In 1992, the Minnesota Timberwolves fans had to feel pretty good about the opportunity of their favorite franchise to turn things around by getting a once in generation type of Center.
Shaquille O’Neal was the consensus number one pick although a compelling case was being made by Georgetown Coach John Thompson for his former player, Alonzo Mourning. Timberwolves' fans were salivating over the prospect of seeing either player develop into an NBA star in the Twin Cities.
Unfortunately, the Timberwolves did not get their lottery ticket punched and fell to the third spot in the draft. Minnesota drafted Christian Laettner who was a solid player but not the type of game changing player that O’Neal and Mourning were.
In this year’s draft, most commentators feel that the top two players are John Wall of Kentucky and Evan Turner of Ohio State.
The Wolves are in desperate need of a scorer that can play the wing and who can generate his own shot. Minnesota desperately needs someone who can put fans in the stands.
The only two players that fit that bill are Wall and Turner. Minnesota needs to get Wall or Turner to truly begin the rebuilding process.
Minnesota by virtue of their record should get either the first or second pick in the draft. However, there are no guarantees for the Wolves and Minnesota could slip to the fifth spot in the draft.
Will 2010 have Minnesota Timberwolves' fans feeling like it is déjà vu in 1992 all over again?
What happens if Minnesota drops to the fifth spot in the draft?
The Timberwolves would get a solid player in the fifth spot. Minnesota depending on the teams that selected before them under this scenario would most likely get the opportunity to draft Wesley Johnson of Syracuse, Al Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest or Cole Aldrich of Kansas.
Johnson, Aminu and Aldrich are all solid players that could come in immediately and help Minnesota. However, none of the above players will likely emerge and become a marquee player that Wall and Turner are expected to become in the NBA.
Yes, Aldrich as the local kid returning home from Kansas will provide a small bump at the box office but Cole won’t be able to bring the buzz that Wall or Turner will be able to create.
Minnesota needs someone to come in right away and give Wolves' fans something to get excited about next season.
President David Kahn will be faced with an interesting dilemma if his club slips to fifth in the NBA draft.
Would Kahn package Minnesota’s rights to Ricky Rubio and the Wolves' fifth overall draft pick for John Wall?
Rubio may develop into a sensational talent in the NBA however he is still under contract for another year and the earliest he could get to Minnesota would be for the 2011-2012 season.
The Timberwolves' fans need an immediate shot in the arm. They don’t need to be told to wait for next year’s draft as Minnesota is building for the future. Trading the rights to Rubio may jumpstart the Wolves.
Kahn should pull the trigger on a trade for Wall if Minnesota finds itself in the “unfortunate” position of having the fifth pick.
The dilemma becomes even more intriguing for Kahn if either DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky or Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech is still around.
Cousins and Favors both have issues which may prevent them from achieving their full potential. However, both players also have an upside that could cause people several years from now to question why they weren’t drafted number one overall in the draft.
What if Kahn has a chance to pick Cousins or Favors with the fifth pick in the draft?
Neither Cousins nor Favors will impact the box office as much as Wall but either player may make waiting for Rubio a little more palatable.
The decision of the Timberwolves to proceed with a trade for Wall in the scenario with Cousins or Favors as their pick at number five would be impacted by what player(s) they felt they could obtain later in the first-round.
My guess is that the Wolves would stand pat with their cards and try to secure an additional scorer to pair along with second year player Wayne Ellington.
Of course, the team that has the good fortune to draft Wall may be unwilling to trade him to the Wolves if Minnesota falls to the fifth spot.
Would Minnesota pursue Turner and give him the keys to the franchise if they fall to the fifth spot and are unable to get Wall?
Minnesota needs a scorer that can create his shot; Turner is the type of wing player the Wolves' franchise needs in their lineup.
Minnesota needs someone who will generate interest among the fan base to come see the Wolves play in Target Center; Turner as College Basketball’s Player of the Year will create excitement.
If the ping pong balls fall the right way, Minnesota will secure the rights to Wall or Turner and the rebuilding process will begin in earnest. Timberwolves' fans will call and begin ordering season tickets again.
Ping pong balls bounce the wrong way and Kahn will have some interesting choices to make on behalf of the Timberwolves.
The most interesting week of the 2010 NBA Basketball season has officially begun for the Timberwolves.