Assessing the Timberwolves Draft Options at Pick #20

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Endless speculation has surrounded the Minnesota Timberwolves draft options with the number two pick.

Yesterday I looked at the scenarios that the Wolves will face with their top draft pick.

But today, lets look at a pick that very few are taking about. Their number 20 selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

We know that a head coach has zero say in this year’s draft, as Kurt Rambis will be fired after the draft. Which leaves the decision making process in the hands of President of Basketball Operations David Kahn.

We know the Wolves have gaping holes at the shooting guard and center positions. Those holes very likely could be filled at number two, but if the Wolves take Arizona forward Derrick Williams, this pick becomes that much more vital to the Timberwolves rotation in 2011-12.

There is a significant chance that Kahn will ship the 20th selection. A move I would like to see if they flip the pick for a 2012 protected first rounder. Remember the Wolves don’t own a 2012 pick as the Las Angeles Clippers have the rights to that pick. (See Jaric, Marko trade.)

While having a mid-20’s pick next year isn’t anything hang your hat on, it will allow for the Timberwolves ability to bring in some young talent next June.

If the Wolves take and love Williams at two, I can also envision this pick being packaged together with Michael Beasley for a higher protected 2012 1st round selection, or a veteran presence in the locker room.

If the Wolves keep this pick–which they should, because if I was guessing I would venture to say that who they pick at two will not play a game in a Timberwolves uniform– Kahn will look to add depth off the bench at the wing or post positions. That is if Kahn is thinking rational; Vegas has it as 10 to 1.

So who’s available.

In his latest mock draft, The Sports Bank’s David Kay suggests that the Wolves will draft Marshon Brooks. Brooks, a shooting guard from Providence, is a scorer that could add immediate scoring to the Wolves bench. He would also be a band-aid over the hole at shooting guard. Here is what Kay had to say:

Minnesota could very well deal this pick but I think they should be thrilled if Marshon Brooks falls to them.  He knows how to score the basketball and could grow into a great backcourt mate for Ricky Rubio in an up-tempo offense.

In his mock draft 7.0, ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Wolves selecting Iman Shumpert. Shumpert, a 6-6 combo guard from Geogria Tech, would be a nice addition to the Wolves. He is more of a point guard than a shooting guard, and on paper he makes little to no sense for the Wolves.

But lets take it a step further. Shumpert can flat out play defense. He’s super athletic with great size (6-6, 221). He can effectively guard both point guards and shooting guards which would be a nice compliment alongside Ricky Rubio and hopeful starting shooting guard Monta Ellis. (I referenced this in my scenario blog last night. Knuckles are white from crossing them so violently hoping that this happens.)

Here is what Ford has to say about Shumpert:

The Wolves added some serious offensive pop with the arrival of Ricky Rubio and, in this mock, Derrick Williams. Shumpert would give them a major defensive presence in their backcourt.

While he’s not the most offensively gifted player in the draft, his ability to guard both backcourt positions, combined with his elite athleticism, make him an interesting choice at No. 20.

I like Shumpert for the Wolves more than Brooks. With Jonny Flynn being air mailed to some team in need of point guard help, Shumpert would serve well as a shooting guard off the bench, and a third point guard behind Rubio and Luke Ridnour.

But the guy I love at number 20 is Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried.

Both Kay and Ford have Faried going 21 to Portland which means he should be available for the Wolves at 20.

The 6 foot 8, 225 pound Faried would add some grit and toughness off of the Timberwolves bench. Something they lacked substantially last season. (Who would you rather have on your side in a fight, Kenneth Faried or Anthony Randolph? Thought so.)

Faried would be a nice counter to Kevin Love at the power forward position, and could play center alongside Love during crunch time.

While the Wolves are still far from title contenders, you saw the Mavericks beat the Heat because they could protect the rim. Faried brings that presence to Minnesota.

Faried averaged double-doubles in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons at Morehead State. And granted it was against inferior competition, he averaged 17.3 points and 14.5 rebounds per game last season. If we’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that rebounders from college can always rebound at the next level.

A trade, Brooks, Shumpter, or Faried would all be plausible options for the Wolves at 20. Hopefully this pick becomes a cherry on top of a draft filled with glorious decisions by David Kahn.

We can only hope.

-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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