2011 NBA Draft Draft Grades: Minnesota Timberwolves Get an A-
Stephen Jackson was the biggest name traded all night. Still, there were countless trades that involved picks, cash considerations, and current role players in the league.
Minnesota dealt Jonny Flynn, but otherwise left the current roster intact.
New additions that are expected to contribute include Derrick Williams from Arizona and Malcolm Lee from UCLA.
Minnesota was the most active teams on Draft night.
Let's grade every single move the Timberwolves made in the 2011 Draft.
Selecting Derrick Williams with the No. 2 Pick
This was the safe move to make.
Minnesota is not usually known for making the right move, but in this case, selecting Derrick Williams appeared to be the only option.
After listening to every possible trade offer leading up to the Draft, general manager David Kahn waited for the perfect opportunity. It never came, and he selected the best player available in Williams.
A trade that brought in a proven veteran would have been the only preferred way to use this asset.
Kahn believes Williams can play with Michael Beasley and Kevin Love, and mentioned in a brief press conference that both players were on board with the selection.
Minnesota could have done a lot worse, but they must be given credit for avoiding a tragic mistake.
Trading Away the No. 20 Pick
When the 20th pick came along, the Timberwolves originally drafted Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas.
We soon found out that the pick would be moved to Houston.
The details: Minnesota receives the 23rd pick (Nikola Mirotic), the 38th pick (Chandler Parsons), center Brad Miller, and a 2013 first round pick for the 20th pick (Donatas Motiejunas) and Jonny Flynn.
Flynn's exit was bound to happen soon, and Draft night was the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
The 'Wolves get a veteran center in Miller, who doesn't have much ability left in the tank. Still, Flynn was considered a sunk cost. To get a future first rounder is an acceptable way to swallow a failure — even if No. 20 isn't a lottery pick.
Trading Away the 23rd Pick
Minnesota moved the 23rd pick (Nikola Mirotic) to Chicago for the 28th pick (Norris Cole) and the 43rd pick (Malcolm Lee).
This was an interesting move for Chicago. Many thought they had moved up to select Marshon Brooks, so Mirotic and his complicated buyout came as a surprise.
For Minnesota, this move is somewhat insignificant.
David Kahn and his draft team might have had little interest in anyone at this point. So, they moved back and added another asset in the 43rd selection.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford on Twitter, Minnesota had considered Lee with the 20th pick, so getting him at No. 43 provides nice value.
Lee is one of the best perimeter defenders in this class and is known as a high-character player. He is the other player, along with Derrick Williams, that will supposedly be playing in Minnesota next season.
Minnesota moved down to add an asset. This asset turned into a player they coveted at their current drafting location.
Nice work, Mr. Kahn.
Trading Away the 28th Pick
Everyone expected Minnesota to finally make a selection for themselves with the 28th pick. This was not the case, as they traded it away to Miami for the 31st pick, cash, and a future second rounder.
Minnesota did not like anyone at 28 more than they did at 20 or 23, so moving down was a valid option.
Many fans were hoping that the 'Wolves would select Marshon Brooks with the 20th or 23rd picks, but when the never-ending trades began, it was clear the team had no interest in the shooting guard out of Providence.
This is actually a pretty good move.
Minnesota gets out of a guaranteed first round contract, acquires cash, and gets another second rounder. The move was nothing special, but it still played into their strategy for Draft night.
Selling Away the 31st Pick
Minnesota turned the 20th pick into the 23rd pick, then the 28th pick, then the 31st pick, then cash.
The Timberwolves acquired so much cash last night that there was speculation that they were accumulating money to buy out head coach Kurt Rambis.
Still, this move was not all that bad. Kahn had his eye on a couple of players at No. 42.
The selling of the 31st pick looks bad by itself, but the role it played within the strategy makes some sense.
Selling Away the 38th Pick
This situation was very similar to the sale of the 31st pick.
The difference is that this was a throw-in from a previous trade on Draft night, whereas the 31st pick had come directly from the 20th pick as Minnesota moved down in the Draft.
Clearly, the Timberwolves scouting team was not in love with any particular player in the second round as they passed on the opportunity to make use of early picks in the second round twice.
Minnesota did not need to add more youth with multiple second round picks, so the sale of this pick is decent strategy.
Selecting Malcolm Lee 43rd Overall
Malcolm Lee is a perfect fit in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves could have selected him with the 20th pick and been satisfied. Rather, they kept moving down and received tremendous value in Lee at no. 43.
This pick makes sense, and that cannot usually be said about a David Kahn draft selection.
Lee can guard both guard positions and has the body of a solid two-guard.
Minnesota's only true shooting guard on the roster is Wayne Ellington. Wes Johnson will be forced to play there as well, but he is more suited at small forward.
Lee provides a positional need, and his skill set is a perfect match as well. He is known for his ability to defend. The Timberwolves only have one or two guys on the roster that can defend.
This is a perfect selection for Minnesota in the second round.
Selecting Tanguy Ngombo 57th Overall
Tanguy Ngombo may be one of the top five names say out loud in the 2011 NBA Draft.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, nobody knew about this guy until about a week ago. Pete Philo, part of Minnesota's international scouting team, found Ngombo in Qatar.
Ngombo is an athletic 6'6'' scorer, but he also played in what look like high school gyms.
Who knows, Ngombo might turn into something. The odds are not high, but Minnesota's international team is one of the best, so there must have not been much left available.
At least Minnesota fans have a fun name to say, whether they ever see him in a Timberwolves uniform or not.
Final Grade: A-
The Minnesota Timberwolves ran a very mature 2011 Draft with a clear strategy.
After ruining the 2009 campaign and failing to impress with the 2010 selections, GM David Kahn needed to prove his worth.
Minnesota listened to every offer that was thrown at them before the Draft. Rather than accepting a mediocre deal to attain a veteran, they held out for a great offer that never came.
Instead, they selected the best player available.
Minnesota has added Derrick Williams, Malcolm Lee, a future first rounder, two future second-rounders, and loads of cash.
If Kahn follows through on his claim that they will pursue veterans in free agency, he shows that the team is finally headed in a clear direction. They are no longer collecting assets without knowing how they will use them.
Finally, 'Wolves fans see the light at the end of the tunnel, and this draft definitely helped that light appear.
Final 2011 Draft Grade: A-