NBA Draft 2011: 5 Players To Watch for the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves are at a crossroads. Although he is safe for this year, there is already talk of removing Vice President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn. Head coach Kurt Rambis may not even return for the upcoming 2011-12 season.
Clearly, this organization has some major decisions to make. They have lacked a clear direction since Kahn has taken over. Still, this draft provides an opportunity for the Timberwolves to either find a player to build around or trade the pick for an experienced player to lead the team.
For now, let's assume the Timberwolves will keep the pick and look at five players that could fit with this team.
5. Marshon Brooks
Marshon Brooks is a guy that the Timberwolves need to look at if he is available at the No. 20 slot. There are a couple of specific assets that he brings to the table immediately.
First, he is a self-made player. Brooks played for four years at Providence, improving his statistics each year. His field-goal percentage improved dramatically, reaching a high of 48.7 percent during his senior year. Brooks clearly has a work ethic, and his focused attitude would help a team operating within a nonchalant culture.
Second, he brings instant scoring. I like to compare Brooks to Jamal Crawford. He can make a living in this league coming off the bench (in some situations, scoring) and bringing an instant jolt to a team. The Timberwolves do not have a guy like this, and Brooks would provide much more production than Wayne Ellington has with his minutes thus far in his career.
Brooks will have a long career. It is not every year that guys with his experience and scoring statistics on his resume are available. He would be a great value selection for the Timberwolves with their No. 20 pick, especially if the alternative is a European big man we will never see in a 'Wolves uniform.
4. Chris Singleton
The Timberwolves were 10th in the league in scoring during the 2010-11 season. They were also first in allowing points. Yes, they gave up the most points in the league last year. This is partly due to their pace of play. However, they are a young team that lacks defensive fundamentals and solid coaching.
Chris Singleton can be a cog in the redesign of Minnesota's defense. He is an athletic freak at 6'9", 225 lbs. There may not be another player in the draft that can slow down marquee players in the NBA like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.
Trenton Hassell was the most recent Timberwolves shutdown defender. Yes, Trenton Hassell. He is a distant memory for most fans.
The problem with Singleton is that he may not be available for Minnesota. He is rising up draft boards and will likely be a mid-first round pick. Still, they should consider moving up from the No. 20 spot to select this special talent. It would be a pick that would actually make sense from a team that has a shaky drafting history.
3. Bismack Biyombo
If the Timberwolves were to come out of this draft with Bismack Biyombo, it will hopefully not be by way of the No. 2 pick. However, Biyombo is one of the more attractive prospects after the "Big Two" of Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams.
As mentioned in the case of Chris Singleton, the Timberwolves definitely need defensive help. More than anything, they need someone to protect the rim. Biyombo can provide this for the 'Wolves.
Biyombo is described as a glorified Ben Wallace. Although an image of Ben Wallace air-balling a free throw does not seem to be worthy of a lottery pick, his value to the contending Pistons teams was beyond statistics.
Wallace is the type of player that a team needs to win. He does everything that the big-time players are too lazy to do. So, if Biyombo truly is a better version of Wallace, the Timberwolves should consider trading down to pick him.
This scenario works out perfectly if David Kahn can get a veteran that he cherishes, along with Biyombo.
2. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker can be a franchise point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The only problem is that the man making the decisions is in love with another point guard that has not played a minute in the NBA. Yes, David Kahn truly believes Ricky Rubio is the next big thing.
He also believes Rubio will be in a Timberwolves uniform next year. If he does commit to playing in Minnesota before the draft, the Walker scenario goes down the drain.
However, Rubio can be used as a trading chip rather than the No. 2 pick. Meanwhile, Kemba Walker can be selected as a franchise-changing point guard.
For some reason, many people do not see Kemba Walker as this type of player. He did win a national championship and dominate the far-and-away best conference in the country, but many people see him as far superior to Kyrie Irving.
Sorry Jimmer Fredette, but Walker was the most dominant player in college basketball last year. He had to play against NBA-sized bodies on a regular basis, and of course, led his team to a title.
Walker is worthy of the No. 2 pick, and If Kahn feels the way I do, he will consider giving him the keys to the Timberwolves vehicle.
1. Derrick Williams
If the Timberwolves keep the No. 2 pick, Derrick Williams should be the only option.
For David Kahn's sake, I hope Michael Beasley is not in his long-term plans as a pillar of this franchise. This season only cemented preconceived notions about Beasley. He is extremely talented, yet lacks the work ethic and focus of a franchise player.
In a dream scenario, the 'Wolves could draft Williams and after a year or so, use Beasley off the bench as an elite sixth man. However, Beasley would probably not take on this role too well.
Still, Williams is supremely talented compared to the rest of this draft class alongside Kyrie Irving, and Minnesota would be mistaken to waste the pick by stretching for someone not worthy of this selection.
Williams' position in the NBA is still up in the air. Many people originally looked at him as a small forward, but he has looked like a solid power forward after measuring out impressively in the NBA draft combine.
This may complicate matters for the 'Wolves, but at this point, they should be listening to offers for every player on the roster. Yes, that includes Kevin Love.
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