Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
With many more NBA Mock Drafts coming out these past few days, it's time once again for Part Three of our Mock Drafts 'Around the Net'. If you've missed our first two, you can find them here and here. You can also find the description of what these posts entail in Part One of this series.
As it currently stands, we're likely to have five 'parts' this season.
**SI was updated 5/29; nbadraft.net updated 6/1; DraftExpress & MyNBADraft.com updated on 6/3; CBS Sports, ProBasketballDraft & ESPN were all updated on 6/4.**
Alex Len is projected to go somewhere between 3-9, with most scouts believing he'll be gone by the time the Wolves pick. If he is available he'd be the perfect fit as a long-term prospect that will take a couple years to develop and provide valuable time behind Pekovic at center (allowing the Wolves to waive/trade Stiemsma). Len is the kind of shot-blocking rim protector the Wolves sorely need. An ankle injury has kept him out of working out for teams, but some scouts believe if he could workout for teams, he'd be in the conversation for the #1 pick.
Sergey Karasev is an excellent ball-handler with a high basketball IQ and a good shooting stroke. At 6'7" he plays some point forward and is a capable passer. This past season he averaged 16.1ppg on 49% 3PT in Eurocup. It's uncertain if he'll come straight to the NBA next season or if he's a pick and stash type of player. Being Russian and having played with Shved & Kirilenko for the Russian National Team, he'd obviously fit right in, in Minnesota. According to Adrian Woj of Yahoo Sports, Karasev has reportedly returned to Russia and will not be doing anymore workouts, which fuels rumors that he's gotten a first-round guarantee from an unidentified team. Chances are good he won't be available when the Wolves pick at #26, however some mocks have him going as high as #9 (to the Wolves--which Chad Ford eludes to in his latest mock draft).
Shabazz Muhammad is a versatile scoring swingman. Just months earlier, Muhammad was in the conversation for the #1 overall pick. After an okay lone season a UCLA, finding out he's actually a year older and his play being categorized as unselfish--he's 'plummeted' down the draft boards with some scouts believing he could actually fall out of the Lottery. He isn't a great perimeter defender, though he has the physical tools to develop into a solid defender (6'11" wingspan). He'd definitely fill a need as a scoring shooting guard. I wouldn't mind Muhammad on the Wolves vying for the starting shooting guard spot. Flip has been adamant that if the Wolves keep their #9 pick (and don't move up in the draft) Minnesota will be taking the best player available--Muhammad will be in the conversation at #9.
C.J. McCollum was the popular choice at #9 for most mock drafts in Part Two of our 'Around the Net' series. He's still the most popular in this one, but it isn't by as wide a margin. McCollum measures at just 6'3" so he's not a natural shooting guard, though he is looked at as potentially the best shooter in the draft. Some scouts/analysts draw comparisons to unanimous Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. C.J. also broke his foot back in early January and hasn't played basketball since then, that's obviously a concern as is his ability to stay healthy (the Wolves certainly don't need injury prone players). Teamed up with Ricky Rubio, they'd be a lethal offensive backcourt, however because of McCollum's size there would be serious concerns on the defensive end. Sure, Luke Ridnour has started alongside Rubio in the majority of games the last two seasons, but Flip has made it known he wants a true shooting guard (size-wise). I'd honestly be surprised if the Wolves take McCollum at 9.
Archie Goodwin is another 6'5" shooting guard and because of his size and the position he plays, he automatically is on Minnesota's radar. The majority of drafts have Goodwin going in the mid-second round, but these workouts are where the below-the-radar players can get noticed and see their draft stock soar. During his lone season at Kentucky he showed flashes of excellence, but his play was also marred by inconsistencies. Goodwin is an excellent athlete with a 6'10" wingspan and at 6'5" he has NBA length. He's got all the physical tools, but he still has plenty of work to do if he wants to develop into a consistent player and a contributor at the next level.
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.
Reggie Bullock has good size for an NBA player and is a good shooter for his size. He won't be an All-Star in the NBA, but he could develop into a solid role player off the bench for a number of teams. He can play both forward spots and even some shooting guard. A versatile player that can be used as a utility player off the bench for any NBA team in a year or two. With Budinger off the bench and guys like D-Will, Cunningham and Shved, I'm not sure he's really needed on this current Minnesota Timberwolves roster.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has risen up the draft boards and because of his NBA size (6'5") and offensive capabilities at shooting guard, it automatically makes him a target for the Wolves. Pope is coming off a breakout season in which his 'game' stayed the same, however he increased his production in a number of statistical areas. Chad Ford of ESPN has heard rumblings that Kentavious is definitely 'up there' on the Wolves' draft board.
Jeff Withey seems like he'd be a great fit for this team. A 7-footer who blocks shots and rebounds. He's definitely a bit stronger than Stiemsma as well. As a backup center, playing behind Nikola Pekovic he could take pointers to round out his offensive game, while giving the Wolves a tougher rim protector that they've sorely lacked these past few seasons. In case you weren't aware or didn't catch on...I am NOT a fan of Greg Stiemsma.
That's all for now, part four should debut in mid-June so stay tuned for that. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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