NBA Draft 2011: What Does Minnesota Do If Kyrie Irving Falls to No. 2?
Most everyone following the 2011 NBA Draft, including myself, sees Duke point guard Kyrie Irving as the man who should and will go first to the Cleveland Cavaliers. His combination of speed, basketball IQ, court vision and the ability to shoot the ball are a rare combination that would be very difficult to pass up.
Yet, there are still people who believe there is a chance that Arizona combo forward Derrick Williams could take the top spot.
The Minnesota Timberwolves currently own the second pick in the draft, and with Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio signed, it would make for an intriguing scenario if Irving were to fall to the Wolves. While still unlikely, stranger things have definitely happened.
At this point, after two long years of waiting for Rubio to finally sign a deal, I would have to assume that most people would want to at least see what he can do in a Timberwolves uniform, rather than immediately trading him. This is partially why trading Irving rather than "La Pistola" would be the correct move in my eyes, among other reasons.
There is one other key element to keeping Rubio: trade value. Rubio's down year in Spain has lowered his value somewhat significantly, and a guy like Kyrie Irving has as close to sky-high value as anyone going into this draft. With the combination of other pieces on the Wolves roster, they could very well flip Irving for a veteran shooting guard or center; positions that they are greatly lacking.
If Irving Falls to #2, Who Would You Trade?
At the same time, the trade rumors with the Timberwolves involving their No. 2 selection with teams like Indiana (for Danny Granger) and 76ers (presumably for Andre Igoudala) would be a little more complicated, as both have young point guards (Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday) that they very well may want to attempt to build around.
While neither of them came into the league with the same expectations as most scouts have for Irving, it would likely be hard for GM's to make the move, knowing the promise that both of them have shown.
Another factor that comes into play is Jonny Flynn. His value would likely be lowered, as he would be seen in many eyes to being the fourth string point guard on the roster lowering an already tarnished reputation he had coming into the league. It would be hard to package both of them in a single trade, as most teams are very simply only looking for one point guard, if any at all.
The idea of trading Ricky Rubio is the other option to be pondered here, but it just doesn't seem like the right call, unless Kahn is somehow more in love with Irving (which is near impossible, considering the abyss of quotes talking up Rubio's potential contributions to the Wolves). The Wolves will receive more in return in trading Irving, and that is the move that likely should be made.
Keeping both of them is the final option. Sadly, it's an option that the Wolves have attempted before, in a sense. They learned the hard way with the Kevin Love/Al Jefferson experiment that having two very talented players on a young, losing roster, is a recipe for disaster. All that builds from it is frustration, a lack of playing time for one of them and less team cohesiveness, usually something already hard to come by on a rebuilding roster.
With all that said, it would be all up to David Kahn in that scenario. He will most likely receive some heat from a large majority of people, no matter what he does. There are just as many Irving fans as Rubio fans here, and someone's feelings would get hurt.
So, for the sake of Wolves fans everywhere, it may save a headache or two if Irving just went first overall.
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