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Zgoda: Royce White would give his 'pinky toe' to play for Wolves

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • June 8, 2012 - 1:20 PM

I spent Thursday in Chicago for the first day of the NBA's annual draft combine, collecting information for our draft coverage later this month.

Some of this and that from there:

* Minnesota's own Royce White and Jordan Taylor said they will work out for the Wolves at Target Center on Tuesday, when the team will continue pre-draft workouts before it sends representatives to Italy for the upcoming Eurocamp.

White is something of the draft's mystery man. Not his talent, because he proven at Iowa State that he has NBA game, but because of questions about his past and an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying.

Take away those questions and the former Gopher probably is a Top 10 talent.

Add those doubts among NBA executives and he still might fall no farther than Denver at No. 20 because of guard's skills in a power forward's 6-8 body.

He downplayed those issues, saying they're overblown and said he'll fly, even though it's not his favorite thing in the world.

The Wolves own the 18th pick and don't need another power forward, but they do need wing players who can handle the ball and make plays and White does both exceptionally for a big man.

And he himself says he can't decide if he's a small forward or a power forward because he thinks he's a point guard more than anything.

"I like to bring it up," he said, and he did so a lot for former Wolves player and executive Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State.

He also said he'd like to play for the Timberwolves.

Actually, he said more than that.

He said he sent a message from Hoiberg to David Kahn that he'd give his "pinky toe" to play for his hometown team.

Which one?

"Doesn't matter," he said. "Either, both."

He elaborates in some video that should be embedded here in the post shortly.

Taylor was a late addition to the combine, one of the players added after European prospect Evan Fournier pulled out.

"I'm just happy I got the opportunity," said Taylor, who was Mr. Basketball at Benilde-St. Margaret 's in 2008 one year before White won the award at Hopkins High in 2009. "I'm excited. I'm always self motivated. Ever since I was a kid, they told me I was too small, too slow, can't shoot, whatever it is. I can I can play this game pretty well."

An informal sampling of players present in Chicago suggests the Wolves indeed are focusing on wing players -- shooting guards and small forwards -- and shot-blocking bigs in their draft preparations.

Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross, St. John's small forward Moe Harkless and Syracuse center Fab Melo all said Thursday they either have interviewed or will interview with the Wolves before they leave Chicago.

Ross very well could be gone by No. 18, but when asked where he'd like to go in the draft, the Wolves were the first team out of his mouth because he said he knows they need a shooting guard.

Duke's Austin Rivers is working out for lottery teams, but should he somehow drop to No. 18 -- as some early mock drafts predict -- I asked the son of Boston coach Doc Rivers how he'd play with a guy like Ricky Rubio after Rivers had the ball in his hands all the time during his one college season.

"That's fine," he said. "At the end of the day you have to learn to play with people and Rubio’s a great point guard, a rising point guard in the league. You just have to pick your spots and maintain your aggressiveness.It's not about having the ball or starting, it's about finishing the game and making the right play and doing everything you can to make an immediate impact. That’s my main goal right now.

"He's a guy who dribbles the ball a lot. I would just come in and I think we can both have the ball. In my opinion, I can get the rebound and push it up and if he’s ahead of me, I throw it up to him. Or if I’m ahead of him, he can throw it up to me and we can just make plays. It's not about who get more dribbles. It's about doing everything you can to win."

A couple other tidbits from Chicago:

* If you're a draft geek hoping Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters falls to No. 18...he cancelled on Thursday all his interviews and workouts with  teams, creating rampant speculation that he has received a guarantee he'll be picked by  a team in the top 11.

* European prospect Tomas Satoransky says he pulled out of the two-day camp the Wolves held at Target Center last week because he just completed a long season & his agent didn't think his body was ready to play.

Kahn spent 11 days scouting in Europe recently, but Satoransky said he didn't know of any special interest the Wolves have in him and said he didn't think he's scheduled to work out for the Wolves.

* Harkless -- a 6-8 freshman scorer -- said he interviewed with Wolves, including coach Rick Adelman, last night but said he'll have to huddle up with his agent before he knows if he'll work out for them.

Having said all this, I still expect the Wolves to mightily try to trade that No. 18 pick to get an experienced shooting guard or small forward -- a Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin -- who can make an immediate impact.

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