I know the last few years have been down-right dreadful for fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Our last few draft picks (Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams) haven’t panned-out, so far or yet. But, Ricky Rubio brought a spark this season before his ACL injury. He lit-up Target Center with his maestro passing skills and non-matador-esque defensive ability that most of his teammates (Michael Beasley) have shown the past few years. He might just be the beginning of a Minnesota-turnaround, though.
The Timberwolves made a dreadful trade a few years ago when they traded Sam Cassell and a future first-round pick in exchange for Los Angeles Clippers guard Marko Jaric. That draft pick is now with the New Orleans Hornets and the pick has to be used this season. And the nice thing is, the Timberwolves weren’t that bad this season! They are going to finish with the 10th-worst record in the NBA when most people thought the Wolves would be one of the worst teams in the league. New Orleans will also have their own first-round pick this season and they were on pace to have a top pick in the draft because they traded away Chris Paul before the season started and that’s how they acquired Minnesota’s pick from Los Angeles.
But here is where Minnesota’s luck might be changing.
Remember the deal that involved Al Jefferson going to Utah two years ago? Well, if Utah makes the playoffs this season, we end up getting their first-round draft pick. And, in case you weren’t paying attention, Utah is one win away from clinching a playoff spot. So in a year where we weren’t supposed to have a first-round pick, we will get one more than likely.
This year’s draft is supposed to be deep. Minnesota lacks a solid two-guard who can score and defend, and a small forward if they decide to let Beasley walk. Possible prospects are Duke’s Austin Rivers, Baylor’s Perry Jones III, Syracuse’s Dion Waiters, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Washington’s Terrence Ross, Kentucky’s Doron Lamb, and Iowa State’s Royce White. That’s a wide range of players who can play multiple positions at the next level.
Rivers, Lamb, Waiters, and Ross are likely picks for the Timberwolves because those guys play the two-guard spot. I am going to make a case for Rivers. If you don’t know, Rivers’ father is Doc Rivers (head coach of the Boston Celtics) so you know that the kid has been around basketball his entire life. Rivers has a game that’s suited better for the NBA rather than college (where he struggled at times playing at Duke). The kid is extremely talented and his one-on-one game is NBA-ready. He can even play a little point guard, too. He has nice size (6’4, 200 lbs) and some explosiveness to his game.
Also, I think Rivers is the safest pick for the Timberwolves.
While the Timberwolves don’t want to get any younger, I don’t think they can pass this draft pick up if presented the opportunity. They have to realize that Wes Johnson is not the answer at the two-guard and they can’t win with Luke Ridnour playing the 2. It won’t work. They need a legit two-guard and I think Rivers is that guy.
Of course, GM David Kahn loves to trade during the draft so they could possibly trade the draft pick.
This might be the beginning of “turnaround-luck” for the Timberwolves.