/NBAE)

Serbian prospect Nemanja Bjelica is expected to sign a 3 year, $11.7 million dollar deal with the Wolves (first reported by Jon Krawczynski) in the coming days.

Wait, what? Who?

Unless Tanguy Ngombo ever comes over from Qatar to the states (he won’t), Bjelica will be the final player acquired by infamous GM David Kahn to come to the Wolves. In the 2010 NBA draft, Kahn dealt the 23rd and 56th picks (Trevor Booker and Hamady N’Diaye) to Washington for the 30th and 35th picks (Lazar Hayward and Nemanja Bjelica). Now, 5 years later, Bjelica will be arriving to a nearly entirely different roster. In fact, the only remaining player  from the 2010-2011 season is Nikola Pekovic.

Nemanja Bjelica (pronounced nay-MON-yah bee-ELL-leets-zah) is a 6’10” versatile forward that could pretty much do it all in Europe. Over the last several years Bjelica has grown from a little known prospect to a European superstar.

This past season for Turkish squad Fenerbahce Ulker, Bjelica posted the best season of his career. In 29 Euroleague (the basketball equivalent of the UEFA Champions league) appearances, Bjelica finished in the top 10 among all players in points, rebounds, steals, free throws made, and free throws made and attempted. Bjelica took home the Euroleague MVP and led Fenerbahce to its first ever Euroleague Final 4.

In Europe, Bjelica could do it all. Besides leading his team in the post, he has a proven jump shot, and an all-around game to match. As the video below proves, Bjelica is no stranger to highlight dunks, chase down blocks, pretty passes, and game winning drives.

Although Bjelica won’t start for the Wolves, he should be able to find around 10-20 minutes a game off the bench, even with the bench unit being log-jammed at the forward positions.

The next chance for Wolves fans to see Bjelica in action will be in September, when he suits up for the Serbian national team at Eurobasket. For now, however, the only way to satisfy your Bjelica craving is with youtube highlight videos and your imagination.



Wolves’ Shot is Off vs Bulls in #SummerLeague Game 2 (71-84)


Reggie is enthralled with John

Reggie is enthralled with John

Tonight the Bulls simply shot better & boarded better (32% shooting by
MN). The ball movement wasn’t the same for the Wolves. The shot
wasn’t dropping, especially for Zach LaVine until a couple threes in the
mid-4th (even his last shot after the buzzer hit rim & bounced out).
But, this isn’t about wins or losses, so let’s talk about the individual performances.

Watch Out!
It’s clear to me after two Summer League games that if you’re a
Timberwolves player, you’d better keep your head on the swivel and
drive to the hoop. Again tonight Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) was passing the ball well including an over the head, no-look style pass. I saw it yesterday and wondered if this was a trend or not. It is! So between Ricky Rubio and Towns, watch out! #BallsComing!

KAT Hustle
Karl-Anthony Towns will hustle. He was chasing down ball last night
and tonight he did it again. During the 1st quarter he chased a ball
that the didn’t have to chase. My worry was that he’d crash into the
seats. He did not. He is working hard and really does hustle. Be ready
for that effort to translate into blocks. He is fun to watch.#KATlikeMoves

One Hand is Plenty
Watch KAT closely. On one play, he got his arm in there to tap up a
rebound. Now, it did not go in, but I was surprised he even got to it.
I love to see that and I predict that you will see it again and one of
those plays will be an #SCTop10. He finds the ball.

Jones Most Improved
In the NCAAs, Tyus Jones earned the Most Outstanding Player. He got his first taste of the NBA last night. Tonight, he started and he played
much better. He took charges, stole the ball, and had great assists.
Most of the time, he seemed to bring the ball up to LaVine. He also
had a couple #And1 drives. He seems to love the ‘oop and I know Target
Center will love him for that. He looked most improved from game 1 to
game 2. Be ready for skyball starting in the Fall. #EyesOnTheRise

More Payne
#33 Adreian Payne brought it again. Especially early, he was looking solid again and he’s also on the receiving end of the great passes by KAT and Jones. He almost seems energized by what’s going on with this club. Announcer Reggie Miller liked him and harkened back to his days at Michigan State. He’s hitting threes in Vegas which is going to make him tough to manage if he keeps it going on.

Loving John Malkovich
The upside of watching the Summer League on NBATV tonight was the
amazing conversation between Reggie Miller and John Malkovich. Reggie was enthralled. Surprise, surprise! John is a huge hoops fan. He
explained he was at last night’s games to watch Willie Cauley-Stein
(of the Sacramento Kings). Watching Reggie and John talk hoops was
amazing. John spoke well and with dramatic pauses. Reggie didn’t mind
for a moment. In fact, John asked Reggie a question. He wanted to know
what he thought of Jonathan Simmons (Spurs). Reggie was impressed.

That’s my take. What did you see?

Wolves Impressive vs ‘Hometown’ Lakers in Vegas


It’s interesting to watch pro-Laker, I mean, NBA TV’s Summer League broadcast. The crowd in Las Vegas was not surprisingly pro-Laker.
Reggie Miller was also pro-Laker. But even in that, you listen to the commentators and you get a point of view on the Wolves that you won’t hear in Minnesota.

After watching the game, here’s my thoughts on the 81-68 Summer League game win on 10 July, 2015 versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

For Towns, he looked solid.
Biggest surprise? Easily Payne who looked solid. His deeper jumper dropped (though he should refrain on 3s with this squad).

Passing Improved!
The Wolves’ passing will be dramatically improved. Surprisingly, it won’t be Jones. Towns will be a major reason. Towns had a couple sweet passes during the game and you will see that only improve as he learns where and how his teammates like the ball. He will make everyone better and in this Summer League, he found different guys.

Reggie Miller reminded those listening that it will “look very nice” for Coach Flip Saunders.

D Up!
It didn’t take long to see Towns is a defensive addition. On one play he chased the Laker to the three-point line and contested the shot. As soon as the shot went up, he turned around and moved to collect the rebound. That was impressive! I expect we shall see that often in

LaVine at Point?
When Tyus was snagged from Cleveland, I was thinking that ended LaVine as a point guard. I’d love for him to use his skills to become a Corey Brewer style threat in the NBA. He did play point tonight and I’m hoping to see less and less of that as he’s better receiving the ball and using his athleticism.

Sam Mitchell pointed out the biggest upside on this squad, when he let NBA TV announcers know that the Wolves can attack teams in different ways.

For Wolves fans, the greatest part was the 4th quarter. Minnesota put LA away handily and showed good passing in the win. This was a great follow up to an amazing scrimmage at Target Center just two days ago.

Timberwolves Summer League Preview

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced their Las Vegas NBA Summer League roster this week.  (Photo credit: NBA.com)

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced their Las Vegas NBA Summer League roster this week. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

The Timberwolves released their Las Vegas Summer League roster on Monday, full of some familiar names and sprinkled with several newbies.  Take a look at the roster itself:

Timberwolves Summer League Roster 2015 (Photo credit: Timberwolves.com)

Timberwolves Summer League Roster 2015 (Photo credit: Timberwolves.com)

As you may remember, a number of these players were on last year’s roster as well – Lorenzo Brown, Brady Heslip, Othyus Jeffers – as they look to catch on with the Timberwolves or another team around the league.  That isn’t going to be the focus though for many Pups fans, who will naturally have their eyes on this year’s draft picks, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones.  Look for both players to carve out a good amount of PT under Head Coach Ryan Saunders in Las Vegas.

Somewhat conspicuous by their absence, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, and Shabazz Muhammad will all be in Las Vegas with the team but aren’t expected to play in Summer League, per Timberwolves.com.  While it isn’t normally the case for players in their third year or beyond in the NBA to play in Summer League, it was an interesting call-out on the press release that further pushes the #EyesOnTheRise.

The Wolves will play a minimum of five games in the Las Vegas tournament, with the first three already scheduled:

  1. July 10 vs. Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas & Mack Center, 8:30pm CT
  2. July 11 vs. Chicago Bulls, Thomas & Mack Center, 5:30pm CT
  3. July 13 vs. Utah Jazz, Thomas & Mack Center, 9:30pm CT

Similar to last year’s Summer League preview, let’s take a deeper look at a couple players on the roster …

All Eyes On:

Karl-Anthony Towns – naturally.  For the first time in team history, the Wolves were able to draft the best player at the top of the draft.  Towns has the potential to be a cornerstone for this franchise for the next decade and it all starts later this week in Las Vegas!

Intrigued By:

Adreian Payne – I still don’t see why expectations are so high for Payne given last season’s results.  Can he be a solid contributor?  I think so.  Is he a 30+ minute player that is going to average a double-double?  I don’t think so but there are clearly many fans that have something similar to this in their heads when discussing Payne’s future with the Wolves.

What do you think Wolves’ fans?  What are you looking forward to seeing the most when the Pups hit the court in Las Vegas?

Good luck and good health to the Timberwolves over the next few weeks in Summer League play!


The Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Draft Grade …

Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones join a young, promising Timberwolves franchise that finally looks to be making the right moves.  (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones join a young, promising Timberwolves franchise that finally looks to be making the right moves. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)


The draft history of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been, frankly, god awful since its inception.  With the exclusion of less than a handful of B+ or greater picks, the Timberwolves have been a trainwreck on draft night more often than not.  For the first time since the Internet has been commonplace, I am looking at an “A” draft grade for Flip Saunders and the Pups.  I’m still not truly sure I believe it …

For the first time in franchise history, the Wolves held the first pick in the NBA Draft.  “Times, they are a changing” my friends.  With Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio already in the fold, along with the potential of Zach LaVine and veteran leadership of Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders and crew made the obvious choice (at least to me) to kick off the Draft with the selection of Kentucky Freshman, Karl-Anthony Towns.  

A smooth, two way player that can play in the post, step out of the paint to hit a jumper, and play upper-echelon defense.  The pairing of Towns and Wiggins gives the Wolves a potential one-two punch that could pull this franchise out of the woods. For all intents and purposes, Towns is a good guy – he is well spoken and has nothing on his resume that suggests he will fall under the “knucklehead” category that the Wolves have drafted many times over in the past.

When I heard/read that Flip was in love with Jahlil Okafor several weeks ago, I really wanted to blow a gasket.  When I found out Okafor was represented by agent Bill Duffy, my head was going to explode.  Duffy represents or has represented approximately 356 players that have suited up for the Wolves over the past 25 seasons.  (There is no truth to that number, but it feels like it is in the vicinity.) However, the team worked out both players and must have realized what they could be getting with Towns and ultimately made the right decision.  All Towns has to do now is come to Minnesota, show fans he wants to be here and care.  Oh wait, he is already doing all of that …

The draft history of our Pups also includes a tremendous amount of selling picks for “future assets” and cash.  Those “future assets” typically became cash in a subsequent move.  This time, the Wolves took their two second round picks (#31 and #35) along with a future second round pick, and traded them to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the #24 pick, PG Tyus Jones.

Jones played one season for Duke and was a pivotal player for the Blue Devils in their NCAA Championship run.  He also plays a position the Wolves desperately needed to upgrade, (backup) PG.  The Wolves have a potential star in Ricky Rubio, but I don’t see his ceiling as high as it once was, and there is a chance that Rubio can’t stay healthy … or at the very least, be counted on to play 40 minutes per game.

Jones is a hometown kid that grew up cheering for the Wolves.  He now gets to sit in the locker room with KG, who was playing for the Wolves before Jones (or Towns) were even born.  That’s absolutely crazy to me.

While I would normally berate the organization for trading away second round picks, this is the first time in quite some time, the team used them to move up in the draft and make an immediate improvement.  With so many kids on the roster already, there simply wasn’t going to be room to draft one or two players in the second round and etch out playing time for them.

Overall, the Wolves get an “A” from me for this year’s draft results.  “Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?”

2015 NBA Mock Draft

This year’s draft has average potential start power, but lots of depth and a number of question marks. Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell headline the draft as three of the best freshmen from last year’s NCAA season. Next, Kristaps Porzingis, Mario Hezonja, and Emmanuel Mudiay are international players with huge potential creeping into the top 5 and even possibly the top 3. After those top six, the draft opens up immensely. There are strong wings like Justice Winslow, Stanley Johnson, and Sam Dekker, sharpshooters like Devin Booker and Rashad Vaughn, and too many talented big men to count. In addition, the point guard crop has a very diverse set of strengths and weaknesses, as a lot of them look to be slotted for the back end of the first round. That will be an interesting dynamic to pay attention to, as we saw many playoff teams in need of point guard depth. Finally, we are already hearing a lot of rumors about potential trades and pick swapping at the top, so I am sure the next few days leading up to the draft will be almost as exciting as the draft itself.


  1. Minnesota Karl-Anthony Towns C Kentucky Fr. 7-0 / 250

Analysis: Minnesota seems to be intent on taking Karl-Anthony Towns. Despite the logjam in the frontcourt for Minnesota, KAT is the best prospect on the board and offers more versatility than Jahlil Okafor. He can score facing the basket, score with his back to the basket, and is great at moving within an offense. It would be a big surprise if Towns was not called first by Minnesota on draft day.

  2. LA Lakers Jahlil Okafor C Duke Fr. 6-11 / 270

Analysis: With Towns off the board, the Lakers receive a very solid consolation prize in Jahlil Okafor. Los Angeles has lacked a big man presence of a true big man since Andrew Bynum, and Okafor looks to be the answer. Despite the fact that the Lakers have been fairly ambiguous about this pick and worked out a number of other top prospects, Okafor should be a no-brainer.

  3. Philadelphia Kristaps Porzingis PF Latvia Intl. 7-1 / 220

Analysis: With how much Kristaps Porzingis’ stock has risen, the Latvian has to be glad he pulled his name out of the 2014 draft and waited one more year. Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkle has already shown interest in Porzingas, as Philadelphia was one of two teams that asked him to keep his name in the hat for last year’s draft. Furthermore, the 76ers need this type of game changer for their organization. After everything that has happened the last three years, Hinkle will swing for the fences on Porzingis and hope that Dario Saric, a 2014 first round pick who stayed in Europe last season, is ready to come over soon to create a formidable front court pairing.

  4. New York D’Angelo Russell PG Ohio State Fr. 6-4 / 195

Analysis: New York will be excited to see Russell fall into their lap. He is the kind of floor general that this team needs. While he is not an exceptional athlete, his game has no glaring weaknesses. Russell is an unselfish player who wants to get better and is someone the Knicks can immediately plug into their starting line up.

  5. Orlando Willie Cauley-Stein C Kentucky Jr. 7-0 / 242

Analysis: Willie Cauley-Stein is a dynamic defender who is capable of playing either the 4 or 5, especially when paired with a offensive-minded guy like Nikola Vucevic. Cauley-Stein makes sense here because the Magic need more of a frontcourt presence to support an already athletic backcourt. This addition might be the one that helps push Orlando over the hump in their transition from a team consistently in the lottery to one that is competing for a playoff spot.

  6. Sacramento Emmanuel Mudiay PG Congo Intl. 6-5 / 190

Analysis: Emmanuel Mudiay was once thought to be the top pick in this year’s draft but after spending the last year playing in China, he has fallen out of the top five. Mudiay is still capable of making a big difference for a team in need of a point guard. While Sacramento has serviceable point guards on its roster, none of the team’s other options can match his star power. Mudiay’s size, athleticism, and potential will make the Kings very happy he slipped to them at 6.

  7. Denver Mario Hezonja SF Croatia Intl. 6-8 / 215

Analysis: The Nuggets could go in a lot of directions at this point and there are safer wing players still on the board, but expect them to take this opportunity to draft a higher-upside player from overseas. Hezonja will bring them tremendous athleticism, size and poise. He will take some time to adjust to the NBA game as his decision-making and maturity are currently considered his greatest weaknesses, but Denver would be a good place for him to develop as the Nuggets are not in a hurry to return to Western conference contention. Hezonja could be a project that pays off in 2-3 years.

  8. Detroit Justise Winslow SG/SF Duke Fr. 6-6 / 222

Analysis: The Pistons will be pleased to see Justice Winslow fall to them at No. 8. Detroit lacks a superior defender on the wing to lock guys down and can also create on offense. With Caron Butler traded, the SF position is wide-open for a guy like Winslow to step in on day one. He is hard worker who made huge strides in one year at Duke.The transition to the pros will also be better for him under another high intensity coach like Stan Van Gundy.

  9. Charlotte Stanley Johnson SG/SF Arizona Fr. 6-6 / 242

Analysis: The Lance Stephenson experiment has come and gone, leaving Charlotte once again with a hole at the shooting guard position. Stanley Johnson is another great athlete and superior defender to plug in next to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and he’ll be able to play off Kemba Walker. At Arizona, Johnson was the kind of guy that filled the stat sheet, but also proved he can be a solid shooter. This pick not only covers a need for the Hornets, but also gives them great value.

  10. Miami Devin Booker SG Kentucky Fr. 6-6 / 205

Analysis: After losing LeBron James in free agency, the misfortune continued for the Miami Heat when the team was hit with a string of injuries. Chris Bosh should return to form and Hassan Whiteside burst onto the scene to strengthen their frontcourt. Unfortunately, contract talks with Dwayne Wade are not going well, so it may be time to draft a shooting guard or swing man to replace him. Devin Booker fits the bill, as he is a bigger guard who can help cure the Heat’s three-point shooting woes. Ideally, Booker will learn from one of the great shooting guards in the game in Wade, before eventually stepping in to replace him.

  11. Indiana Cameron Payne PG Murray St. So. 6-2 / 185

Analysis: Indiana suffered the unfortunate fate of losing its best player, Paul George, for the majority of last season. Hopefully, George will be fully recovered and back to form next year. This Pacers team still has the key pieces to contend now if they want to take another run at the title. But they will need to strengthen their backcourt if they want to truly be considered contenders, and with Winslow, Johnson and Booker coming off the board in the previous three picks, Murray State’s Cameron Payne will be the best player left who fits what the Pacers are looking for. This will work well, as Payne is a dynamic point guard who played at an exceptional level despite facing mid-major opponents most of the time. If he can adjust to the tougher level of competition, he’ll be a great fit for the Pacers.

  12. Utah Myles Turner C Texas Fr. 6-11 / 240

Analysis: Myles Turner has looked great in his pre-draft workouts, moving him up the draft board and bypassing a few similar prospects. Utah could use a big man with his upside to fill in as a back-up to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. In his one year at Texas, Turner showed he was versatile playing inside-out, but he will still require some development from the mental aspect of the game. The Jazz liked what they saw in Turner during his workout and the former Longhorn could fill the hole left by Enes Kanter.

  13. Phoenix Frank Kaminsky C Wisconsin Sr. 7-1 / 230

Analysis: Frank Kaminsky is a player who can come in and contribute on the offense right away. This pick might seem odd, as the Suns already have a talented young center in Alex Len, but he’s been hampered at times with injuries. In addition, trading Miles Plumlee left the Suns shorthanded in the frontcourt. Kaminsky would be able to fill this void and his shooting ability makes him ideal for running pick and rolls with guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe.

  14. Oklahoma City Kelly Oubre SG/SF Kansas Fr. 6-7 / 205

Analysis: Kelly Oubre is one of the biggest mysteries in the lottery. He came on strong for Kansas last year in conference play and stepped up when teammates went down with injuries. Meanwhile, the Thunder have done very little to bolster their backcourt over the last few years. Hopefully, he won’t be thrust into a big role too quickly with, but a year playing on the same team as Kevin Durant will hopefully help his development and regardless of whether Durant decides to stay or go, Oubre can eventually step in and contribute.

  15. Atlanta Trey Lyles PF Kentucky Fr. 6-10 / 240

Analysis: Trey Lyles took one for the Kentucky team this year by stepping back and allowing others to be primary contributers. He was not able to showcase his full repetoire, but over the last few weeks of workouts, he sparked the interest of several teams who are now considering picking him. With Paul Millsap’s future in question and a lack of frontcourt depth, Lyles is the smart pick especially if he falls all the way to 15. It would not be surprising though to see a team trade up to get him.

  16. Boston Sam Dekker SF Wisconsin Jr. 6-9 / 220

Analysis: In Sam Dekker, Boston would be picking up a well-rounded swing man to bring together their squad. Jae Crowder and Evan Turner both stepped in admirably for the Celtics and helped lead them to the playoffs, but Dekker is a more polished and dynamic scoring threat than both of them, and could be the glue that ties together this team’s solid crop of guards and big men. Despite not having as high of a ceiling as some of the other swing men taken at this point, Dekker is an exceptionally hard worker who will thrive under Brad Stevens’ tutelage.

  17. Milwaukee Bobby Portis PF Arkansas So. 6-11 / 245

Analysis: Milwaukee can go a lot of different directions with this pick as they have a very solid core of young players to build around. Although shooting is one of their biggest weaknesses, bolstering their frontcourt is also high on the team’s offseason priority list. With only a handful of guards left with mid-first round grades, they will try to draft an offensive big man. They’ll go with Portis because he has greater size and a more polished game than many of the other big men available at this pick. So expect the Bucks to address this need if there are no sharpshooting swing men available.

  18. Houston Jerian Grant PG Notre Dame Sr. 6-4 / 200

Analysis: Houston desperately needed a point guard toward the end of last year. Although Harden can do it all in the backcourt, having a guy who can matchup well defensively, hit the open three, and be a floor general when Harden is on the bench, could help them push for the Western Conference championship again. Patrick Beverley’s future is uncertain, so Grant will help to shore up their point guard issues.

  19. Washington Kevon Looney PF UCLA Fr. 6-9 / 222

Analysis: Kevon Looney is another interesting first round prospect. While he had some huge games as a Bruin this past year, there were also times he looked lost in his first year at the college level and his team flew under the radar until March. Regardless, he has an immense amount of athleticism and has shown he’s a versatile stretch-4 type on the offensive side and a solid rebounder. While his decision-making still lags, this pick by Washington will strengthen its frontcourt as Nene and Marcin Gortat continue to age. Looney won’t be under pressure to contribute right away and instead will be allowed to develop and adjust to the NBA.

  20. Toronto Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF Arizona So. 6-7 / 210

Analysis: Toronto found itself in many high-scoring games last season, finishing fourth in the league in scoring while in the bottom third in points allowed. The Raptors have some dynamic offensive players, but lack a true lock down guy on defense. In two years at Arizona, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson proved he can guard any position on the floor. At the NBA level, he can guard four different positions. His offensive game still has a ways to go, but with his work ethic and athleticism, that facet of his game should come around with time.

  21. Dallas Tyus Jones PG Duke Fr. 6-1 / 185

Analysis: The Dallas Mavericks are in desperate need of a point guard. The Mavericks tried addresing this issue by trading several of their bench contributers for Rajon Rondo but the result was not as positive as expected. Instead, a patchwork group of point guards put together a valiant effort, but this team was carried by Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis, and not much else. Tyus Jones will not be an immediate starter, but he can provide a spark from the bench from day one. He is a high intensity player that loves lowering his shoulder in the paint and making big jumpshots. Jones can definitely help re-invigorate the Mavericks backcourt before their championship window closes.

  22. Chicago Delon Wright PG/SG Utah Sr. 6-5 / 180

Analysis: In Delon Wright, Chicago will find a multi-guard asset who can play alongside Rose and step up as the point guard when the former MVP needs a breather. With Rose’s injury history, filling up the Bull’s backcourt is always a smart move, whether it’s just to let him rest or to fill in for a longer stretch games. Wright is one of the oldest players projected in the first round as he stayed at Utah for four years. In his senior campaign, he led Utah to a Sweet 16 berth before eventually losing to Duke. Wright can contribute in every aspect of the game as he led his team in almost all statistical categories.

  23. Portland Montrezl Harrell PF Louisville Jr. 6-8 / 255

Analysis: It seems like Montrezl Harrell could have come out each of the past two years and been a first round pick, but instead, he has twice gone back to college and improved his game. Louisville did not have its typical regular season success in it’s first season as part of the ACC, so a lot of what he did went unnoticed. But during the NCAA tournament, Harrell’s attitude and intensity were on display and it paid off with a trip to the Elite Eight. The Trail Blazers do not know what the future holds for current big man LaMarcus Aldridge, but adding a high motor guy like Harrell will help them immiediately on both ends of the floor.

  24. Cleveland Justin Anderson SF Virginia Jr. 6-6 / 230

Analysis: After drafting former Virginia Cavalier Joe Harris last year, it would not be surprising if the Cleveland Cavaliers took another this year in Justin Anderson. Most of the questions regarding Cleveland’s offseason will be directed at the Kevin Love situation, but also very important will be the situations with Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. If Anderson goes to the Cavaliers, one or both of those guys will be expendable. Anderson will be a younger, cheaper version of them, and with lots to prove. It helps that his three-and-D style of play is very conducive to playing alongside LeBron James.

  25. Memphis Rashad Vaughn SG UNLV Fr. 6-5 / 200

Analysis: The Memphis Grizzlies have been near the top of the West for several years now. They need reinforcements at the shooting guard and small forward positions assuming they are able to re-sign their top priority, Marc Gasol. Rashad Vaughn declared after a great freshmen year that was cut short by a knee injury. All signs are the knee is healed and had that injury not occured, he would have been selected even higher in the first round. Regardless, this could be a steal for the Grizzlies, as Vaughn was putting up numbers on par with some of the top freshmen in the country until his injury. More importantly, Vaughn is a pure scorer, which the Grizzlies will need if they want to continue to compete in the West.

  26. San Antonio Guillermo Hernangomez PF/C Spain Intl. 6-11 / 250

Analysis: When was the last time two international players were drafted in the same first round from the same international team? Hernangomez along with his teammate Kristaps Porzingis put together some great wins for CB Sevilla. Hernangomez is not as likely to come straight over to the league, despite being 21 already, but his post skills and defensive presence are already very well developed and he could eventually be a steal for the San Antonio Spurs, who are nearing a changing of the guard.

  27. LA Lakers RJ Hunter SG Georgia St. Jr. 6-6 / 185

Analysis: The Lakers acquired this second first round pick by taking on Jeremy Lin and his salary. They must be very happy they did after missing Kobe Bryant and their first round pick, Julius Randle, all season long. Now that both of those players are back and they have already selected high in the draft, expect them to take a safer pick later in the draft that can fill in as a role player. RJ Hunter’s name was not known by many until he hit his buzzer beater in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, but he has been a big time scorer for Georgia State the last three years. He also played point guard most of the time, so he has the ability to distribute the ball and lead an offense. Hunter would be a great value pick for the Lakers as the first round winds down.

  28. Boston Chris McCullough PF Syracuse Fr. 6-9 / 200

Analysis: McCollough was questioned by many when he decided to come out after a disappointing freshman year that saw him start slow before tearing his ACL. He has the talent to be future NBA player, but given his injury and lack of experience at the college level, it will take some time for him to unlock his potential. The Celtics have loaded up on young talent at the frontcourt positions, so this is an insurance pick that will hopefully pay dividends in the years to come.

  29. Brooklyn Christian Wood PF UNLV So. 6-10 / 215

Analysis: Christian Wood could be the second player from UNLV to be selected in the first round. Wood has a great face-up game and good rebounding skills. He needs to put on weight, but when he does, he could be a great rotational player for a team like the Nets. Brooklyn has a lot of question marks surrounding their frontcourt particularly with Brook Lopez about to hit free agency, but Wood could help steady any changeover that occurs with his elite height, wingspan, and jumping ability.

  30. Golden St. Terry Rozier PG Louisville So. 6-2 / 190

Analysis: Terry Rozier’s competitiveness is on a whole different level. Rozier wants to win and gives his all to achieve it day-in and day-out. Watch any game film of Louisville over the last two years, and he can be seen wreaking havoc with his quickness and grit. Sometimes his intensity leads to him playing out of control, but that can be worked on in the NBA. He would be a perfect fit for the Warriors run-and-gun playing style, looking to reload for another title run.

Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor – A Timberwolves’ Quandary

towns and okafor

After being awarded the number 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have quite a decision on their hands. With two prized big men at the top of the draft, the Timberwolves will need to ultimately decide who they like more between Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.

The Candidates


Karl-Anthony Towns

School: Kentucky
Year: Freshman
Age: 19
Born: November 15, 1995
Position: PF/C
Height: 6’11”
Weight: 255
Wingspan: 7’4″
From: Metuchen, NJ

Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor

School: Duke
Year: Freshman
Age: 19
Born: December 15, 1995
Position: C
Height: 6’11”
Weight: 270
Wingspan: 7’5″
From: Chicago, IL [Read more…]

Finally #1! Joey’s Curse Ends

Wolves Lottery Party

Wolves Lottery Party

It finally happened! After years of being in the mix, the Wolves finally had the ping-pong balls bounce their way. I joined the fans at Target Center to witness the event with the Wolves and Wolves fans. What a night! The entire time, I had one question in mind. It wasn’t Okafor or Towns.

The real question of the night was would the curse of Joey Two-Step continue?

Because the Wolves seem somehow cursed (with the key exception being KG), I was secretly rooting for the #2 spot. Why? Well, #1 is great, but being #2 means you take the best you can and if you pull a Greg Oden, it’s not your fault.

Don’t be confused. #1 is great. #1 is a dream come true. But I was mentally ready for #2.

Instead, the NBA Lottery balls bounced perfectly.
To those who hate tankers, non-congrats to the Sixers who tanked the entire season and were NOT rewarded. Not only did their position not improve, but the other picks that could have gone their way (they could have received LA’s due to Steve Nash and Miami’s picks due to Thaddeus Young), did not. #Karma #DontLoseOnPurpose

To those who think the NBA is rigged and therefore New York or LA would win the lottery, a small-market team won. #SmallWins!

To those worried about the cursed Wolves, it ended! #CurseLifted?

Did the Mayo Center heal the Wolves’ wounds? If they can claim that, there should be a line outside the door for eternity. From now until June 25th, Wolves fans can revel in owning their destiny. No one can take their guy. They choose their own destiny.

PS For more about Joey and a great story about the man who’s been there since day 1, read on about Jeff Munneke and the curse here.