Who Goes Third?

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TSB.net NBA Draft Nerd David K. and Timberwolves die-hard fan Andy Weise discuss what Minnesota should do with the #3 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

While Derrick Rose/Michael Beasely is the true storyline of the 2008 NBA Draft, there is a pretty interesting debate building with what the Timberwolves should do with the third overall pick.  Unlike the top two players, there is no obvious choice as to who should go third to Minnesota. Stanford center Brook Lopez, USC guard O.J. Mayo, and Arizona point guard Jerryd Bayless seem to be in the next tier after Rose and Beasley.  In my first post-ping pong balls mock draft, I went with Minnesota selecting Lopez instead of Mayo thinking that the T-Wolves need a formidable low post player to pair with Al Jefferson.

Recently, I’ve been talking myself into the idea of the T-Wolves going with UCLA power forward Kevin Love.  A bit of a stretch?  Absolutely,  but consider that Love has already dropped 15 pounds this off-season in hopes of becoming more athletic when he enters the NBA.  He is already skilled in so many different ways on both ends of the floor, but can you imagine if he had a quicker first step? And was paired up-front with Big Al for the next 8-10 seasons?  You could argue that if Minnesota thinks Love is the perfect fit that they should try and trade down to take him.  But with Love being an option for Memphis at the 5th pick, that would be a risky move to drop lower.  Andy, am I smoking some strong stuff here or what?

There was a lot of heartache when the Wolves got into the top three only to find out they finished No. 3.  I don’t think it’s a bad situation at all though.  I too started off believing Brook Lopez was the best player for the Wolves to take, but I’ve turned my opinion around since the lottery drawing night.  Bayless still makes little sense as he’s a similar player to Randy Foye.  I think right now if I were the Wolves, I’d want to come away with either O.J. Mayo or Kevin Love.

The thing with Love is yes, it is a stretch at No. 3.  There has to be a trade down in order for the Wolves to justify the Love pick and Memphis could be the target. If I were the Wolves, I’d trade the third to move down to five any day of the week if the Grizzlies included Kyle Lowry.  I don’t think it will be that easy though.  I do think the Grizzlies will take Lopez if he falls to five and the Knicks will probably stay away from Love as they already have Randolph and Curry upfront (not that you can’t upgrade those two, Gallinari just makes sense).  The right situation could be trading down to No. 7 with the Clippers for rights the No. 3 (so Clippers can draft Mayo) and the No. 1 that the Wolves owe from the Marko-Cassell deal.  Any possibility to that one you think?

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I think that trade would only be possible if the Clippers strongly coveted Mayo or Bayless.  Then the T-Pups hope Love or Lopez drops to number seven.  By the way, how awful was that Cassell-Jaric trade now that you look back at it and how does Kevin McHale still have a job?

This is such a weird draft.  There are a number of players who could go as high as number five, yet at the same time could fall into the late-lottery (DeAndre Jordan anyone?).  Therefore, I don’t think there will be a lot of jockeying to move up or move down until during the draft when guys start slipping.  I agree with you that Bayless should not be on Minnesota’s radar as long as they have Foye in their point guard plans.

Let me throw this idea out to you.  There has been a lot of talk that Miami is taking a serious look at Mayo with the number two pick.  If you were Minnesota, wouldn’t you try to sweeten that thought for the Heat by offering to move up to the number two spot?  If the T-Wolves offered #3 and #31 in this year’s draft, and the first rounder that Miami owes them from the Ricky Davis trade to move up one spot to #2, wouldn’t Miami have a hard time saying “no” if they truly were interested in Mayo?  As a Timberwolves fan, wouldn’t you LOVE McHale if he pulled that off and Minnesota landed Beasely?

Glen Taylor is a loyalty guy and it’s apparent that McHale won’t lose his job, regardless of what happens. You do have to remember this organization was on the rise for seven or eight years until 2004 when it got to the Western Conference Finals then the following year fell to .500, and the last few years since have been pretty bad. McHale probably shouldn’t have his job based on the past few years but he has a chance to go out on a good note if he can get the Wolves back to a winning record before he walks away.

As far as trading up to Miami, I’m not sold on it. While it’s always fun to see the “win-now” approach, the Wolves are looking at three possible first round picks next year if Miami improves and picks later than the 10th pick. With cap space and three first rounders, the Wolves need to suck it up for another year and see what can happen next year. Granted we’re talking about Michael Beasley who could turn out to be an elite NBA scorer but reports on his work ethic make me nervous about trading that future first rounder we got from Miami. Mayo still seems to be the right pick at No. 3 if there is no movement.


Glenn Taylor may be a loyalty guy, but he is also a stupid guy.  We could debate the “McHale still has a job thing” for hours, but he has made enough dumb decisions where he should not be the T-Wolves GM.  Case closed.

Back to the purpose of this exchange, the third pick… I completely disagree with you on your trading up reasoning.  You cannot count on the 2009 Draft, because you are assuming that Miami gets out of the top ten, which could be a stretch if they don’t end up with Rose this year.  The third of their first rounders comes from Boston meaning it will likely be in the late 20’s.  I think if Minnesota can move up one spot to get Beasley without giving up more than one or two conditional future first-rounders, they HAVE to do it.  You’re telling me a front court of Al Jefferson and Michael Beasley for potentially the next 10-12 years wouldn’t be worth giving up an extra pick or two down the road?  And I don’t think it would be a “win now” approach because drafting one spot higher doesn’t guarantee anything.  You are still building for the future.  Just having Big Al and Beasley wouldn’t make Minnesota a playoff contender so they’re still lottery bound next year.  And since the T-Wolves aren’t going to be attracting any big name free agents to the Land of 10,000 Lakes anytime soon, they need to build through the draft and try to bring in a future superstar prospect. 

My final word:  Love makes the most sense at #3, but Mayo may be the “safer” pick.

How could Miami not get out of the top 10 assuming they add one of the best players? With a healthy Wade playing next to Marion for the full season, in the weaker conference they should be able to sneak into the playoffs or at least be right in the race until the end of the season. I guess for me I’m not sold on Michael Beasley as a main piece of the Wolves rebuilding project. I’m not saying I would be upset if we ended up with him but I have a tough time giving those future first rounders up, I’d consider Boston’s, not Miami’s.

I’m all about the cap space right now, if the Wolves are patient, someone will come here because the NBA is the land of overpaid athletes. The Wolves will use a strategy that has recently worked for both Orlando and Utah where you overpay a player who is good but by no means worth the money you’d give them. Rashard Lewis got a monster contract and at the time, Carlos Boozer and Memhet Okur got crazy deals though they have justified them with their play. Take for instance this offseason, if the Wolves had cap space you’d see them interested in restricted free agents Andre Iguodala, Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Emeka Okafor and free agent Antawn Jamison. Cap space and picks are attractive right now for a loyal T’Wolves fan.

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Comments

  1. Peter Christian says

    O.J. Mayo scares me as a T-Wolf. I smell Marbury happening all over again because in 3 years when Mayo is going to be screaming for his money, Glen Taylor will probably be looking to extend Al (who will be one of the top 5 players in the game at that point). Plus, from watching Mayo on multiple occasions this past season I was thoroughly unimpressed. To start the season he was a selfish kid trying to live up to the hype and he struggled against NCAA opponents. It wasn’t until he settled into his role on the team until USC started playing well and even then he wasn’t necessarily dominating on the collegiate level. I understand he is a 20-year old raw talent that looks amazing in work outs but the truth (not Paul Pierce) is that I would much rather see the Timberwolves draft a player that was able to dominate at the college level and would be able to adapt to the NBA game a bit more quickly. As a Bruin fan I would be enamored to see K-Love alongside (had to avoid the “Love to see Love” comment) Jefferson as he was able to dominate his collegiate opponents and I find it much more likely that a player like Love or Lopez will be able to make that leap in the NBA rather than Mayo who had to step back because he was not able to dominate like he was expected. How is Mayo supposed to be able to be worth a potential #3 pick and be a dominant scorer in the NBA when he couldn’t do it at USC.

    No matter what McHale and Taylor do, they are in a tough spot and I hope they make the right choice but I expect them to fubar it quite badly.

  2. paulmbanks says

    It sucks how the buzz this town had around the #1 pick in the draft has died out already. The whole Doug Collins rejection and the general uninspiring nature of the Vinny “of the black” hire has already killed that off. It will be very interesting though to see who goes #3, as everyone pretty much has the first two set in stone….

  3. Cano's Cards says

    I heard rumors of the Bucks offering #8 and Charlie Villanueva to T-Wolves for #3

  4. Peter Christian says

    If that offer was true it would be great if it was a guarantee that Love would be there. I guess if I was McHale I would try and throw Marko Jaric into any deal that involved the Wolves trading down just to get his Adrianna Lima-nailing ass out of Minnesota.

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