February 24, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; NBA TV host Vince Cellini talks with basketball hall of fame 2012 finalist Reggie Miller during the NBA Hall of Fame press conference at the Hilton Orlando. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

No Draft Pick, Well Let’s Find a Way to Change That


Last Article was me whining about not having enough pure shooting guards in the league.  In the early 2000′s we had two of the best ever striking fear in the hearts of their opponents.  I’m talking about Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, the best three point shooters in the history of the universe.  Now we’re living in a day where combo guards are considered great (yes, I’m talking about Dwyane Wade).  DWade is more Allen Iverson than he is Miller or Allen.

Luckily, the NBA draft is on it’s way and it could solves some problems.  Then I’ll have to find something else in the NBA world to whine about.  Both Jeremy Lamb and Bradley Beal are likely to leave the NCAA early and pursue a professional career.  Fame and fortune are destined to follow for both of these players.  My preference is for it to happen on my team, next to a tandem of: the most exciting player in the league AND the hardest working player in the league.

Timberwolves basketball is trending throughout the Twin Cities and it’s because of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.  Core is build, now lets continue to build up from this solid foundation.  Recognize at this point in the Wolves’ history, it is time to structure the roster to fit into the game of these two stars.

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Mar 16, 2012; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida Gators guard Bradley Beal (23) puts up a shot against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men

Bradley Beal:  My personal favorite, the perfect player to fit in-between Love and Rubio.  Beal is a phenomenal shooter, with pornographic-like shooting form he can shoot off the dribble or spotting up.  His body type and strength is much like Eric Gordon.  Beal also has some time to grow bigger as he is only going to be 19 years old in June.  Potential if he had a growth spurt: Ray Allen if he played with Rondo his whole career.  The best part of his game is his humble attitude at Florida.  He is the silent killer and is very unselfish, which is a trait he shares with Love and Rubio.  The fit for these three was made in heaven.  Nothing is prettier than a ball in constant movement creating comfortable shots for adequate players.

Feb 20, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jeremy Lamb (3) goes up for a shot during the first half against the Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center. UCONN defeated Villanova 73-70 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Jeremy Lamb:  Considered by most as the better prospect between the two, has amazing size for the position.  His body type is a bit like Corey Brewer, but don’t let that scare you.  His talent level is far more advanced than our old friend Brewer.  His athleticism is as good as Brewer’s in that he is fast, can jump high and has quick feet which will make him a capable defender.  The other player he reminds me of is Reggie Miller, because unlike Brewer, Lamb CAN hit the broad side of a barn when he releases for a shot.   His shooting form is very good and he could easily become a very good shooter, although he’ll never reach the greatness of Reggie Miller.  Another very quality trait of his is he moves without the ball creating openings for him to launch (a skill very rare in the game today).

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In order to be able to grab one of these two young college stars, there will need to be a trade.  Timberwolves traded their #1 overall pick in 2012′ and therefore will not be in the lottery where both Lamb and Beal certainly will be scooped up by eager teams.  Trades are fickle in nature and nothing is easy in negotiations between team General Managers.  TWolves have the advantage of many solid trade pieces and also a lot of cap space to assist other teams in getting under the salary cap, which increases in value when free agency roles around.  To trade into the high lottery, it will certainly be expensive.  But what pick would our Beloved Wolves need to obtain to assure they get a coveted prospect?

Let’s speculate that the top SGs will not be drafted before:

  • 1. Anthony Davis- The Andrew Luck of this year.
  • 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist- Versatile, athletic, strong player who will stuff the stats sheet.
  • 3. Thomas Robinson- Low post offensive player with good touch, great motor and potential.
  • 4. Andre Drummond- Beast in the same form as Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.  Could easily become best player in this year’s draft.
  • 5. Jared Sullinger- Huge body, very physical and  intelligent.  Is a bit grounded, but has great touch on shot.
  • 6. Harrison Barnes- Is a mid-range master, who loves to create own shot on simple step back.  Potential to score in high volume.

Under this assumption, Wolves need to find a range of picks between #6 and #10…the one problem with predicting a draft this early is that things change faster than you can follow.  Any of the players above could decide to stay in college and reform their game.  Especially guys like Barnes and Kidd-Gilchrist who have speculated they may stay in college and try to win a championship if they fail this year.  Even though UNC and Kentucky are still in the mix for NCAA crown-hood, there is still a lot that needs to be worked out.  If both players decide to stay, Minnesota’s plan changes and both SGs move up at least two spots in the draft.  To be safe, they should aim for picks in the range of 4-7.   Players of Drummond, Robinson and Davis caliber are highly sought after prospects and players unlikely to risk the financial benefits by staying without pay in March Madness central.  They are almost guaranteed to go in top three picks.

I encourage readers to play with trades and play my little game (remember to consider other teams perspective).

Rules as follows:

  • Find Timberwolves a pick between #4 and #7:  David Kahn (TWolves GM) are willing to offer ANYTHING besides Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love who are untouchable (don’t try to cheat and doom the franchise with getting too fancy).
  • They are also willing to take one bad contract with this trade (think Emeka Okafor bad, not Elton Brand bad).
  • They are EXTREMELY UNLIKELY to offer both Pekovic and DWilliams in the same trade. 

Trade Ammo as follows:

Derrick Williams-#2 pick in 2011’s draft, often considered weaker then 2012’s.  Mobile Power Forward who may learn to play Small Forward.  Great on the elbows with his drive and can finish at an ELITE level.  May not be a great fit with Love on the team, but very useful talent.

Nikola Pekovic-Unlike Derrick Williams, his fit is much better on this team and would be closer to being part of the core in Minny.  Pekovic is a brutal center, with great touch and footwork on the low block.  Gets amazing position and hits his free-throws which creates foul trouble for the whole opposition’s roster.  Value is hard to define, and may be a guy worth keeping if trade isn’t ideal and an obvious “W” in Wolves favor.

Luke Ridnour-Maybe one of the toughest players in the league pound for pound.  His ability to defend shooting guards was a great surprise this season.  Very smart player with amazing shooting-accuracy off the dribble, especially great skill for the pick-and-roll.  I’m sure many teams have taken notice of his progress this season and will carry a lot of value next year in a trade.

Martell Webster-Bit of an inigma, with some health problems.  But is a good role-player who can surprise and offer 20 point nights on occasion.

Brad Miller- Cap space is very valuable and Miller recently announced he will be retiring at season’s end.  If long-time Wolves fans remember the Terrell Brandon days, his contract after retiring helped the Wolves a great deal in acquiring multiple draft picks.

UTAH Jazz pick–2012 (Lottery protected, top 12 protected in 13’ and top 9 protected in 14’)

MEMPHIS Grizzlies pick—2013 (Lottery protected 2013-16)

J.J. Barea- Obvious word that comes to mind is crafty.  Second word is quick.  He creates mis-matches on offense and gets an insane amount of easy buckets on the dribble.  Play-maker in the mold of Nate Robinson, this includes the unwarranted turnovers.

Wes Johnson- Great size for a SG/SF and is a very good defender.  Still has potential if he puts in a lot of work in the off-season on his jumper.  He is an elite athlete whom is on a very reasonable contract.  Teams could talk themselves in to giving him a change of scenery.

Wayne Ellington- Produces when given minutes, due to his ball handling and quick three point shot.  Value is minimal, but a good throw in on top of deals.

The draft order is months away from being determined, so it is anyone’s guess that will have the picks we’re looking for.

My attempts to make a deal happen:

MN Trades: DWill and J.J. Barea to Charlotte for (12’ Cha pick) and Corey Magette (bad contract)—Charlotte has invested in Center and needs a SF/PF to pair with Tyrus Thomas.  Also, JJ would be a great back-up for Kemba.

MN Trades: Nikola Pekovic, Wesley Johnson and Brad Miller (cap space) to New Orleans for (12’ NOH pick, Gustavo Ayon and Emeka Okafor (bad contract.—NOH loves cash, and this will give them plenty of it.  Nikola is a huge piece which is why Wolves get back a nice young center in Ayon.

MN Trades: Derrick Williams, JJ Barea and Nikola Pekovic to Washington for Nene, Jan Vesley and (12’ WAS pick).—This is a blockbuster deal with a lot of salary being passed hands.  Nene’s contract is brand new, so it’d be a huge investment into his future.  Jan Vesley is a ubber athletic and huge wing player, drafted #6 last year.  Unlikely to be agreed by both teams.

MN Trades: Luke Ridnour, (13’ MIN pick), (13’ MEM pick), (12’ UTA pick) to Toronto for Linas Klieza and (12’ TOR pick).—Three picks for one and two valuable players in positions of need for others.  Sad to deal Luke.

;’-(.

MN Trades: Derrick Willaims to Sacramento for Chuck Hayes (medicore player on 4-year deal) and (12’ SAC pick)

I don’t see any plausible deal with Portland, as they just picked up NJN 12’ pick.

MN Trades: Derrick Williams and Darko Milicic for Ben Gordon (horrible contract) and (12’ DET pick).—This is a lot of money for MN to take on as BG has one of the worst contracts in the league.  However, he’d be a good teacher for Beal.  We’d likely look to move JJ after a deal like this.

MN Trades:  Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic for Anderson Varejao and (12’ CLE pick).—This is by far my favorite of the above deals.  Varejao is tough and a GREAT fit next to KLove, defends the rim and is a good passer.  This would make Cleveland a very good team, so it might lead to a Minnesota v. Cleveland finals in 2017!

Comments, original ideas…give me your worse!

Follow me on Twitter @melomattgreezy.