All the chatter has been about package some kind of deal with Sixers to get the second overall pick in the draft. And while I am all about speculation of bringing good players – minus the bad contracts – good players will be available if the Wolves decide to keep the 16th and 23rd picks.
Depending on which mock draft you read or which web site you follow, you can come-up with a variety of picks that will end-up with the Wolves. But if Luke Babbit is still available when Minnesota has to make a selection with the 16 pick, the Wolves should jump at the chance to get him.
With the 16th Pick, The Timberwolves select Luke Babbitt
The 6’9″ lefty-sophomore averaged 21.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg and shot, 50% from the floor, 42% from the three-point range, and 92% from the foul line. He has the ability to score from the post and perimeter, has a good motor, and basketball savvy rarely seen in rookies.
The biggest knock on Babbitt is his size and perceived lack of athletic ability and that he is somewhere between SF and PF. Size and “stereo-types” really don’t matter anymore in the NBA, if you can play – you can play.
For as skilled as Babbitt is, he is just athletic. Babbit has a 37.5 vertical which puts on par with UConn’s Stanley Robinson, a half-inch better than Wesley Johnson, two inches better than Derrick Favors, three inches than Turner and ten inches better than DeMarcus Cousins.
Babbitt bench-pressed 185 lbs. 15 times. Greg Monroe did the same, Derrick Favors and Oklahoma’s Tiny Gallon did one rep less, Cole Aldrich did five less, and Cousins didn’t even make an attempt.
This is what ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote on Babbitt;
Luke Babbitt was really helped here. A 37.5-inch vertical, a 3.2-second sprint and an impressive 10.98 lane agility score blew away a few GMs I spoke with. The thinking was that he had poor lateral quickness.
I have no clue what they do to determine “lane agility” but compared to John Wall’s 10.8, Babbitt did well. The spirit is a 3/4 court run and Wall scored 3.2.
Babbitt would be able to come in and contribute right away with his shooting and basketball I.Q. – most over-used term when evaluating a prospect along with “tremendous upside”. It may take him a few seasons to add strength, but he has a skill at a size that makes him tough to guard.
My fear is that Babbitt will get drafted around the 9-12 range.
Other options at No. 16:
Kansas’ Xavier Henry - Henry was a top-five recruit out of high school, but didn’t make the splash that was expected. Henry does have an offensive game ready for the league and is a good shooter. He may not be a slasher or a guy who will play above the rim, but his body is NBA ready at 6’6″ and 210 lbs and he works on defense.
Oklahoma State’s James Anderson – Scorer in the house. Mr. Anderson can shot, not too impressive from deep shooting only 34%, but shot 55% percent in 2-point range this past season. Like Henry, he is a good athlete but not a great one, but he is a better scorer – though Henry didn’t have plays run for him like Anderson did – and Anderson fundamentals are not as strong. Anderson is going to be instant offensive.
Fresno State’s Paul George – There some players who you know exactly what you are getting, with George, that is not the case. George is also said to have “tremendous upside” and had some decent numbers this season with 16.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg while shooting 42% from the floor. The 6’8″ sophomore is long, a good shooter and rebounder, but can become passive and invisible on the court.
Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe – Bledsoe was over-shadowed by almost every player at Kentucky. But don’t be fooled, Bledsoe is talented. If he had played anywhere else, more people would know his name and he would project higher in this draft. Bledoe is fast, unselfish, works hard, and we have seen take games over and be the best player on the court. His jump-shot is inconsistent and he averaged more turnovers than assists. He is an athletic player player that may be available at 23 as well.
But we get into the later.