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Friday (Five thoughts about the Wolves' draft) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 16th at 11:16am 261682141


We were at Target Center for the NBA Draft last night, and here are five thoughts from the night for the Wolves:

1) We’re going to give first-round pick Zach LaVine a free pass and buy his explanation that it was a release of emotion, but not a negative one, that led amateur lip-readers to catch him dropping an expletive on multiple occasions after being picked by the Wolves. But we also know there are some for whom that left an immediate bad taste and a poor first impression. It will be interesting to see how long that follows LaVine — is it a one-day story soon forgotten, or will it become something revisited during his career here?

2) We made no secret that we liked Adreian Payne at No. 13 more than any of the options remaining. Coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders talked after the pick about hitting home runs instead of doubles, which was not a knock on Joe Mauer but rather a metaphor for trying to get players with more upside rather than more known commodities who project more as solid rotation guys. We think Payne can be more than a solid rotation guy, but he is 23 while LaVine is 19. We know more about his game than we do LaVine’s game. To us, though, it comes down to the fact that the Wolves flat-out need good players. Payne is a good player and a ready-made replacement if and when Kevin Love is traded. We will see if this becomes another draft blunder.

3) That said, we can’t accuse Saunders of playing simply for the present with that pick, and that’s a healthy thing to see when it comes to Love. The biggest mistake the Wolves could make is trying to load up for one more year of Love in order to try to convince him to stay.

4) Glenn Robinson III is a solid choice at No. 40, someone Saunders said the Wolves had evaluated as a late first-round talent. We’re not sure if Robinson will stick this season because there are so many wings already under contract, but he could be a useful player in the coming years.

5) The Wolves had two other second-round picks — Nos. 44 and 53 — but they sold both of them for cash. Saunders was grilled pretty hard about that decision in the post-draft presser (and on Twitter), and his overall message is that the Wolves didn’t think there were players there who added value. He’s right that a lot of second-rounders don’t pan out. He’s also correct that the Wolves’ current roster is jammed with players already under contract. But good teams — particularly the Spurs — have found gems in the second round that have been cornerstones of championship teams. Even the Wolves have found value in that round with the likes of Nikola Pekovic. Bottom line: teams like the Wolves who have a hard time building through free agency because players don’t view this market or franchise as a destination need to use all the assets they have to build a winner.

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.


Buffalo 11/13/14 7:25 PM
Minnesota 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Houston 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Seattle 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Atlanta 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/16/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tampa Bay 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Denver 11/16/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
San Francisco 11/16/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Oakland 11/16/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 11/16/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Detroit 11/16/14 3:25 PM
New England 11/16/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh 11/17/14 7:30 PM
Detroit 103 FINAL
Washington 107
Indiana 81 FINAL
Miami 75
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Boston 94
Utah 97 FINAL
Atlanta 100
Orlando 97 FINAL
New York 95
LA Lakers 102 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Brooklyn 104 FINAL
Phoenix 112
Portland 130 FINAL
Denver 113
Houston 63 3rd Qtr 7:14
Minnesota 53
Boston 1 FINAL
Toronto 6
Los Angeles 2 2nd Prd
Anaheim 0
Akron 24 FINAL
Buffalo 55
Toledo 24 FINAL
Northern Ill 27
Ball State 10 FINAL
Massachusetts 24
Kent State 20 4th Qtr 0:22
Bowling Green 30
East Carolina 11/13/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss 11/13/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
California 11/13/14 8:00 PM
Tulsa 11/14/14 7:00 PM
Army 11/15/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
(8) Ohio State 11/15/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 11/15/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina 11/15/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech 11/15/14 11:00 AM
(19) Duke
Temple 11/15/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
(18) Clemson 11/15/14 11:00 AM
(24) Georgia Tech
Pittsburgh 11/15/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Miami-Ohio 11/15/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
Nevada 11/15/14 1:00 PM
Air Force
Eastern Mich 11/15/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Rice 11/15/14 1:30 PM
(21) Marshall
(5) TCU 11/15/14 2:00 PM
Wake Forest 11/15/14 2:00 PM
NC State
Appalachian St 11/15/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
Washington 11/15/14 2:30 PM
(17) Arizona
(1) Miss State 11/15/14 2:30 PM
(4) Alabama
Northwestern 11/15/14 2:30 PM
(15) Notre Dame
(11) Nebraska 11/15/14 2:30 PM
(22) Wisconsin
Ga Southern 11/15/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma 11/15/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Indiana 11/15/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 11/15/14 2:30 PM
Memphis 11/15/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky 11/15/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico 11/15/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Hawaii 11/15/14 3:30 PM
San Jose St
Troy 11/15/14 4:00 PM
(25) Utah 11/15/14 5:00 PM
UNLV 11/15/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana 11/15/14 6:00 PM
(9) Auburn 11/15/14 6:15 PM
(16) Georgia
Missouri 11/15/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
Texas 11/15/14 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas State 11/15/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
(20) LSU 11/15/14 7:00 PM
(12) Michigan State 11/15/14 7:00 PM
(2) Florida State 11/15/14 7:00 PM
So Florida 11/15/14 7:00 PM
North Texas 11/15/14 9:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
San Diego St 11/15/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
(7) Arizona State 11/15/14 9:45 PM
Oregon State
Massachusetts 11/18/14 7:00 PM
Northern Ill 11/18/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Bowling Green 11/19/14 7:00 PM
Kent State 11/19/14 7:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/16/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 11/16/14 3:30 PM


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