Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Every single day as I browse the internet I'm bombarded with delirious Cleveland Cavalier & Chicago Bull fans that believe the Wolves should giftwrap our franchise player for their castaways.
Do people not realize, this isn't David Kahn running the show. This is completely Flip & Adelman's team now. I highly doubt that Saunders has spent all this time pampering and coddling Kevin Love to turn around and trade him. Flip said shortly after he was hired that there was no needed repair between Kevin Love and the organization, however his actions seem to deem otherwise. The two reportedly speak or text each other at least every other day, they've spent time together over the past few weeks and Flip even had Kevin represent the franchise at the Draft Lottery last week, to assure him he is undoubtedly the face of the franchise. And he is!
We still haven't had a full season of Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio together. They played a combined 28 minutes together in 2012-13. This team can be great...the obvious is, they need to get healthy!
Have you seen some of these 'trades' that people are throwing out?! Let's take a look at a few examples that I've heard these past few weeks...
to Cleveland: Kevin Love & Malcolm Lee
to Minnesota: #1 pick, Tristan Thompson & C.J. Miles (or Alonzo Gee)
-This one (like them all) is just a joke. I don't think this trade would even work in a video game! The Wolves are giving up (when healthy) the NBA's best power forward and in return they get the #1 pick in a weak draft (likely Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo), an athletic young power forward that had his shot blocked more than any other player in the NBA last season and a reserve forward that wouldn't see any time behind Kirilenko & Budinger.
Basically, this is how our team would look with this trade...
PG: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea
SG: #1 pick, Alexey Shved, #26 pick
SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger
PF: Tristan Thompson, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham
C: Nikola Pekovic, #9 pick, Greg Stiemsma
And this is how our team would look without this trade...
PG: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea
SG: #9 pick, Alexey Shved, Malcolm Lee
SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger
PF: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham
C: Nikola Pekovic, #26 pick, Greg Stiemsma
Both of those scenarios assume that the Wolves resign Nikola Pekovic & Chase Budinger and Andrei Kirilenko accepts his player option. But honestly, which team looks better to you? Is it even a question?
Of course, Cavalier fans would be elated to pair Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters & Anderson Varejo with Kevin Love. They'd obviously be back in the playoffs. The Wolves would make it a decade without a postseason appearance as that team would probably fall short in the loaded Western Conference.
How about Chicago Bulls fans that are dreaming of dumping Carlos Boozer and getting the NBA's best PF in return...
to Chicago: Kevin Love, Malcolm Lee, Greg Stiemsma
to Minnesota: Jimmy Butler, Carlos Boozer, the Bobcats' pick the acquired in the Tyrus Thomas trade and the draft rights to Nikola Mirotic.
In this scenario the Wolves get three very good assets (Butler, the Charlotte pick and Mirotic's rights) and annual amnesty candidate Carlos Boozer. The Wolves give up the face of the franchise and two bench warmers. Honestly this isn't a bad trade idea...but that's the problem, it's just an idea and I highly doubt the Bulls would sacrifice this much.
There are dozens of rumors involving nearly every NBA team and Kevin Love, but it's time to put those rumors to bed. Even if Kevin Love wants out (he assures he's committed to Minny) he's under contract for the next two seasons. There'd be no reason for the Wolves to trade him this summer. They still have this year's Trade Deadline, next summer and the 2015 Trade Deadline, there's no rush, especially considering we have yet to see this team at 100% for an extended period of time.
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been busy the past couple weeks, with the Draft Combine, Draft Lottery and the individual workouts held these past few days at the Target Center.
Below are some updates that include a little bit of everything...
There's plenty going on and it's good to see/hear that Flip is working his tail off to make sure his first transactions he makes back in Minnesota are 'good ones'. Stay tuned for more, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Over the next two days (Tuesday & Wednesday 5/28-29) the Minnesota Timberwolves are holding workouts for a number of draft prospects--most of which are likely second round picks or they'll go undrafted.
Here are the player lists...
Center Mouhammadou Jaiteh of France is actually a prospect that could sneak into the first round. There are some mock drafts I've seen that have the Timberwolves taking Jaiteh with their 26th overall pick.
Other notable prospects include Pierre Jackson as well as two players with Minnesota ties: Rodney Williams Jr. of the University of Minnesota is part of Wednesday's first group and Jared Berggren is a native of Princeton, Minnesota and played his collegiate basketball at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lastly, Elston Turner Jr. is the son of Eltson Turner who was a former assistant with head coach Rick Adelman (and could join the Wolves later this summer as an assistant).
All 30 NBA teams will have representatives on hand in Minneapolis these next two days to watch these workouts.
We'll have more later this week, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Will the Wolves be picking ninth in next month's draft? Perhaps. However it's sounding as though Flip Saunders will be exhausting all options and opportunities to secure a Top 5 pick.
The Wolves hold the #9, #26, #52 & #58 picks in the draft, but there's a good chance that Saunders will be in constant communication with two teams about getting his team a Top 5 pick: Charlotte & Phoenix.
Both the Bobcats and Suns were terrible a season ago and barring a major acquisition or turnaround/breakout, there's a good chance they'll be lottery teams yet again in 2013-14. So, the question becomes, are they willing to trade away a Top 5 pick in the 2013 Draft as they look to continue to acquire young talent/assets moving forward.
Ultimately it will all depend on what Flip is offering up in the trade. Obviously the #9 pick will be part of the trade, then it's likely they'd have to include a current player or two. Expendable players include: Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea & Greg Stiemsma.
If the Wolves move it, it's for one player and one player only: Indiana's Victor Oladipo. An athletic freak and defensive dynamo. His offense still needs work, but he'd be a welcome addition and a clear future at shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It'd be the long-term fix that the Wolves are in dire need of. Under David Kahn, he continued to look for quick fixes that constantly never panned out, the latest being $5million to Brandon Roy for 5 regular season games!
Would an offer of Derrick Williams & the #9 be enough to pry the #4 pick away from the Bobcats? I'd like to think so, they'd be getting a versatile and still very young talent and he'd be playing for a team that'd give him a lot of playing time--something he'll never get while he plays behind All-Star & MVP candidate Kevin Love.
The past two seasons the Wolves have shied away from drafting young talent and instead have gone the route of bringing in proven veterans. Saunders made it clear after he was hired that this team would feature a mixture of proven talent and rookie potential.
If the Wolves aren't able to move up in the Draft, rumor has it they like Shabazz Muhammad. However, the Pistons are also a fan and they hold the #8 pick.
There are plenty of scenarios and they'll be plenty more in the next month. As always we'll have them all right here on HOWL, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
As it currently stands there seems to be four different groups with different ideas on what the Wolves will/should be doing with their two first round draft picks (9th & 26th).
1.) Draft a shooter like C.J. McCollum, Shabazz Muhammad or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the 9th pick and then select a center like Lucas Nogueira, Mouhammado Jaiteh, Jeff Withey, Steven Adams or Rudy Gobert (if he falls that far). By picking a shooting guard the Wolves hope to be getting someone who could contribute immediately and by grabbing a center in the late first round there'll be looking for a long-term project (someone they can bring along slowly these next 2-3 years) and battle Greg Stiemsma for those backup center minutes.
2.) Draft an athletic shot-blocking center like Cody Zeller, Alex Len, Kelly Olynyk, Gorgui Dieng or Rudy Gobert with the ninth pick and then select a shooter like Tim Hardaway Jr., Jamaal Franklin, Allen Crabbe or Archie Goodwin with the twenty-sixth pick.
3.) Create a package centered around the #9 pick and one or two players currently on the roster to move into the Top 5. Every article I've read about this suggests only one person the Wolves would be looking at with that Top 5 pick: Victor Oladipo. It won't be enticing enough to offer up #9 and #26 to move up, but instead #9 and perhaps Derrick Williams and/or Luke Ridnour/J.J. Barea to a team like the Phoenix Suns (#5) or Charlotte Bobcats (#4).
4.) Trade #9 and/or #26 for a proven veteran. For instance, the Orlando Magic have the #2 overall pick in the draft. With many projecting Nerlens Noel going #1 to the Cavaliers, a lot of mocks have the Magic taking Ben McLemore #2. With the youth movement in full effect in Orlando (Tobias Harris, Moe Harkless & Nikola Vucevic) they'd likely peg McLemore as their starting two-guard, leaving Arron Afflalo to come off the bench (if not right away...in the very near future). Afflalo would obviously be available, with the Magic looking to get younger perhaps a trade of Ridnour & #9 for Afflalo would do it (or maybe you'd have to dangle Derrick Williams instead). There are plenty of scenarios like these that could make trading the pick for a proven veteran a better idea (much like the #18 to Houston last season for Chase Budinger).
I wouldn't mind seeing one or two rookies on the squad next season, but I'm fully expecting at least one trade to go down. After all the Wolves own four total selections in next month's draft and there's zero chance we'll have four rookies playing in Minnesota next year.
With all that in mind let's take a look at part two of our ongoing Mock Drafts 'Around the Net'. Here's part one if you missed it and if you're new to the site, you can find a full description of what this post is all about there as well!
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.
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.
C.J. McCollum seems to be the popular choice at #9 for most mock drafts. 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).
Tony Mitchell is a power forward that stands 6'9" and his main skills are his rebounding and shot blocking--that's thanks in large part to his 7'3" wingspan! This past season at North Texas was certainly a down year for Mitchell with plenty of setbacks in nearly every facet of his game. With a less than stellar offensive game and no go-to move in the paint, Mitchell has a lot of work to do if he wants to have a long future in the NBA.
Glen Rice Jr. dominated the D-League for the Rio Grande Vipers after he was dismissed from Georgia Tech a season ago (which still gives him draft eligibility). As a D-League starter he averaged 17.6ppg on 42% 3PT, 8rpg & 2.6apg. Rice led the Vipers to the D-League Championship, scoring 25ppg in the finals. He is a bit of a tweener, but has plenty of athleticism, he can shoot the ball and is a skilled rebounder. There's a good chance he'll be a contributor right away in the NBA.
Dario Saric is known as a player with an off-the-charts basketball IQ who will play plenty of point forward in the NBA. Some scouts are saying that he could be a star in the NBA someday. Dario is likely a player that will be in the NBA next season, but it may be a few years before he's a big contributor for a team.
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.
Mouhammado Jaiteh is the kind of long term center project that every draft has. Jaiteh doesn't posses a great offensive post repertoire, but he has a decent hook shot and can step out to 15-feet and knock down shots. His biggest assets remain his defensive, shot-blocking presence and his rebounding on both ends.
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.
C.J. Leslie is listed as a 6'9" forward, though he lacks the ability as a low-post scorer, however playing from the high post and taking his man off the dribble is where he excels on offense and made a killing at the collegiate level. On defense his strength becomes a major disadvantage and can classify him as a tweener, which is always concerning. Leslie does move his feet well defensively on the perimeter, which a team may look to turn him into more of a small forward at the NBA level.
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.
That's all for now, we'll have part three in another week or two so stay tuned for that, until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
After Tuesday's Draft Lottery, we now know that the Minnesota Timberwolves will be selecting with the ninth overall pick in next month's Draft.
While there's a chance the Wolves could look to trade that pick for a proven veteran or even a Top 5 pick, however today we're taking a look at some notable former 9th overall picks from 1997-Present...
In successive years (1997 & 1998) two likely future Hall-of-Famers were taken with the ninth overall pick. Tracy McGrady would've been a surefire Hall of Famer had he retired a few years back. In 1999 the Suns nabbed Marion and three years later they selected Stoudemire. Those two combined with Steve Nash & Raja Bell created a very dominant Phoenix squad.
In 2004, the Sixers got it right with Andre Iguodala, who is now one of the NBA's premier defensive players. In 2007 the Bulls took a chance on Noah and these last few years that's certainly paid dividends. He's now one of the NBA's best defensive big men and an All-Star for a Rose-less Bulls team that always seems to overachieve (when without D-Rose).
These last four years, teams have got some very good talent with the ninth overall pick. In fact, in the last four drafts, the teams selecting ninth have taken a player that is now a big part of that team's future and a starter for their squad. DeMar DeRozan is teamed with Rudy Gay in Toronto to create a very lethal scoring punch for the Raps. Gordon Hayward & Kemba Walker have both had breakout seasons this past year for their respective squads. And lastly, Andre Drummond, despite a midseason back injury had a solid rookie campaign and is much better, much quicker than most expected. He now teams with Greg Monroe to form a very good Piston frontcourt and in another two or three years, the could be one of the best in the NBA.
For as many good picks in the last sixteen years as there have been, there's been plenty of 'bad' picks or simply players selected not 'up to snuff'. Joel Pryzbilla went ninth in 2000, but he's never been more than a role player in his career and the only reason he's stuck around the NBA is because of his size (7'1"). The Pistons took Rodney White in 2001 and the Knicks took Mike Sweetney in 2003. Both were role players in their careers, but with a Top 10 pick, you're likely looking for a bigger contributor. In successive years (2005 & 2006) the Warriors had the ninth overall picks and in two successive drafts they got it wrong...very wrong! Diogu & O'Bryant were both bench warmers in their very short careers. Diogu played in just 225 games and O'Bryant only 90!
The Wolves are in dire need of a shooting guard and there's a good chance there could be some players that fit that bill available at number nine: Shabazz Muhammad, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or combo guard C.J. McCollum.
Though chances are better the Wolves will look to fill the need of a shot-blocking big man, depending on how the first eight picks go, perhaps Alex Zen, Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk or Rudy Gobert.
I'm currently working on Part Two of our Mock Drafts 'Around the Net' and should have it posted by tomorrow night! Stay tuned for that, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
May 22nd is the birthdate of three current Minnesota Timberwolves....
Mickael Gelabale turns thirty today.
Chase Budinger is now twenty-five.
And Malcolm Lee turns twenty-three.
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!
Despite Kevin Love and his #9 Ricky Rubio action figure, the TWolves didn't move up in tonight's NBA Draft Lottery. Of course, they didn't move down either.
This is the fifteenth time in franchise history that the Wolves have been a team with a lottery pick and either haven't moved up or they've moved down. Officially 0-for-15.
Kevin Love represented the Wolves at the Draft Lottery among a number of last year's rookies, front office executives and nerdy looking owner's children. Flip asked Love to represent the Wolves to repair some burnt bridges between Love & Kahn and let Kevin know he's still the face and future of this franchise.
Here's how the Top 14 shakes out...
For the second time in the last three years the Cleveland Cavaliers have the #1 overall pick. I'd say chances are good Nerlens Noel will be a Cav in another month (they could go McLemore if they believe he can be a small forward, or perhaps they'll trade down and go with a guy like Otto Porter). The Orlando Magic had the best chance at the #1 pick (25%), but they'll be picking #2 (wouldn't it have been crazy if they'd grabbed the #1 pick and drafted another future all-star center, a la Shaquille O'Neal & Dwight Howard). The Wizards were at #8 pre-Lottery, but moved into the top three and will pick 3rd for the second straight season (last year nabbing Bradley Beal). The Bobcats had the #2 pick pre-Lottery, but the plummet to #4 (second time in two seasons that they've moved down), it'll be very interesting to see who they go with at #4. The Suns stayed at #5, the Pelicans moved down to #6, the Kings down to #7 and the Pistons down to #8 (to account for Washington moving up from #8). The Timberwolves stay at #9 as do the last five teams (Portland, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City (via Toronto), Dallas & Utah.
Because there will be a number of new mock drafts out in the next 48 hours, you can expect part two of our Mock Drafts 'Around the Net' sometime in the next two days! Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Paul Pierce has a salary of $15million for 2013-14, but a buyout of $5million if it's done June 30th. There's a good chance that if the Celts decide to part ways with Pierce, they'll try and trade him first.
There's a very small chance he could end up in Minnesota. The Wolves don't have the cap space or desired assets they're willing to trade with Boston, so they'd have to sign him as a free agent after/if he gets bought out.
Flip Saunders consulted the Boston Celtics during the 2011-12 postseason so he's quite familiar with Pierce. A sidenote on that, Greg Stiemsma was also part of that squad in 11-12, so there's a chance that Flip may not like Stiemsma (who would) and decide to decline his team option for this season (I really hope so) and get a quality backup center in his place. All right...back to Pierce...
Clearly this is quite a longshot. Assuming Pierce is bought out, Minnesota isn't likely to be #1 on his list. There'll be plenty of contenders vying for his services.
It's fun to 'dream' though, a lineup of Rubio, Pierce, Kirilenko, Love & Pekovic would be VERY fun to watch.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Flip Saunders has asked Kevin Love to represent the Minnesota Timberwolves at the May 21st Draft Lottery and Kevin has accepted.
Two seasons ago (last time MIN had a lottery pick) the Wolves were represented by recently fired president of basketball operations David Kahn.
Flip and Love will spend some time together in New Jersey where the Lottery is being held.
Despite Flip's insistence that there needs to be no 'relationship repair' between Love and the Wolves, this is a small gesture to give Love the opportunity to represent his team as the face of the franchise (which he undoubtedly is).
The Lottery is just three days away. After Tuesday night, we'll know exactly where the Wolves will be picking come June. Minnesota has a 6.11% chance of moving into the Top 3, a 12.58% chance of moving down to either #10 or #11 and an 81.31% chance of staying at #9.
Stay tuned for more, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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