The draft is easily my favorite time of the year. Mostly because we don’t make the playoffs.
As many Wolves fan build anticipation to the draft lottery on May 19th, I will post my thoughts on each scenario that the Wolves could end up with in the 2015 draft. This will be a four part series as the wolves can at worst (and most likely) end up with the fourth pick. For the purposes of anticipation and it simply being a broader spectrum, I will start with the 4th pick scenario and work down.
First, some assumptions need to be made. This draft has a pretty clear top three forming and barring any injuries and dramatic stock shifts, the top three should include Karl Towns, Jahlil Okafor, and D’Angelo Russell.
Next, we have to understand the situation. The situation is, this sucks. Why? Because the next about 6 players that will be drafted are about the same tier. And the last time the Wolves picked fourth they took Wesley Johnson. That didn’t turn out well. To me there are a few picks that could be game changers and some that need to be avoided.
Who to watch:
Emmanuel Mudiay – Mudiay took the Brandon Jennings route and played overseas in China, which may be the biggest joke of a Professional Basketball League in my opinion. Why do I thin this? Well 41 year old Stephon Marbury is the equivalent of Michael Jordan there and has a statue. Mudiay playing in China makes him the biggest unknown of any prospect in the top 10. Because of that, he is also seen to have high star potential (VJL Ball) but could be an absolute bust. His size (6-5) for a point guard mixed with his playmaking ability make him an extremely intriguing prospect. He can finish around the rim like a magician as well. If I learn anything from Daunte Exum last season, is be careful of the hype. Prior to this basketball season Mudiay was projected as the number one pick by many. As he struggled and was injured over the season, people began to back off. My thoughts is he becomes a Tyreke Evans at best. There are many lottery teams who are desperate for a point guard and specifically Mudiay. So if the Wolves have the right offer, I would not be opposed to trading down to a team that wants him and gives us something worth while in return.
Willie Caulie-Stien – Arguably the best defender in college basketball, the Kentucky Junior is likely the most ready to play immediately of any of the top 10 players along with Okafor. Coach Cal raves about how he can guard the 1-4 positions and his athletic ability. The guy can lock up a player and block shots, no question. He may lack some strength in post. But to me the biggest red flag is his potential lack of interest in basketball. It may be a bit overblown, but after the Bucks-Larry Sanders falling out, its a risk I don’t think is worth taking. The NBA provides many social challenges for players and it is something I am truly concerned about with WCS. On top of that, he is not a threat on offense. And to me, that is not something you invest in on a 4th pick. If the Wolves traded down and WCS was available, he may be a guy that could be groomed by KG. But WCS seems to be like a High Risk, Medium Reward type player.
Kristaps Porzingis – This would be my pick, and I presume Flip’s pick today. There needs to be some workouts and serious scouting. But Porzingis, the 18 year old out of Latvia, is a 7-1 Power Forward who can shoot and score effortlessly. I may be exaggerating a bit, but with some time, he could be a matchup nightmare. He is coordinated and seems like he won’t be quite a liability on defense. He is a home run pick definitely but the Wolves have the biggest question at PF and he could be an amazing compliment to a driving Rubio and a slashing Wiggins. Get Porzingis a post-game and he could be the next Pau Gasol/ Dirk Nowitzki fusion. He also could be another European Player who plays 176 minutes in the NBA and never reaches any of their potential. But shooting is much needed for the Timberwolves. So with the 4th pick (if not traded) the Wolves should take Porzingis.
He seems happy.
These guys I like but quite honestly, just don’t fit the Wolves current roster. Now many folks believe take the best player available. But as I mentioned earlier, the guys from 4-10 are all about the same caliber, so then you take position and fit into perspective.
Justise Winslow – Love his defense and intensity. Probably isn’t ready to contribute in the NBA quite yet though.
Mario Hezonja – Extremely talented outside shooter and dunker. Said he can do all of Zach LaVine’s dunk contest better than Zach. He also said he should be the 1st pick in this draft. For that I look forward to him being in the NBA and hopefully competing in the dunk contest. But I don’t like him already.
The top three are a little easier to analyze and better players. Look for those in the next few days.