Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Time for Part IV of the Mock Drafts 'Around the Net' series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
This series is basically a look at some Mock Drafts on the Internet and who they have the Wolves selecting in the first round. The Wolves also own the 52nd & 58th picks in the second round, but we won't go further into those as those picks are basically a 'crap shoot' at this time.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the likeliest target for the Timberwolves if they stay put at #9. At #9, it's almost a certainty that both Victor Oladipo & Ben McLemore will be off the 'board'. KCP is the next best two-guard. Flip has made it clear that he wants a two-guard with size who can knock down open shots. Last year he had a breakout season for Georgia. For the Timberwolves he would likely get a chance to start alongside Rubio in the backcourt, if not he could also be a valuable sixth man off the bench--someone who could provide the scoring in the second unit.
Rudy Gobert: If Rudy is available at #26, I sincerely hope the Wolves take him. At 7'2" with a 7'8" wingspan and plenty of athleticism he already possesses the physical tools. After his workout in Minnesota last week, Flip said that Gobert is definitely a project player that's at least 2-3 years from being a contributor in this League. Waive Greg Stiemsma, resign Pekovic and work tirelessly with Gobert, who can begin his NBA career as a backup center (can't be any worse than Stiemer...right?). Here's hoping he's less Hasheem Thabeet and more Roy Hibbert in 2-3 years...
Shabazz Muhammad: Muhammad is a very skilled scorer and it's no secret that the Wolves are in dire need of big wings that can shoot the ball. Shabazz, if drafted by the Wolves would likely find his minutes at shooting guard. There are many questions surrounding Muhammad, including his effort on defense. He's been pegged as selfish and having a bad attitude. During his pre-draft workouts he has made it a point to try and squash those rumors. With a 6'11" wingspan, he has the ability to be a great perimeter defender. Scorers aren't always easy to come by. I'll hate if we draft Muhammad and he becomes Wes Johnson 2.0 AND I'll hate it if we don't draft him and he becomes another Paul George/Kawhi Leonard.
Jeff Withey: Another center prospect that will be 'in play' for the Wolves at #26. Unlike Gobert, Withey has a bit more muscle and strength. At 7'1" he's a definite lane clogger who is known primarily as a rim protector/shot blocker. At 23, he's a bit older than most prospects and that may instantly turn some teams off on him. If centers like Gobert, Dieng, Adams, Olynkyk & Nogueira are off the board (it's highly unlikely they all will be) Withey isn't a bad choice. I've got him as the 6th best center in the Draft: 1.) Nerlens Noel; 2.) Alex Len; 3.) Cody Zeller; 4.) Kelly Olynyk; 5.) Gorgui Dieng; with the 7th being Rudy Gobert. Those rankings are based on skill and not the order that I think they'll be drafted in. Withey is a talented shot-blocker and rebounder. If he was playing behind Nikola Pekovic, that could maybe help round out his offensive game.
Tony Mitchell is a combo forward whose main skills are his rebounding and shot blocking--that's thanks to his 7'3" wingspan. Mitchell had a 'down' year this past season at North Texas with nearly every facet of his game and that obviously doesn't help his draft stock. He'll either get drafted too high and be a big bust or he'll slip in the draft, going to a team late in the first round and make them look very smart. Mitchell's offensive game is limited and he doesn't have a go-to move in the paint. Mitchell has a lot of work to do to carve out a role in the NBA.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Sergey Karasev: A Russian swingman with a nice shooting stroke, Sergey is rumored to have a promise somewhere in the first round of the Draft. Chad Ford says he's in play for the Wolves at #9 (but don't worry he didn't get a promise from Minny). Earlier this offseason there were mock drafts that had the Wolves taking him at #26. His stock has certainly risen and he won't be on the board at that point.
Mike Muscala became one of the best low-post scorers in College basketball last season. He's an excellent rebounder and has put on some weight these past couple seasons. The Bucknell big man is originally from Roseville Minnesota, I'm sure he'd love to play for his hometown TWolves. He's a very well-rounded big man that does a bit of everything. I'd be shocked if he slipped out of the first round and I wouldn't be upset at all if the Wolves select him 26th overall.
C.J. McCollum: Almost every mock draft had the Wolves taking McCollum two weeks prior. Mocks have certainly 'cooled' on the Wolves selecting C.J. There's no doubting, C.J. will be a great pickup for whichever team he ends up with. The biggest knock against McCollum heading to the Wolves is him being undersized for the Wolves' needs. At 6'3" he's a combo guard and a VERY good shooter, however the Wolves have suffered through two seasons with an undersized backcourt where Luke Ridnour is given the impossible task of guarding guys like Kobe Bryant, James Harden & Dwyane Wade. I think he'll be a good NBA player, but he just doesn't fit with these Wolves.
Tony Snell: Good speed, quickness and leaping ability. Snell is still thin, but he has improved his body some this past season in New Mexico. Tony has reportedly put together some impressive workouts these past few weeks, which is why many mock drafts have him 'rising'. A lot of Snell's offense comes from his ability to move without the ball and knock down open shots. The Minnesota Timberwolves were dead-last in three-point percentage last season, so I think that automatically makes him a target for the Wolves.
Giannis Adetokundo is an extremely raw prospect currently playing in Greece--against competition that scouts equate to Division III schools. Despite all of that, he possess' a lot of intangibles, skills and potential that have a number of scouts, VERY excited. He's a project player and whichever team drafts him will likely stash him overseas for a year or two and bring him along slowly. Some analysts believe he's already gotten a first-round guarantee and I highly doubt it's Minnesota at #26. If the Wolves keep their two first-round picks, they'll go big man and shooting guard (not necessarily in that order). Like everybody else, however, I'm very intrigued by Giannis and his massive potential.
Lucas Noguiera is undoubtedly a long-term prospect for the team that drafts him. He possesses incredible athleticism, a penchant for crashing the offensive glass and finishing above the rim. A solid rebounder and a skilled shot-blocker, at 6'11" he'll almost certainly be a first-round selection. I'd love for the Wolves to take a shooting guard with their #9 pick and then take a center like Noguiera (or Gobert, Adams, Withey, Dieng, etc.). However in all honesty, any center that the Wolves draft that can take minutes from Greg Stiemsma is a HUGE positive in my books.
That's a wrap! With the NBA Draft just six days away I'm no sure whether or not we'll have a part five in this series, however I'll definitely have some draft stories in the 'News' section the next week or so. As always, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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