In my debut article I discussed how the Timberwolves have some important decisions to make during free agency. This article will focus more on their draft needs as that time of year quickly approaches us. This year is quite a forward heavy draft, and this is not a major need for the Wolves. The majority of Minnesota’s problems (aside from its stars staying healthy) lie in the absence of a dominant perimeter scorer and a shot blocking center (as much as Nikola Pekovic has improved, just being able to size up a player like Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard won’t be enough).
Minnesota has made previous attempts to fix these areas of need. Wes Johnson just isn’t cutting it, and is looking to be one of the bigger busts in recent memory. I tend to give a player 5 years before applying the bust label. Right now Minnesota is starting to feel pretty silly for passing on DeMarcus Cousins, but I don’t blame them because of his perpetual character issues.
I would look for the Wolves to draft a shooting guard/small forward combo type player in the draft. A guy with good length, athleticism, and just a knack for putting the ball in the basket. A few names that come to mind are Dion Waiters of Syracuse, Terrence Ross of Washington, and Austin Rivers of Duke.
The Wolves also have a need for a big time presence of an interior defender. Now as much as every team wants ‘The Brow” (Anthony Davis), he is more than likely to be swooped up with the first or second overall pick. As previously mentioned, Pek has become quite an offensive force, but simply being big won’t solve the team’s woes.
Kahn and his front office have done little to address the need for a big time shot block and intimidator. In fact, the majority of Minnesota’s attempts at shoring up the center position have been abysmal at best. The most successful center pick of the bunch, Luc Longley, won 3 championships with Jordan’s Bulls. Rasho Nesterovic comes in as the 2nd best center the team has drafted, which isn’t saying much. Most teams have this issue, but the Wolves have never even sniffed success with a center in the draft.
The best option for the team will to draft a perimeter scorer and then find a serviceable backup in free agency. Chris Kaman will be available, and he could potentially start, but other than him there isn’t much to get excited about. Joel Pryzbilla, Erick Dampier, and Marcus Camby are some older veterans that have a little bit left in the tank. Unfortunately guys like Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert are restricted free agents, and will likely be resigned by their respected teams (even if they both get overpaid).
Draft previews will start next week. The focus will be on the #18 pick because teams rarely find a diamond in the rough with the 58th pick.
First up: Austin Rivers, Duke University