Rumor Central: Latest Buzz

It has been a little quite on the Timberwolves basketball front as the World Cup has taken center stage for me.  But with the NBA draft only ten days away, I imagine we will see some trade scenarios pop-up soon and keep coming until the Wolves make their first pick.

Wolves Set On Johnson

Everything I keep hear is that the Wolves are working hard to get the No. 2 to get Evan Turner or hope Derrick Favors is available at no. 4.  But if the Wolves can not get either of those players, sounds like Wesley Johnson is the guy they will pick.

This is from ESPN’s Chad Ford:

The Minnesota Timberwolves are exploring ways of moving up to No. 2 to get their hands on Turner. However, if they stay at No. 4, and Turner and Derrick Favors are off the board, I think you can expect to hear Johnson’s name called here. We’ve had Johnson at No. 4 in the mock draft since May and think he’s a lock to go here if Turner and Favors are off the board.

In fact, Cousins won’t even come in to work out with the team, his agent John Greig told me. However Greig, along with a league source, disputes a report that Cousins wasn’t invited to Minnesota. Greig says that he believes Minnesota is already locked into Johnson at No. 4 and wants to keep Cousins focused on places he could realistically go.

While Johnson has been long speculated to be the No. 4 pick, I find it hard to believe that is the reason DeMarcus Cousins is not working out for the Wolves.

Johnson is a solid pick at the No. 4, but if the Wolves end up shipping the 16th and 23rd picks, it makes the 4th pick even more crucial.  And I am not confident that Johnson is worth of the 4th pick.

Soon I will take a more in depth look at the Wolves pick and the ways they may actually go with the No. 4 pick.

The Wolves Workout Pittman and Whiteside

The team brought in two completely different “big men’ in Texas’ Dexter Pittman and Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside.  Big man depth is a concern for the Wolves.  And while they both are big, they are very different as to how to play and what they would do for the Wolves.

Pittman would need to work hard to become a role player.  He can take up space, is skilled and has played in many big games at Texas.  Whiteside has the potential to be an elite player, once he learns the game.  But he is raw, but could be explosive when on the court.

Pittman is a load at 6’10’ and 310 pounds, had a 7’6″ wing span and has massive, yet soft hands.

Here is the transcript from Timberwolves.com.

Question: How did the workout go today?
Pitman: It went great. I think I showed my physical ability and some of my soft touch around the rim.

Question: What’s that like going up against some guys who are similar in height and play your position as well?
Pitman: It’s great because you can show your upside and you get to be physical with somebody who is bigger than you.

Question: What are you looking to improve on these next couple of weeks to show these teams you have a different dimension to your game?
Pitman: I just go out there and don’t be friendly to nobody. Just go out there and play physical, if you have to throw somebody on the ground, then you have to do it. There are no referees out here, so just play physical. I mean, I’m not going to hurt anybody but I’m just going to be a beast and go for the ball.

“This is a beautiful city; I didn’t know it was this beautiful. I always grew up watching the Wolves and KG. I just like the city and the logo. The logo looks like a beast. If I have that across my chest, it will be a beast.”

Pittman is an option for the Wolves in the second round.  He came into college with a weight problem, but has shown progress every year and it looks like he continued to refine his body during the workout process.

While Pittman is a huge, has not a great scorer and never rebounded that well.  His senior year was statistical his best with 10.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg.  To stock around in the league, he will need to find a little more determination to grab the boards.  I don’t think he is going to make a living scoring and blocking shots.

Whiteside is a first round pick.  Why?  Potential.  He could not be more of an opposite to Pittman.  If Pittman has experience, Whiteside does nto as a freshmen.  If Pittman is skilled, Whiteside has the athleticism.

Whiteside stands 6’11”, weighs 235 pounds, has a 7’7″ wingspan and 31.5 inch vertical.

Question: How did the workout go, you had some battles with Dexter Pittman down low.
Whiteside: I came out here just to play as hard as I can. Dexter’s a big guy, part of my body is still sore from him (laughs). That’s the biggest dude I’ve played against. I think it went pretty good, I just played as hard as I could.

Question: Did your length and athleticism out there; is that an advantage against Pittman?
Whiteside: Just really trying to stay between him and the basket. Try and use my quickness against him.

Question: What do you want to show teams in these next few weeks that you’re prepared to make that next jump?
Whiteside: Just that I’m willing to work hard and put in the hours. A lot of people don’t realize that I’m dedicated to this and that this is my life dream. The craziest question I got asked was do you want to be great, do you want to keep working. This is what I love, I want to be great.

Question: Do you pay attention to the mock drafts?
Whiteside: I don’t look at myself on the internet. I never thought I was a big guy on the internet anyway. I don’t know where they got me, they might have me in the first round, second round, I don’t know.

Question: How could you fit in with the Wolves?
Whiteside: I would love to play with the Wolves. My favorite player (Garnett) played here. It would be an honor to play here.

Whiteside is interesting at No. 23 for me – less at No. 16.  He is 21 years-old, even though he was a freshmen, and statistical is more impressive than Pittman.  Whiteside averaged13.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 5.4 blocks a game.

Whiteside is something the Wolves have not had in a while; a long, lanky, athletic big-man who is relatively unknown and is pretty risky – wow that sounds familiar.  But he should not go in the top-ten.

Like I said, at No. 23 he is great pick.  At No. 16, he is a good.  At No. 4 would just be stupid.

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Tags: Dexter Pittman Hassan Whiteside Wesley Johnson

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