As dozens of others have said, the 2013 draft was perhaps the craziest draft on record. The "loose" consensus #1 pick was defensive wizard Nerlens Noel, with 3 point specialist Ben McLemore widely believed to be the #2 pick. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was supposed to go #9 to the Wolves, and little fanfare would ensue.
Well, an hour later, Noel was a member of the 76ers, 3 all-stars were traded, Kris Humphries is suddenly the #3 option in Boston, and the most polarizing figure of any draft I can remember, Shabazz Muhammad, is your newest Minnesota Timberwolf.
Let's break down the Wolves' draft in some simple bullet points. (Note: last night, I was livid with this outcome. Hyperbole was commonplace to the point where a T-Wolves staffer was telling me to calm down. Now that a night's sleep has passed, I'll try to be a little bit more rational in this assessment. Sure, there a dozens of negatives, but some things could go fine, here.)
What Went Well on Draft Night:
- Needs addressed. The Wolves needed significant help with size and shooting on the perimeter, as well as interior defense. Both of those needs were addressed. KCP was the obvious pick at #9, and he would have been the guy if not for the Pistons nabbing him up at #8. Now, in his time at UCLA, Shabazz was strong in transition basketball and spot up shooting. He can get to the line, is a high IQ player, and without a doubt has the potential to be a strong perimeter shooter. He has good size and an outstanding motor and work ethic. These are all positives about Shabazz. What is irking many is his one-dimensional attitude, he is a questionable teammate, low assist and steal rate, and general scoring inefficiencies (think Michael Beasley). He is also not an explosive athlete by any means, and could be overwhelmed trying to score against elite competition. Alas, a gamble was made, one that probably will not work out, but it promises to be interesting. In Deing, the Wolves got a nice pick here. While still raw, he has nice defensive and rebounding potential and fills yet another need.
- Shabazz was, literally, the last option: I'm not entirely sure this is a positive or what. It's not like Flip "fell in love" with Shabazz and did whatever it took to get him. What I mean by this is this likely doesn't sing too much of a song about how careless Flip will be from here on out in evaluating players. The Wolves had no intention of getting Shabazz. When KCP went 8, the Wolves made another move to move back, allegedly in an effort to get Olynyk, and ended up having to settle for Shabazz. He fills a need and, while it didn't work out as planned, we got a player who has a chance, albeit as slim as a needle, to be a player in the league.
What...Didn't go Well:
- The haunting of CJ McCollum. Flip had an excellent prospect staring him in the face. Size be damned, CJ can defend. He can shoot. He can create. He is probably better than Shabazz. I believe this will go down as another Foye/Roye situation, but even worse because CJ was widely believed to have been the pick when the Wolves were on the clock. Portland got an excellent prospect. While CJ doesn't have great size, there is zero question he was the right pick from a talent standpoint. This one is going to sting.
- Utah got their PG of the future. It is never good to make a division or conference rival better in trade. The Wolves did that a few years back by gifting Utah Al Jefferson, and we did it again by gifting them the college player of the year in a dire area of need for the Jazz. Now, I am not suggesting keeping Burke was ever possible or reasonable, but suddenly in an ultra-competitive conference and a fellow team jostling for the 8th seed, you gave them a guy who is without a doubt going to be a significant piece of the puzzle for years to come. Trey Burke may very well win rookie of the year.
- The Trade with Utah itself: What hurts the most is this: the Wolves added another first round pick for their troubles via Utah (which ended up being Dieng)....and then sold their own pick 26 (along with Malcolm Lee), for nothing. So, in essence, the benefit of the move-back was instantly negated for good-old &$%*&^$# cash considerations. I knew Glen Taylor being in the war room was an ominous sign. And by the way, If the price for the Wolves to move up was so high, why not hold Utah to the same standard? Why not require them to take JJ Barea in exchange for Gordan Hayward? While many may disagree, I dislike what Minny received in this trade. It's one thing if #26 was then flipped for something meaningful, but Dieng or a similar player such as Jeff Withey could very well have been available at #26. Instead, we moved back for a similar pick we already had, while making Utah much better and getting little in return.
- Shabazz was basically the one player many Wolves fans, and allegedly the front office, DIDN'T WANT. And we got him. We took him anyways. Of course we did. Not much else needs to be said. Maybe this is oversimplistic, but the fact that so many people despise this pick; the fact that Flip Saunders himself said he knew the fans would be disappointed; the fact that stats and eye test suggest he has little hope for a strong NBA future....it just leaves a rotten taste in one's mouth. This seems like Rashad McCants all over again. We'll see.
Final Grade: D+. Shabazz having a slight chance at a productive career, generally filling an area of need, and Deing prevents this from being an F. Lorenzo Brown in the 2nd round is a nice pickup as well (by the way, a byproduct of the Rambis buyout-a-thon). But the move-back was a steal for the Jazz (the kind of fake trade fans come up with that usually "isn't enough" in reality), and Shabazz is the most polarizing figure in the draft. He will have to overcome a dramatic amount of obstacles to succeed, the least of which is Adelman's leash and adjusting to a smaller role in the league. I'm not optimistic. Hopefully Flip does better in free agency, but if he wants AK47 out as much as reports suggest, we are looking at a pretty big downgrade in production next season.
true we needed legit size at the 2, and with Bud in FA and only Williams left as a SF if he didn't come back, getting a guy who would play 2 and 3 was optimal. I'm was not and remain unimpressed w/his shooting. perhaps he just didn't care in vegas, but he was dreadful and only fueled the negative labels already placed upon him, and after he did all that 'I just want to work' talk pre-draft. didn't show much desire to work in vegas. I think KCP would've been a much better pick as outside shooting translates well and dude can shoot. idk about the high IQ player, seems to be his IQ is centered around him and nothing about the team. I have no doubt Adelman, Love, Pek, KMart, Rubio will put him in his place if he ever acts out. Particularly Adelman. I predict little PT and him thoroughly getting his arse whooped this coming season. Which would be a good thing. dude needs to get seriously humbled and then we will see what type of man/player he is next year.
I agree, in Dieng we got a solid pick who will contribute this year and will be around for many more years.
I agree, the wolves were on their last option and simply had to think on the fly. Taking Burke was the smart move, best player on the board. Being able to dump him, when everyone knew we had to while getting 2 picks back was a good move.
McCollum: he will get destroyed by the bigger, faster, stronger SG's in the league. He and Lillard cannot play together as the past years of Rubio-Ridnour have shown. The lack of size simply mandates double-teams putting a huge strain on the team D. There is no way he will be able to defend legit SG's in the league, at least the one's with decent post-up games. On offense he'll hold his own, but will give up on defense--leaving him neutral. With JJ and Luke already on the roster adding another PG/undersized SG would have been just as disastrous.
True, Utah got an excellent player in Burke, however we also got a solid player in Dieng. He has all the tools to be a defensive stud, and going up against Pek everyday in practice will speed his development. IDK if Utah got much better w/AJ as they still didn't do anything while they had him and we got 14M/yr off the books while clearing room for Love. I agree, Burke likely will be a stud for quite a few years. Still he simply had to go.
Actually we sold the pick so another rookie didn't take up a spot and cap space. If that cash helped resign Bud-Pek and get KMart then its a good move.
Unless the wolves already had Dieng on the radar, and wanted the pick to get him over anyone on the Jazz's roster. We'll never know if Dieng would've been available at 26 and I doubt it, it was a pretty weak draft after all. My basis, rests on my thought that Dieng will develop into a stud defensive C.
I agree, I think Bazz will be a bust. Best thing for him would be to get his ass whooped this season and then to put in the work next summer.
Brown could be interesting, nice selection by Flip and the boys there. I'm hoping he goes overseas as opposed to the d-league, but will be at one or the other to get some PT. Only good thing about Bazz right now is he ought to have a large chip on his shoulder. If Bazz can at least not be a detriment that will be a plus this year.
I the shabazz will give the wolves what they need. And that is a scorer. The thing i like about him he's a gym rat. He will get better and he's ready to play now.
I wish the haterz would stop on Shabazz. Dude could end up being the steal of the draft at #14. I've waited through so many damn shitty Wolves picks... hope everyone else can just give him a chance as well.
Plus now we can let Steamer go, and with Lee also gone, that helps us quite a bit financially going forward.
When Noel and McLemore started slipping I can't believe we didn't trade up to the 5/6/7 range. That REALLY pisses me off. Howeva, ending up with Shabazz and JENG as a sort of "best-case-in-the-worst-possible-situation-conceivable" scenario..... really isn't that bad IMO. I was hoping we wouldn't have just taken Shabazz at #9 with others available, but I'm happy with what we ended up with. I like both guys, and at least we didn't draft Plumlee. I'm not happy overall with how the entire draft turned out, but I'll withhold judgment for now.
From the way people were talking about the picks taken after 10 it seems very likely that the Wolves could have taken CJ at 9 and moved up for Shabazz at 13 for their pick, 2nd rounders and cash. Heck maybe gotten Dieng too.
@Minn_Sportsfan: with Love, Bud, KMart, Pek all back and hopefully having healthy seasons, Bazz won't see much PT and that before you even get to Adelman's disdain for rookie PT. Bazz will get his butt handled to him this season. He's not that quick, limited explosiveness, not exactly a quick shot release, at best avg handles, and has never seemed all that interested in defense. Bazz is in no way ready to play now.
@Minn_Sportsfan Hells yeah, that's what I'm sayin!!!
@CollegeWolf well his Vegas and rookie camp showing leave much to be desired. he did nothing to dispel the 'goes through spells of being disinterested, and complete selfish attitude' labels he has been saddled with. all in all, he's done nothing to prove he is not any of the negative things that have been said about him.
I'm excited to revisit this stuff in a year. Personally I maintain that he will be dreadful and am sticking to it. It's complete black and white for the fanbase which makes it fun.
@CollegeWolf I'd prefer Dieng over Noel right now as we are in PO mode and Noel would not help this season at all and likely not much next year in his first actual season. Dieng is more polished on defense as well IMO. McLemore, I'm rather glad we did not take, just something about his personality that turns me off. I honestly think he just doesn't care. I think we could've held out w/Burke for a bit longer and gotten a 2nd round pick from Utah or a player.
@Pants80 I think you read it before it was done/published. He probably would have been better than Bazz
NOW THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME. Seems like it wouldn't have been hard to do (sigh.) That would have been an A+++++ from me. (SIGH)