NBA Draft 2011: Are the Milwaukee Bucks a Dark Horse for the Wolves' No. 2 Pick?
By now we all know that the Wolves No. 2 is more than available. In fact, at this point I would be shocked if the Wolves draft in that spot on draft night. It seems like this may turn out to be a two-man class, and seeing as the Wolves already have Michael Beasley at small forward, they are going to see what they can get for Derrick Williams.
The same rumors keep resurfacing.
Right now, Monta Ellis, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee are at the top of the discussion as far as who will, or should be offered in exchange for the No. 2 pick. I'm not really a fan of any of those guys, throughout this process I have been more interested in less publicized ideas that seem to be a better fit.
For example, I recently wrote an article explaining why the Bobcats could put together a solid package for the No. 2 overall pick that just makes more sense than blowing $13 million a year on Andre Iguodala, who seems to be declining more than he is improving at this point. Yes, he provides perimeter defense, but he is really a small forward at heart, and there are definitely better players out there.
I think one team that can, and should, make a run at the pick is the Milwaukee Bucks.
One, because they have the assets to pull off a deal and two, because they have plenty of room for Williams. They need help at both forward positions, and could experiment with many different lineups to see exactly where Williams fits.
The deal I have in mind looks like this.
Milwaukee receives: No. 2 overall pick, No. 20 overall pick, Anthony Randolph
Minnesota receives: Andrew Bogut, No. 10 overall pick
If you think about that trade for a minute, I think it makes a lot of sense for both sides. Breaking it down further, I think Anthony Randolph and No. 20, is a lot more valuable than No. 10, and Bogut is safer than No. 2, but not necessarily better.
What's life without a little risk? Not to mention the Bucks unload a ton of money.
The Bucks seem to be under the impression they are still a top-tier team in the East, but let's face it, they are getting old, and they aren't going to beat the Heat or Bulls in the next three years, so why not try to obtain some good building blocks for the future, it just makes sense.
The Bucks receive two picks that they can use to fill any number of needs. I think they will obviously take Williams at two, but after that they could go many different directions.
John Salmons is now 31, and looks like he is past his prime, and Redd is likely leaving so they may look to grab a shooting guard potentially Josh Selby or Marshon Brooks. They could also try to fill the new void at center if Nikola Vucevic is still available.
The Bucks also receive Anthony Randolph. Randolph is a young forward that has always been highly regarded as far as potential goes, and finally showed some of it in Kevin Love's absence at the end of the year averaging 15 points and six rebounds a game in April with just 24 minutes a game. He is a great young forward and could one day be a solid starter for the Bucks.
Who would be the best player for the Wolves to pursue in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick?
This deal also works out well for the Minnesota Timberwolves. They can fill both of their current needs without giving up any of their core players. Randolph is solid, but he was stuck behind Kevin Love, and he's too small to play alongside him, making it tough.
I know I have been an opponent of trading for a guy that takes up the Wolves' cap room, but this trade could really help the Wolves at both center and shooting guard. Bogut obviously fills the teams center need with one of the best defensive/rebounding centers in the game. He finished fifth in rebounds per game, and led the league in blocks per game.
Kevin Love is pretty pathetic defensively, and trading for Bogut gives the Wolves a good defensive post presence that can allow Love to guard the opposing teams lesser defender and focus on rebounding. The Wolves don't need a lot of scoring out of their center, so Bogut's modest scoring averages don't really worry me. Thirteen points per game is just fine.
At this point, you're probably wondering how the Wolves fill their need at shooting guard through this trade. The answer is by using the No. 10 overall pick to draft shooting guard Klay Thompson.
The Wolves definitely need another scorer if they want to be competitive, and Thompson can be that guy. He has impressed many NBA teams with his silky jumper and looks to be one of the best pure scorers in this year's draft.
Who would this trade favor?
Imagine four years down the road. Klay Thompson can play 30 minutes a night for the Wolves and score in bunches while Wes Johnson takes the other 18 minutes at shooting guard while also picking up some minutes at small forward.
Johnson is the opposite of Thompson, he can come in and play great perimeter defense while using his athleticism to rebound and finish in transition. I really, really like that combo for the Wolves.
The future lineup for the Wolves would feature one pure passer and true point guard in Ricky Rubio, two premier scorers, Beasley and Thompson, one solid scorer/rebounder, Kevin Love, and one great post defender/rebounder, Andrew Bogut.
All of them are still extremely young and talented players, and with the right pieces off the bench, I think that lineup could one day make a deep playoff run. They have everything you need to be successful granted they all continue to improve.
Meanwhile, the Bucks lineup could one day feature Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph and Nikola Vucevic. That lineup is really dependent on the development of everyone except Salmons, but they are even younger than the Wolves and could be dominant for a decade.
The Bucks are starting to show their age on the court and need to infuse their team with young talent. This trade could be a good way to do that, while also saving a ton of money and possibly opening up some cap room.
In order for this deal to happen, the Bucks will have to move fast as the draft is approaching and it seems like everybody wants the No. 2 pick. David Kahn's phone will likely be ringing off the hook right up until draft night with GM's inquiring about that No. 2 pick, maybe the final call will be made by the Milwaukee Bucks. There's only one way to find out.
Follow me on twitter @MaxMinsker and be sure to check out my live draft blog on June 23, starting right at 6 p.m. Also check out my weekly podcast here, it's a good time.
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