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Minnesota Timberwolves: A Glimmer of Hope in Kyrie Irving

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Minnesota Timberwolves: A Glimmer of Hope in Kyrie Irving
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I'll try to keep this short, as there's a 75 percent chance this article will be a waste of my time. In fact, most remaining Timberwolves fans will tell you that, although it's not mathematically sound logic, there's a 100 percent chance that this is a pointless exercise. 

The Wolves' horrid NBA Lottery luck is well-documented, dating back to 1992, when the Wolves entered the lottery with the league's worst record and left with the third pick. Superstar centers Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, they of a combined 22 All Star games, would go 1-2. The Wolves were forced to settle for Beverly Hills 90210's Christian Laettner.

Since their 1989 inception, the Wolves have never moved up from their projected draft slot. Of course, that streak will continue tonight, because their 17-65 record projects them No. 1. Despite their status as ping pong regulars, the Wolves have never drafted No. 1. In fact, they've never even drafted No. 2. For a franchise with just seven winning seasons in their 22-year history, including 11 bottom-five finishes, that is a mind-boggling statistic.

While some have resorted to NBA conspiracy theories, sane Wolves fans (an oxymoron, I know) like myself feel hopeful exactly one day every year. The Wolves are a combined 78-250 in the four seasons since Kevin Garnett left, but tonight could change everything.

To be precise, the weighted lottery system gives the Wolves a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, a 21.5 percent chance at No. 2, a 17.8 percent chance at No. 3 and a 35.7 percent chance of falling all the way to No. 4.

What pick will the Timberwolves land in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery

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Many experts have pegged this as a "two-player draft," between Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams (although Turkish center Enes Kanter is gaining steam). Naturally, Wolves fans fully expect the team draw No. 3.

If, however, the impossible happens and the Wolves win the lottery, the choice should be an easy one. 

Kyrie Irving is widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft—perhaps the only "can't miss" player available. In the NBA, I'm always an advocate of taking the best player, regardless of position. At 6'2", 180, Irving's a true point guard with an extremely well-rounded game, and he possesses all the necessary intangibles you look for in a floor general. 

If you prefer to draft for need, he's also a better fit than Williams. The team's two true building blocks, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, are forwards. Two other relatively promising pieces, Wesley Johnson and Anthony Randolph, are also forwards. 

Of course, David Kahn's planet revolves around Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio's star. However, Rubio's still no lock to ever play for the Wolves, and even if he does, reports are that he's regressed overseas. In short, he's far from a sure thing. If he shows up stateside and excels in the NBA, that's a good problem to have.

In Minnesota, Kahn is to point guards what Matt Millen is to wide receivers. In 2009 he attempted to pluck Rubio from his DKV Joventut club with the fifth pick, and then swung and missed on another point guard, Jonny Flynn, with the sixth pick. Many also make the mistake of adding Ty Lawson to Kahn's point guard tab (he was drafted for Denver and was never going to be a Wolf). Ramon Sessions was garbage in Minnesota, and Luke Ridnour is just a guy.

For the first time since that fateful 1992 lottery, the Wolves have the highest odds of winning. With each passing day, Rubio's bandwagon gets more lonely—Kyrie Irving is the one player in this draft who provides a glimmer of hope for this ailing franchise. 

I was going to keep this short... Here's hoping these words are still relevant tomorrow morning.

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