Monday, June 28, 2010

Grading the NBA 2010 Minnesota Timberwolves Draft

New Timberwolf Wesley Johnson dunking at SyracuseWhen a team goes 15-67, the draft is what fans look forward to in an attempt to land a star player. Hoping to land the #1 or #2 selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves settled with the #4 pick thanks to the wonderful draft lottery. In Minnesota's 13 opportunities to select in the lottery, they have either stayed the same or fallen back all 13 times. This year, Minnesota had the second worst record and thus the second best chance of landing the #1 spot. Luckily, Minnesota had three 1st round picks to work with, the most in the draft.

Fast forward to Thursday, June 24. The Timberwolves selected Syracuse small forward Wesley Johnson fourth overall. The debate was between Johnson and power forward/center DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky. Time will tell which player the Timberwolves should have selected but as of right now Johnson was the pick Minnesota needed to make. Minnesota desperately needs athleticism and shooting, and Johnson best fits that need. Minnesota holds the right to Nikola Pekovic from the 2008 NBA Draft who could potentially play center. Factor that in with Al Jefferson still currently on the roster and you can see there are two players who could play center if needed. By the way the team still might bring back Darko Milic, a center who finished the season last year with Minnesota. The power forward position minutes should be given to Kevin Love, the smooth-rebounding 21 year old with endless potential. With Cousins, it could have potentially taken away minutes from Love.

New Timberwolf Martell Webster The second pick Minnesota had in the 1st round was #16. After picking Luke Babbitt from Nevada, Minnesota traded him and Ryan Gomes to the Portland Trailblazers for another small forward in Martell Webster. This one was the head scratcher. Always keeping it interesting on draft day, Minnesota did not feel any players left at #16 were worthy of making an immediate contribution. Webster is 23, having being drafted out of high school so he has already been in the league for 5 years. Last season he averaged 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds. He will get his chance to prove himself in Minnesota so we will see if the production comes that wasn't there in Portland.

Lazar Hayward showing emotion at MarquetteThe third pick Minnesota had in the 1st round was #23. With smooth shooting Jordan Crawford on the board and center Hassan Whiteside, I thought Minnesota would take one of these two players. Turns out we packaged the pick to Washington for the #30 and #35 picks. Crawford was off the board then by 30, and Minnesota selected Lazar Hayward from Marquette, another small forward/shooting guard. He seems to be an athletic type and has a good head on his shoulders, so the hope is he can be a contributor off the bench. With the #35 pick, Minnesota selected Serbian Nemanja Bjelica, a hybrid 6'10 forward.

Paulo PrestesThe final pick was #45 Paulo Prestes, a 22 year old Brazilian center. New Assistant GM Tony Ronzone is considered one of the best international scouts and had to have had a hand in the final two selections. Hopefully Bjelica and Prestes can get the minutes overseas and pan out someday for the Timberwolves. I would rather have second round draft picks play overseas than either being cut by the team or playing in the NBA-Developmental League.

Overall, you can't put a grade to a draft until you see how the players play. I hope with Johnson, Webster, and Hayward, the Minnesota Timberwolves have improved their shooting and athleticism. Second round picks are always a toss up, but Prestes and Bjelica could maybe join the team down the road and contribute. Free agency begins July 1st and with General Manager David Kahn, you never know what to expect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

at first i was disappointed with the draft. now i think im swaying a little bit hoping that webster, johnson, and hawyard can perform. twolves must make some strides this season