The Wolves entered the night with a trio of second round picks. They were rumored to be planning to trade away at least one of the picks, select a college player with one of them, and stash an international prospect with the third.
And that’s exactly how it played out. And that’s almost how it played out, as the Wolves ended up selling both the college player selected at #44 and the international selection at #53. But hey, at least they kept Glen Robinson III.
Yes the Wolves did a good job in selecting Glenn Robinson III out of the University of Michigan with the #40 pick. Robinson played exceedingly well as a freshman in 2012-13 alongside Trey Burke, who was allowed to create many of Robinson’s scoring chances, both on the fast break and in the half court offense. This would be just fine (he’ll be playing alongside Ricky Rubio, after all), except for that he also shot just 31.3% from three-point range over his two years at the collegiate level.
All that said, he’s the proper size and athleticism for an NBA wing, and many of his other peripheral numbers and rate-based statistics show that he could very well be a competent NBA rotation player, with a shot at being a starter if something clicks and/or he can improve his jump shot and add consistent range. A very, very nice pick at #40, and rumors that both Oklahoma City and Philadelphia considered selecting him in the ten to twelve picks prior to being selected by Minnesota.
For the record, I’m a big fan of this pick. As far as the early second round goes, I was holding out hope for Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie, but he was selected by Detroit at #38. Robinson was probably the best possible pick at that stage of the second round, so kudos for that.
Unfortunately, the Wolves followed it up by selling the #44 pick to the Brooklyn Nets for $1 million. Really, Timberwolves? Again? And there isn’t even a buyout to throw the cash at, either. I mean, the league put limits on cash-raising on draft night because of the Wolves. Unbelievable.
And what’s worse, there were a couple of players on the board that would have been upgrades. Sure, they may have had to clear a roster spot, but you can’t tell me that there aren’t teams that would take on a year of J.J. Barea or Alexey Shved so the Wolves can pick up a Russ Smith? At the very least, trade it for a future pick. A handful of teams did exactly that tonight — if you don’t love someone on the board, swap the pick for a 2015 or 2016 second rounder. It isn’t rocket science.
Finally, the Wolves picked Italian wing Alessandro Gentile with the #53 overall pick. DraftExpress had him ranked as the #68th player on their board. Head over to their page for a full scouting report, but here’s my summary: a very talented offensive player with prototypical size and offensive feel for an NBA wing, but possibly lacking the lateral quickness to guard at the level. He’s also an inconsistent and streaky outside shooter with poor shot selection.
I’m looking for some information regarding his buyout/possibility he’ll come to the States this year, but….well, hey, while I was looking I came across Jon Krawczynski’s tweet stating that the Wolves are — you’ll never guess — selling the pick to Houston. I’m not sure I know what to say at this point. (Yes, I understand that they have a certain number of roster spots, etc., etc., but why can’t they a) stash the player, or b) trade it for a future pick? It’s insanity. Oh, it’s because no one was worthy. In case you were wondering.)
And that does it for tonight. All things considered, it doesn’t quite feel like the train wreck of last year, or the Rambis Buyout Draft of 2011. Admittedly, my fondness for Robinson helps temper my frustration at the LaVine pick a bit.
Ultimately, last year could turn out to be the better draft, pending Gorgui Dieng‘s continued development and if LaVine surprises a lot of people and becomes a productive NBA player. But LaVine definitely has more upside than Shabazz Muhammad, and that is encouraging. Silver linings, right? We have to have something as we kick the can down the road to mediocrity…