Minnesota Timberwolves: Playing the NBA Draft Lottery

TK on ToastSenior Analyst IMay 21, 2008

On Tuesday night, the NBA held their annual Draft Lottery to determine the order of picks 1-13 in June’s amateur draft. As was the norm for most of the first 10 years of the franchise’s existence, as well as the last few years, the Timberwolves were prominently involved. Here are our expert takes on some of the proceedings from the lottery. Obviously, we will have a more in-depth look once we get closer to the actual draft weekend.

Question 1: The Chicago Bulls and their 1.7 percent odds became the second-least likely team in lottery history to land the No. 1 pick last night (second only to the 1993 Magic). Two-part question: Was this a fix? Who do they take at #1?

Dogg: I don’t think it is ever a fix, but a redux for sure. I think they take Derek Rose. The Bulls have a number of players worth something to other teams so I would be dealing. I would trade Gordon/Deng/Hughes, Gooden/Nocioni because they have too many guys who can play ball. I would personally deal Gooden and Gordon for picks or a better top player. Whatever they decide to do, the Bulls should be near the top of the Eastern Conference next year.

Fuzz: Tim Donaghy is out of the league, so I don’t think it was fixed. Kidding. I don’t think it was fixed, I just think the Bulls got extremely lucky and something like that never happens to our club. We’ve never had the first pick and we have been an abysmal franchise. That’s the part that sucks. Anyways, I see the Bulls taking Beasley. This is a hard pick, in the sense that they have a ton of forwards and a ton of guards. Beasley or Rose is going to add more competition to their team and bump someone out. They could be looking to trade some of the riff-raff on their roster to clear some things out. With guards Hinrich, Gordon Duhon, and Hughes, I see them going with the forward Michael Beasley.

Q: Apparently I’m the only conspiracy theorist in the group. I feel like the NBA is the shadiest professional sport by far. Can you imagine the uproar if an NFL official was being charged with fixing games? NFL Live would be on in 24/7. Somehow the NBA manages to sweep it under the rug. There have been a ton of sketchy lottery proceedings as well: the Knicks getting Ewing, the Magic getting Shaq, etc.

Now you have the Bulls, a major market team (and former home of Basketball God) who is down on their luck and needs a boost, beating unbelievable odds to get the first pick and their choice of two instant studs. Naw, that’s not fixed at all. Anyways, I think they should take Beasley with the makeup of their team. They have some talented guards and he would make their team much more complete. That said, I think they’ll end up taking Rose, because everyone is scared of passing on the next Chris Paul.


Question 2: The Wolves landed at No. 3not great, but not terrible either. This means they have their pick of anyone outside of Beasley and Rose. Make your case for who we should pick and why.

Dogg—I think this draft is loaded with players. I believe our franchise will take Brook Lopez or O.J. Mayo. What do I think we should do? Trade down and get D.J. Augustin. Try and move into the 1st round with another pick and take Robin Lopez or Roy Hibbert. I know both won’t be NBA superstars, but this team needs a true center who can rebound, play very good defense, and take the load off Big Al a little bit. Maybe even a guy like Kosta Koufos, if he can manage to guard low post players effectively. He seems to be a little perimeter-oriented but he’ll be a good offensive player in the NBA.

Q—For sure, we should take Lopez. He’s already proven that he can score the ball, plus he’s 7 feet tall. At the very least, he’ll be a presence defensively and on the boards, maybe more than that. I know the “experts” are going to yell until they are blue in the face that Mayo is the third best player in this draft, but I don’t like him for the Wolves. We have some talent at the guard position; we don’t have a center. If you can get a center to pair with Big Al for the next 10 years, your rebuilding project is going well.

Fuzz—Brook Lopez, Center. Our main needs are at Center and Point Guard. He fills one of these needs. He isn’t going to be a sexy pick, but we’re rebuilding here. We aren’t making the playoffs next year with anyone we draft, so I would like to go with a solid 7-footer. He’s not a stiff. He has moves and a reliable jump shot already. Plus, he in no way will demand the ball to score, leaving our main man Jefferson free to do what he does best. We’d have a very good frontcourt for years to come with Lopez.

Question 3: Okay, now for a little negativity. We know that McHale destroys just about everything he touches, so what is the worst case scenario for our pick and why?

Q—Is it possible for us to run out of time and lose the pick? If not, then it has to involve us taking some foreign pud (copyright Kevin Kelly) who never leaves his homeland or sees the inside of the Target Center. Since there are one or two guys like that projected in the top part of the draft, the likelihood of this happening seems extremely high right now.

Dogg—We take Danilo Gallinari from Italy. I know the league has some great foreign players, but most of them don’t pan out in the NBA.

Fuzz—A lot of people are jumping on the OJ Mayo bandwagon. He’s the risk/reward guy. Before the college season, he was the #1 pick. Now, he’s somewhere in the top 5. I’ve never liked him, so I don’t want him but I’m afraid we’re going to take him. I think he’s an egomaniac with a piss-poor attitude. The worst case scenario is for Mayo to turn out to be a superstar only to pull a Marbury and ship himself out of here. I’m stereotyping here, but guys like Mayo don’t want to be “stuck” here in Minnesota. We take him third, he rips it up and he’s gone in three years. That would suck…

Question 4: One last Wolves question: we have two of the top four picks in the second round. What are some names that you'd like to see us go after with these picks?

Fuzz—I think those picks will be based off what we do with our first rounder, obviously. If we take Lopez, we’d go with someone smaller with these picks. Vice versa if we take a guard/forward. Anyways, if there were a way that we could trade these picks to move up to the late first round and take a guy like Ty Lawson, I wouldn’t be pissed. I don’t know if this is even a possibility, but I would like them to make a move up if they could.

Dogg—If we take Brook Lopez with the No. 3 pick, I say we roll with Ty Lawson early in the second round. He is small but he’s got strength so I wouldn’t worry about him getting abused in the low post. This team needs a true PG and I think Ty Lawson can be effective in this league. The other guy who I think could have a solid NBA career coming out of the second round is D.J. White from Indiana. He seems he could be that guy off the bench who averages 10 and 5, which every good team needs.

Q—These guys hit the nail on the head in that picks 31 and 34 depend entirely on who we take at No. 3. Since this isn’t the NFL, I seriously doubt that we’ll be able to move up by exchanging the two of them either. So if we take Lopez at No. 3, then I’d like to see us go after at least one guard, maybe two. Some guys I wouldn’t mind seeing us take in the second round include: Ty Lawson, Kyle Weaver, Davon Jefferson, and Wayne Ellington.


Question 5: Make a callwho is the sleeper in this draft that no one is talking about right now?

Fuzz—Jerel McNeal. Kidding, he fucking blows. I like Donte Green from Syracuse. He’s been overshadowed since Day One. He was a top 10 freshman coming in last year, but all the accolades went to Beasley, Rose, Love, and Mayo. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds. He averaged nearly 18 points and seven boards a game his freshman year. A few casual college hoops fans don’t even probably know who he is. He projects in the mid-first round and could end up being the steal of the draft. His perimeter game improved greatly and if he could be a "three" in the NBA, he’d be lethal.

Q—I really like Davon Jefferson out of USC. He’s a 6-foot-8 wing who can score, rebound, and defend. Obviously, as is the case with most draft sleepers, it is going to depend on who he gets drafted by. If he can get on a team where he can fill a niche, a la Brandon Bass in Dallas, then he could be very good. I’d love to see the Wolves pick him up at 31 to come off the bench as Brewer’s sub when he inevitably gets benched.

Dogg—I like Kyle Weaver out of Washington State. He knows how to play tough defense coming from that school and seems to have good NBA game. I’ve seen him in the low block and also on the perimeter with scoring abilities from both positions. I would love to see the Wolves select him in the second round.