Minnesota Timberwolves: Building for the Future with the No. 4 Pick

Joe M.Correspondent IIMay 31, 2011

Ray Allen Re-duex? Could UCONN's Kemba Walker suit up for the Wolves @ #4 next month's draft?
Ray Allen Re-duex? Could UCONN's Kemba Walker suit up for the Wolves @ #4 next month's draft?Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Late last week, a rumored three-way deal between the Cleveland Caviliers, Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves surfaced where the trade would break down like this:

Cleveland would get a No. 2 pick (from Timberwolves), which they would use to select Arizona forward Derrick Williams. Under the deal, they would absorb Richard Hamilton’s two-year, $25 million contract and take on a max contract as part of losing LeBron James and would effectively release Hamilton.

Detroit would get the salary cap relief from losing the Hamilton contract.

Minnesota would get the No. 4 pick (from Cleveland) and the No. 8 pick from Detroit.

This is a stupid deal if you are the Detroit Pistons, and it will take the least amount of time and effort to break down their paltry sum. All they get is the contract of the disgruntled and declining vet Richard Hamilton taken off their books. More startling, however, is the loss of a lottery pick, one they very much need in their rebuilding effort as the only marketable players they have now to build around are Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey.

Cleveland, of course, comes out the big winners, since with the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft, they would get Kyrie Irving first overall and follow that up with Williams, giving them a nice mix of young and old in their projected starting lineup of:

PG Irving

SG Hickson

SF Williams

PF Jamison

C Varejao

While it's certainly not a guarantee of success, it brings a city hope that had none after LoseBron gave them the shaft, as only a selfish, arrogant, thoughtless punk could do.

Minnesota, on the other hand, gets a nice package for a pick that they really have no use for. If they couldn’t get Irving, they certainly don’t need Williams, who would be blocked from the starting lineup by forwards Michael Beasley and Kevin Love (at least until he goes to Los Angeles).

Most rational Wolves fans would like to see a combination of Turkish center Enes Kanter at No. 4, which, if taken at that pick, will be seen as a good value, or Kemba Walker (whomever Utah doesn’t take at No. 3). With their size of Memhet Okur, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Milsap, it really would make no sense for them to add another big man in Kanter. Leaving him ripe for the Wolves, however, a real problem arises if they were to trade the pick to an unforeseen team.

Say the Wolves get Kanter, who I’m not in love with as a Wolves fan, you can’t argue he fits a need and would send Darko (eventually) to the bench where he belongs.

Next, with the No. 8 pick I’d like to see them pull a Christian Ponder and reach for Provindence G-F Marshon Brooks, who, as the second leading scorer in the nation behind Jimmer, with his stock rising, likely won’t be around at No. 20 anyway.

Finally, the Wolves would be wise to trade their final first-rounder, the 20th overall pick, to a fading team like the Phoenix Suns or the New Orleans Hornets for their 2012 first-round pick, as it could be very high in the lottery once Chris Paul and Steve Nash leave their teams via free agency and these teams truly begin to suck.

The Wolves, as part of an ill-fated 2007 trade for then-rising point guard Marko Jaric from the Los Angeles Clippers, must forfeit their unprotected first-rounder received in the deal to Los Angeles no matter what, even if that pick wins the 2012 lottery. Many Wolves fans have already projected its fate, knowing Stern and his distaste for the Minnesota franchise since the 1998 Joe Smith, illegal contract deal.

Getting back into the first round, and possibly the lottery via a trade with either of the above teams would be wise since next year’s draft is supposed to be deeper and better than this one (although, I think there will be a few more pleasant surprises—Alec Burks, Tristian Thompson, Brooks).

2013 Wolves lineup (as I believe the entire 2011-12 season will be lost to the lockout):

PG Rubio

SG Brooks or Walker

SF Love

PF Beasley

C Darko or Kanter

Not bad. It's got the international flare of the San Antonio Spurs that also follows the way the league is moving. What’s more, in Oklahoma City youth fashion, the old man of the group would be Darko at 27, or if he’s moved to the bench, Beasley at just 23.

If I’m the Wolves, this is the way I go. Of course, with David Kahn you never know, which is what makes this time of year so frustrating, just waiting for him to blow it. As real Wolves fans, (those of us left) we simply don’t trust him on draft day (seeing 2009 and 2010 as templates) and don’t want him anywhere near the team on this day making decisions as a result.

References from Chris Broussard's ESPN.com report directly contributed to the content of this article.