Timberwolves Notes: Nikola Pekovic, looking back at draft

Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic spoke about his future at a press conference in Serbia, and Tom Thibodeau reflected on this past June’s NBA Draft.

The Timberwolves announced back before training camp began that Nikola Pekovic would not be with the team all season due to lingering pain following foot and ankle surgery.

Now, Pekovic has spoken out regarding his future in the NBA during a press conference in Serbia, and stated as follows:

“For two years I have struggled with this injury. I have been mentally exhausted. This year I went to Minneapolis for two months and I did everything possible to return to the court, but there are times when you simply can’t. I can’t run without pain.”

The writing has been on the wall, of course. Foot and ankle issues for big men — and especially as hulking of a big man that Pekovic is — are a death sentence for a career. The key to Pek’s success was the combination of brute strength and just how nimble he was on his feet for his size. And now, that’s been compromised entirely.

Quite frankly, it would be a shock if Pekovic were to ever set foot on an NBA court again. Beginning January 31st, the Wolves could receive salary cap relief from Pekovic’s remaining contract — $12,1 million this season and $11.6 million next year.

Elsewhere, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune spoke with Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau regarding this year’s draft from just over six months ago. Thibodeau admitted that they considered three players with the #5 selection: Providence’s Kris Dunn, Kentucky’s Jamal Murray, and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.

They picked Dunn, of course, and the tiebreaker was apparently his defensive acumen. That shouldn’t have been a big surprise as Thibodeau’s first-ever draft selection as a front office boss, but considering his goal to increase three-point makes on offense, passing on Murray and Hield was somewhat of a surprise.

Of course, neither Murray nor Hield has been great so far, although both are shooting the ball better than Dunn and Murray has come on strong of late.

At any rate, it’s far too early to evaluate whether or not the Timberwolves made the correct move in drafting Dunn over the other available possibilities, but it’s certainly a storyline to keep a close eye on.