Flip’s Moves: Timberwolves trades and the 2015 draft

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Mar 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne (3) dribbles the ball up the court in the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Target Center. The Hornets won 109-98. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired Adreian Payne in exchange for protected draft pick

Full trade: The Timberwolves received Adreian Payne from the Hawks for a pick that is lottery-protected (top-14) from 2017 to 2020 and turns into two second-rounders (one in 2020 and another in 2021) if not conveyed by 2020.

How did the Wolves fare? Full disclosure: I LOVE Adreian Payne. He was such a hard-working player at Michigan State and he had some games where he just carried the team in March Madness. He was drafted by the Hawks last year with the 15th-overall pick, and the first-rounder that Flip traded for him has protections on it so that it’s guaranteed to be no higher than that.

I see Payne’s ceiling as Draymond Green. He can guard every position on the floor and he’s got a workable stroke on his shot right now. He’s also a feisty defender and willing passer. If he can turn into a consistent threat from deep (maybe 35%), he would stretch the floor and take opposing big men out of the lane for Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

I don’t think Payne will turn out to be as good as Green, who even took over some play-making responsibilities for the Warriors when teams doubled-up on Stephen Curry, but I do think a more realistic projection is for him to be Draymond Green-lite. If Payne can replicate 75% of what Green does on the Warriors, then he would be immensely valuable to this team and would justify the cost of the first-round pick Flip traded for him.

Next: Trading Young Doesn't Make Wolves Younger