Draft Day Scenarios for the Timberwolves

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What to do at number two?

No, it’s not the beginning of a Dr. Seuss book; it’s the NBA draft dilemma that Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn is faced with just hours before Thursday’s draft.

Rumors have swirled for weeks about the options that Kahn and company have with the second overall selection.

Here’s what we know:

Ricky Rubio is not being traded. The same can be said for Kevin Love. After that we have to assume that everyone from Michael Beasley to Lazar Hayward can be dealt.

We also know that the Timberwolves own the number two and 20 selectionS in this year’s draft. But they also lack a 2012 first round pick.

We also know that the Timberwolves have immense holes at the shooting guard and center positions.

We also know that Kahn will have until July 1st to make a deal before, like the NFL, the NBA goes into full out lockout mode allowing for no transactions to be made. Essentially the lockout rooster blocks any trades being made, much like the ugly friend of a ten at the bar.

So that’s where we stand. Kahn is like a buzzed-up twenty-something trying to seal the deal with the ten and take her for a walk before her unattractive friend—the lockout—takes over. Or something like that.

Over the past few days, there has been much speculation as to what the Wolves plan with the number two pick will be.

Again these are all speculations, as no one really knows what deals GM’s discuss. Nor can much faith be put into what GM’s leak to the media.

  • We’ve heard Pau Gasol was offered for number two and Kevin Love. Lamar Odom for two was rumored to be in play, but the Wolves turned it down in favor of Andrew Bynum for number two pick which was later rejected
  • We’ve heard Milwaukee offered Andrew Bogut and number ten for the number two pick.
  • Indiana allegedly asked about a Roy Hibbert and number 15 for number two the same day that Phoenix and the Wolves allegedly discussed a Marcin Gortat and number 13 for the aforementioned second pick.
  • Today, news of a Steve Nash for the number two pick came to light, but was later shot down by many media outlets.

It is my belief that all of those rumors are, well, rumors. And that none of those moves will be made.

It was a consensus for weeks that Derrick Williams would be the number two pick for the Wolves. But over the past few days some minor alterations to that plan have came to fruition.

First: Cleveland let it known that they are interested in drafting Derrick Williams number one and either Enes Kanter or Brandon Knight number four. Which means that the Wolves would be stuck drafting Kyrie Irving, just days after the team officially added Rubio.

Second: Today the Wolves let off a smoke screen themselves that was as transparent as Holder from “The Killing” being a shady detective. Apparently Kahn “leaked” that the team has interest in drafting Kanter at number two. Presumably to draw in Washington as a potential trade partner involving picks two and six.

We also can’t negate the fact that Kahn could very likely be fired at the end of this season—if not earlier—if the team doesn’t show any improvements. I believe Kahn knows that it’s poop or get off the pot time for him as the headman of the Timberwolves organization.

Which means a deal for a talented veteran or two is on the horizon, yet the right deal may not be able to be reached by the July first– ugly friend– deadline.

Here are scenarios that I see taking place over the next 24 hours.

1) If the Cavs do the semi-irrational and pass on Irving at number one, I believe the Wolves should try to move back with the Utah Jazz at three. Utah needs a point guard, and Brandon Knight’s name has been attached to them for quite some time. But one has to assume that they see Irving as far superior than Knight.

The deal: Timberwolves offer number two to Utah for the number three and 12 picks in this year’s draft. While trading a lottery pick to move up one spot seems irrational in most drafts, this draft is unique; there are two sure-thing prospects in this draft. With the Jazz need for a point guard, it is likely they would throw in the 12th pick to move up and get Irving. As a result the Wolves would draft Kanter at two and hope that Colorado’s Alec Burks is available at 12.

2) Irving goes one to the Cavs—like he should—and the Wolves have all along been in love with Williams. They draft him and look to move Michael Beasley; you know, the unstable version of Williams.

The deal: Flip Beasley for a 2012 first. Beasley could be a great addition to the bench of a fringe contender. We all know he guards as well as Yi Jianlian’s workout chair, but the dude can put points up in a hurry.

3) Irving goes one to the Cavs and the Wolves take Williams at two. The Wolves like Williams, but realize they don’t love him. They decide to move Williams.

The deals: (Ideally one of these deals, or a variation of one of them takes place. It’d be the best-case scenario.)

1)    The Lakers counter the Wolves earlier offer and propose an Andrew Bynum for Williams and Wes Johnson deal.

2)    The Suns realize that Williams is a perfect power forward to play with Steve Nash, and want to bring back the local hero. They upsettingly decide to part ways with Marcin Gortat. Along with Gortat, the Wolves receive the number 13 pick and a veteran like Jared Dudley. While the Suns get Williams, Nikola Pekovic, and Jonny Flynn. Followed by Bill Simmons buying season tickets for the Timberwolves next season.

3)    (My favorite) Monta Ellis is available. The ultra talented Ellis hasn’t been able to co-exist with shoot first guard Stephen Curry in their two years together. Fact. After drafting a more typical shooting guard like Klay Thompson or Alec Burks at number 11, Ellis becomes expendable. As a result, the Wolves offer the Warriors a package of Williams, Flynn, and Martell Webster for the services of Ellis. Ellis is the shooting guard that the Wolves need, and would flourish in a backcourt alongside pass first, pass second point guard Ricky Rubio. (Note: Golden State would probably want Johnson instead of Webster in his deal, and although I would say “yes”, I’m not sure Kahn would.)

As a Wolves fan, I’ve learned to expect the odd and the unthinkable with David Kahn calling the shots. While any of those scenarios are likely and carry a lot of common sense, let’s not put it past Kahn to do something odd, even for Kahn’s standards.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. You can follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier

 

 

 

 

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