On Tuesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves removed any anticipation their fans had for Thursday’s 2012 NBA Draft by dealing the No. 18 pick to the Houston Rockets for Chase Budinger and the rights to Israeli Lior Eliyahu.
Budinger is a third-year wing from Arizona. He spent his entire three years with the Houston Rockets after being selected 44th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2009 NBA Draft.
He was traded to the Houston Rockets that night and played for current Wolves coach Rick Adelman for two seasons while with Houston.
Budinger, the centerpiece of this deal, has averaged 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game for his career. He has shot 36.3 percent from 3-point land and 43.5 percent from the field.
He is known as a shooter who is improving as an overall player.
Last season Budinger shot a career-best from deep, hitting 40.2 percent of his attempts.
But, for what they got in return, the Timberwolves gave up too much to acquire Budinger.
There’s nothing wrong with Budinger as a player. He fits a need for the Timberwolves as someone who can stretch the floor for Ricky Rubio.
He is a young, developing player. At 24 years old, he has shown abilities in the open court.
But, Budinger will never be a stud in the NBA. He may be able to knock down open 3-pointers and do a little here and there, but that’s a skill set that can be typically acquired for much less than a mid-first round draft pick.
Had Minnesota kept the pick, they would have had the opportunity to draft a talented player.
St. John’s Moe Harkless or Iowa State’s Royce White were both likely to be available at No. 18. Both players, minus the shooting concerns of Harkless and the off-court concerns of White, project to be very strong NBA players.
Then, that player could have been dealt at a later date for a better player than Budinger who fits what the franchise needs at that point in time.
The deal leaves Minnesota with no first round pick and the No. 58 pick in Thursday’s draft.
Minnesota’s front office made this move, probably because they did not believe Duke’s Austin Rivers or Washington’s Terrence Ross would fall to No. 18. Ross and Rivers were the two players most frequently linked to Minnesota once the lottery was determined.
With Rivers now projected as a top 13 pick and Ross to go shortly thereafter, Minnesota had to believe there wasn’t a shooting guard or wing player worth taking at that spot.
Because of that, the franchise opted to have Budinger serve as its first-round pick this year.