Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NBA Draft Update

About five months ago I predicted that the Wolves might pick Kentucky center Enes Kanter with the 3rd or 4th pick in the NBA draft, or maybe they would trade down.

Then a couple months ago I said they would by Kyrie Irving with the 1st or trade the 2nd.

Apparently y'all prefer Kanter, or maybe you prefer the 3rd or 4th pick. Because that 1st post has remained among the most popular ever since and today it's the 2nd most popular post on this blog. The more recent blog has disappeared from view.

But now we know that the Wolves have the #2 pick. It ain't exactly #1 but it's the best pick the Wolves have ever had in the NBA lottery. And now that they have also signed the prodigal son, Ricky Rubio, to an NBA contract, well, they don't need Irving (a point guard) anyway. So who cares about some old #1 pick, we would be looking at taking Derrick Williams regardless. Meanwhile, don't worry, Cleveland is not gonna take Williams, they need a point guard almost as bad as we do and they haven't just signed any European phenoms.

Meanwhile, a bunch of guys who have been projected anywhere from #1 to #14 in the lottery have decided to stay in school--Jones, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes and more, making this a weak draft. Which, in turn, means that that #2 draft pick could be worth a lot, as in a veteran player of some kind who is ready to go now rather than another rookie, who like Rubio, will need a couple-three years seasoning while Kevin Love is in the prime of his NBA career. Maybe the Wolves should think about accelerating the growth curve a little bit. I don't know if spending most of one's existence in or near the cellar cultivates a little too much patience? Or a little too little? I guess we'll find out.

As to Irving, by the way, there are those who project the Cavs to take Williams with the #1. Who says David Kahn won't grab Irving? In a weak draft, he would be "the best athlete available." And having threatened to pair two 1s before--Rubio and Jonny Flynn--why not Rubio and Irving?

But that is the full extent of the options. Williams. Or Irving. Whichever the Cavs leave for us. Or trade it. My personal opinion is you trade it and Michael Beasley for a scorer with his head screwed on straight. Or you grab Irving and you trade Rubio for, er, a scorer with his head screwed on straight. If you gotta through Beasley into that deal (#2, Rubio and Beasley) to get the head screwed on straight part, well, then you consider doing that.

The Wolves, after all, are no longer the least talented team in the NBA as was the case 2 and 3 years ago. Now they are merely the team that gets the least mileage out of the talent they've got.

So here again are your options.

1) If Cleveland takes Irving: Trade #2 and Beasley for a 20 ppg scorer.
2) If Cleveland takes Williams: Take Irving and trade Rubio and Beasley for a 15 ppg scorer.
3) Or either way, just trade the whole mess of 'em, #2, Rubio and Beasley for a 7 assist guy.
4) Or either way, throw Kahn into the deal and get a GM who has HIS head screwed on straight.

The bottom line: No matter what happens with the draft, the Wolves are likely to be again next year the NBA team that gets the least mileage out of the talent it has and that's assuming a better coach than Kurt Rambis is named sometime before training camp opens up. I don't see Rubio or Williams upsetting the dysfunctional dynamic that has become the Wolves' newest curse. I'm sorry. I don't. Something more radical, along the lines of a male Maya Moore, is needed (think Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Duane Wade, LeBron James), and there just ain't one of those out there. The class of 2010 is a little light on saviors.

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