No. 9: Wolves stay put in NBA draft lottery
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- May 22, 2013 - 1:34 AM
You didn't really expect anything else, did you?
The Wolves came out of Tuesday night's draft lottery right where they were slotted going into the evening -- with the ninth overall pick -- and new boss Flip Saunders said he was perfect satisfied, as long as the team didn't drop a spot to 10th (or worse).
Saunders doesn't agree with the notion that this is a lousy draft. But it has been perceived as that, he says, because it lacks top-end superstar power yet has the kind of depth in which a team picking 12th might get as good a player as one picked sixth.
So he says he's perfectly fine picking ninth.
The Wolves' most glaring need is shooting guard, so they'll take a shooting guard, right?
Not so fast.
Oh, the Wolves will have their options, even after the top shooting guards -- Kansas' Ben McLemore and Indiana's Victor Oladipo -- go top 5 probably.
They could choose Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, who's a great shooter but is point-guard sized at 6-3, or Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who would fill Wolves need for both shooters and real 2-guard size.
But don't be surprised if the Wolves end up going for a shotblocker -- Maryland center Alex Len if he drops that far, or maybe 7-2 French center Rudy Gobert -- for a team that lacks a rim defender.
The Wolves could go that route if they think they can add a veteran shooting guard through a trade (Boston's Courtney Lee perhaps?) or free agency (J.J. Redick, O.J. Mayo and Kyle Korver all will be on the market, but can the Wolves afford any of the three).
Saunders mentions backup center and rim protector as the obvious need for a shooting guard who's bigger than 6-1.
Current backup center Greg Stiemsma's contract isn't guaranteed for next year -- I believe the Wolves have until mid July to make it so -- and Saunders is keeping all options open.
"No decisions have been made," he said.
Saunders said teams always look to add size, particularly if you want to compete in the West where the Spurs have Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, Memphis has Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and the Clippers have Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
"There will be movement on the roster," Saunders said. "If that happens, it could open up a spot. We really don't have a big who protects the rim."
Saunders then mentioned Kevin Love and NIkola Pekovic, neither of whom is a natural shot blocker.
Is Stiemsma as much of a shot blocker as the Wolves have.
"He's a little bit," Saunder said. "We'll evaluate everything. When you win 31 games, you pretty much put everything on the table. We like Greg a lot, but you have to look and see what's available. Right now, he's No. 2 on the depth chart. That doesn't mean he's out. Other things can happen, but if we can find somebody somebody at any position....power forward, shooting guard, the only position we really have log-jammed is point guard."
© 2014 Star Tribune