As nightmares go, the NBA Draft is pretty standard, if recurring, fare for a Wolves fan. Needs are great. Expectations are high. Disappointment is inevitable. Drafting a franchise guy every time out isn’t a realistic goal.
I’m exaggerating what drafting Wes Johnson or Rashad McCants meant to this franchise. Immediately after drafting them no one said they were Manu Ginobili or Ray Allen, but don’t mistake my exaggeration for excusing the Wolves’ front office their hubris. They thought they had a diamond in the rough with McCants and a 10-year starter in Johnson.
That is why I’m happy to say I believe the options for the Wolves are so even-keel and un-glamourous they can do no wrong. From A Wolf Among Wolves…
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6’5.5″ 204 lbs, 6’8″ wingspan, 34.5″ max vertical leap, SG, Georgia
This is the guy I want the Wolves to draft. KCP isn’t as good as Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, but if the Wolves are serious about upgrading the shooting guard position and getting a real player in there that can fit seamlessly next to Rubio, Caldwell-Pope is the guy. He has a good wingspan, is a great athlete, and even though he’s a little undersized for the shooting guard position, he’s strong enough to make up for any height issues. And even then, it’s not like throwing Eric Gordon out there who is actually 6’3″. Pope is aggressive and would give us plenty of “KCP baptizes Timofey Mozgov at the rim!” jokes to make when he throws it down on the opposing big man. It almost seems too good to be true that he could be available at No. 9 but it’s a real possibility.
Here’s what I like about KCP: He’s an incredible athlete (dude finishes at the rim extremely well in transition and even though his vertical leap isn’t overtly impressive, he’s one of the more explosive jumpers), he can flat-out shoot the rock (percentage isn’t staggering but he has a great release point and is fantastic coming off screens), has great balance on his jump shot, he’s a good scorer in the pick-and-roll, he’s a very solid defender both with quickness and strength, he’s a great rebounder for his position, and he can create turnovers for the other team (plays the passing lanes like a fiddle, assuming he knows how to play the fiddle really well).