2011 NBA Draft Lottery: Predictions for Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves' Pick

Joseph Fafinski@Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IMay 17, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Lottery: Predictions for Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves' Pick

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on while taking on the Hampton Pirates during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Timberwolves, for at least one day now, are perhaps the hot topic of the NBA. The draft lottery begins tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET, and it is a big day to be a Wolves fan.

    It is after the lottery that we will realize which teams will pick in what spots, and the Pups, who sported the league's worst record this season, have the best chance to receive the first pick.

    Altogether the T-Wolves have 250 chances (out of a possible 1,000) to receive the first pick.

    I have put together four predictions on how I think things will play out tonight and how it will affect June's draft.

    With all that in mind, thanks for reading!

4. If They Don't End Up Picking First, Expect the Wolves to Trade Down

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 26:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats goes up for a rebound against Jamal Coombs-McDaniel #4 and Charles Okwandu #35 of the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at
    Harry How/Getty Images

    What is the one thing the Timberwolves are looking for in this draft?

    Your answer: Kyrie Irving.

    If the ping-pong balls don't go our way (and, as history has it, they don't), I expect to see the T-Wolves trade down in order to give someone else a chance at a player that we don't need, like Derrick Williams of Arizona.

    There's no chance that we'll end up with a guy like Williams and call it a successful draft without dealing him.

    However, we do have David Kahn as a manager, so who knows? His crazy being might even select Williams over Kyrie!

    Wolves fans everywhere (well, the handful of us anyway) will be saying a collective prayer if something crazy like that were to happen.

3. No Kyrie Irving = Ricky Rubio

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    BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain looks across the court in the gold medal game against the United States during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    This prediction is as bold as they come.

    Ricky Rubio, who has been selfishly overseas for almost two extra years now, is planning on making his choice by the end of the summer.

    If the team drafts Kyrie Irving (or, for some odd reason, Kemba Walker), Rubio will be asking for a trade faster than Barney Stinson accepts a challenge.

    If no point guard is drafted for this season, expect the crybaby Rubio to finally make his way over and play in the NBA the way he was supposed to in the first place.

2. With the 20th Pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves Select Chris Singleton, FSU

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Chris Singleton #31 of the Florida State Seminoles dunks against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texa
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    What can I say about Chris Singleton that I haven't already?

    He was a phenomenal anchor on both sides of the floor during his time at Florida State.

    He was college basketball's best defensive player this past season, hands down.

    In trying to come up with the perfect NBA comparison for Singleton, the best I could come up with is Gerald Wallace. Wallace has been one of the NBA's most underrated players for a long time, but due to his efforts Singleton was nearly the collegiate equivalent.

    In addition, he is a good rebounder for his size (6'9", 225 pounds) and can bang physically with the best at both the small and power forward positions.

    If selected by the Wolves, Singleton would be a fresh breath of air off the bench, a guy who can relieve the likes of either Michael Beasley or Kevin Love, neither of whom possesses the defensive ability that the former Seminole does. He complements both of those players' offensive talents very well.

    Since the 20th spot is already locked for the T-Wolves and we don't have to sit through more lottery balls, I can almost say with confidence that Singleton will be available since most mock drafts I have seen list him somewhere from 21st to 24th.

    If those so-called "experts" knew anything about the Timberwolves, they would know that Chris Singleton is the perfect selection.

1. With the First Pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves Select Kyrie Irving, Duke

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on against the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Timberwolves had the worst record in all of basketball this season, and their 17-65 clip has given them the best chance to land the No. 1 pick overall.

    With a 25 percent shot (250 out of 1,000 balls), this draft will feel like an absolute waste if we are not able to snag Kyrie Irving.

    It's a possibility, but as Minnesota sports fans we shouldn't count on it.

    In any case, Irving is an excellent point guard, a guy who could easily be given the keys to the offense from the moment he steps into the Target Center.

    The 6'2", 180-pound Irving is an upgrade at the point guard position in many aspects for the T-Wolves. His ball-handling is tremendous, as is his ability to fit the ball into very tight corridors.

    Irving is the definition of a true point guard, and I'm not entirely sure his durability should be an issue heading into the draft. Chances are if he is recovered there's no way his stock should fall.

    He can shoot lights out, a true testimony to his all-around game. His jump shot has great form, and he will be able to adjust to the NBA three-point line with ease.

    Lastly, he is a huge upgrade over Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn defensively. As soon as he becomes a part of the roster, he will immediately become the team's best perimeter defender. As you can tell, I'm a big proponent of the Wolves acquiring defense because, well, let's just face it—we had none last year. When Wesley Johnson and Darko Milicic are your best players on that side of the ball, there is definitely room for improvement.

    If the ping-pong balls roll our way, there is no chance we pass up this guy, even if that means sacrificing the rights of Ricky Rubio. Rubio is good, sure, but he's no Kyrie Irving.

    Stay tuned to Bleacher Report to follow all NBA Draft Lottery news, including updated 2011 NBA Mock Drafts and immediate reaction and analysis to the updated NBA Draft Order.