The MN Timberwolves waited longer than Perry Jones for their name to be called in the 2012 NBA draft last night and, yet, there they are among the winners. The point being that somebody (Houston) gave up a proven NBA contributors--a guy who has played as many as 22 minutes per game and scored 10 points per game while shooting 40 percent from 3 point range--for a #18 pick, which then fetched a 20-year old power forward "who disappeared for big stretches" as a college sophomore.
In other words, a guy who can and will play for the T-Wolves in 2012-2013 for a guy who wouldn't. Not bad.
The question, of course, is who is the fellow in question, Chase Budinger, going to take those 22 minutes from? The Wolves are said to be ready to dump Martell Webster, who in 2 years with the Wolves proved only that he is never going to be physically fit for NBA play. Shockingly, then, he actually played 24 minutes per game this past year, though only in 47 games. But there's Budinger's time, basically. Still, Budinger said he expects to start and the fact is it is hard to see him sharing the court with, say, Michael Beasley. More moves would seem to be in line.
Meanwhile, Back at the Draft
Meanwhile the draft provided enough surprises that Yahoo Sports took down and otherwise buried its mock draft at the 1st opportunity. They had Thomas Robinson at #2 (so did I) and he went at #5. They had Andre Drummond at #6 (I had him #5) and he went #9. They had Perry Jones at #15 (I had him at #9) and he fell all the way to #28.
On the plus side, they had Terrence Ross going to the T-Wolves (they never quite caught up to the Budinger trade) at #18. He went #8 instead. (I had Ross at #14). They had Dion Waiters at #11, and the Cleveland Cavs swooped in to grab him at #4. (I had him at #20. Ouch.) Both of us had Royce White at #23. Despite his widely publicized fear of flying, he moved up to #16.
But while Perry Jones was the draft's biggest loser, his team--the Oklahoma City Thunder--is one of the big winners. Imagine getting the 2nd best player in the draft, which some people said Jones is, at #28. And imagine being able to bring the guy along slowly under the wing of Kevin Durant. 5 years from now people will be saying, You got him at # what????
And it's likely they'll be saying the same thing, but for the opposite reason, about one of the following. I mean, there's always a draft bust and this year it will be Waiters (#4) or Harrison Barnes (#7) or Drummond (#9) or Meyers Leonard (#11) or White (#16) if he doesn't learn to love air travel.
Along with Jones, the biggest steal will come from among Jared Sullinger (#21) or Arnett Moultrie (#27). The same can be said of Sullinger as of Perry Jones. A year ago both were expected to go in the top 5 but neither came out. Now they're worse than #20? Were the scouts wrong last year or are they wrong now? It's obvious that somebody is/was wrong and it's not obvious they're not wrong now. If so, that makes the Boston Celtics, who picked Sullinger, winners in the 2012 draft, along with the 76ers, who picked Moultrie.
This most likely to be embarrassed include the Cavs (Waiters), the Warriors (Barnes), Detroit (Drummond), Portland (Leonard) and the Rockets (White). It will be interesting to see if #11 Leonard really proves to be better than #27 Moultrie.
Meanwhile, the Rockets stockpiled #14, #16 and #18 in hopes of moving up, then got stuck with those 3 mid-level picks, which they parlayed into Jeremy Lamb, White and Terence Jones. Surely one of them will prove to be a player? Please!
Finally the T-Wolves made a feel-good pick of Robbie Hummel, 6 year-man at Purdue due to persistent leg injuries, at #58. Good for Hummel, who is never ever going to play in the NBA.