Almost every mock draft listed below was updated between June 24th & June 26th and as I'm writing this, some have likely already been updated again!
Also, as a brief sidenote: the Minnesota Timberwolves hold the ninth, twenty-sixth, fifty-second and fifty-ninth picks in the 2013 NBA Draft. I had been saying our final pick was the fifty-eighth, but of course that was last season (we had the 58th pick) and we took Purdue's Robbie Hummel.
My final, personal predictions are as follows: the Timberwolves have a few different scenarios that could play out tonight. The first is MIN moving into the Top 4 to nab Victor Oladipo. A trade would likely include both the #9 pick & Derrick Williams (perhaps even the #26 pick). The second scenario is Kansas' Ben McLemore slipping to the 5th or 6th pick and the TWolves making a late trade to grab him. The last scenario has the Wolves staying at #9 and likely selecting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Let's see what mocks are the internet are saying...
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.
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.
Cody Zeller has his fans in the Timberwolves front office and there's a small chance the Wolves take him at #9. The Charlotte Bobcats are rumored to be interested with the #4 pick and he could slip down below the Top 10, too. Flip says he's more of a stretch-four in the NBA and if that's the case, I don't think the Wolves should go after him. Minnesota has Kevin Love, Derrick Williams & Dante Cunningham to play the four, so there's limited minutes to go around already. It's even more unlikely considering how desperate the Wolves are for a two-guard.
I really hope Gorgui Dieng falls to the Wolves at #26. He'd be a great fit for the Wolves in the backup center role. An athletic big body whose gained some muscle during his time in the States. Reports say that Dieng won't make it past the 22nd pick (by the Brooklyn Nets). Like Jeff Withey, Dieng is 23 years old--so they're a little older than most of the prospects, but I don't think that'll scare too many teams away in the late-first-round.
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.
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 few picks of the second round and I wouldn't be upset at all if the Wolves select him 26th overall.
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.
Ricardo Ledo. Most believe Ledo will be a late first round pick or an early second round pick. Ricardo is a point guard so it's clear he's definitely not on the Minnesota Timberwolves' radar. Ricky hasn't been doing himself any favors with his workouts as he seems to be lacking confidence and not shooting or defending well. Some are believing he may be more of a project player.
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...
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.
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.
That's all for now, the 2013 NBA Draft begins at 6:30pmCT and following the final pick I'll begin to work on our "Getting to Know..." posts for each prospect the Wolves select. Just like I did for Robbie Hummel a year ago. Look for those to be posted in the wee hours of Friday morning!