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Izzo, Adelman among those evaluating Wolves' group draft workouts

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • May 29, 2013 - 1:25 PM

Representatives from 25 other NBA teams attended the Wolves' two-day group workouts that ended this afternoon at Target Center.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was here, too.

Why?

He's serving as something of a draft adviser to pal Flip Saunders, the Wolves' new president of basketball operations.

"He's good because he has seen a lot of these guys play, recruited a lot of these players," Flip said. "Him coming in to look and talk just helps, gives you insight. One of the biggest things you want to do is background checks, so you know as much about players and where they were four or five years ago and what improvement they've made. Have they reached their full potential or do they have a lot more to go. He helps with that."

Other bits of this and that from these first workouts as the June 27 draft approaches:

* Rick Adelman did come to town -- I didn't see him there yesterday -- for these two days of workouts and Thursday's first individual workouts and he chatted with Kevin Love high up in the Target Center stands at the end of today's second session.

* Those first individual workouts on Thursday are scheduled to feature shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia), Allen Crabbe (Cal) and Ricky Ledo (Providence) in a six-player group.

Caldwell-Pope is perhaps the leading possibility for that 9th overall pick. The other two guys are candidates for the Wolves' second first-round pick, 26th overall.

Those Thursday workouts are the last until after Saunders returns the second week of June from Italy for the annual Eurocamp.

* Flip will leave after Thursday's workouts for Las Vegas and will watch Russian prospect Sergey Karasev -- a 6-7 shooting swingman who the Wolves will consider with that 9th pick -- in a pro day there on Friday.

He'll then fly to Miami to meet with Ricky Rubio on Saturday.

* While in Europe, Flip also hopes to meet with Alexey Shved -- as well as Nikola Pekovic -- before he returns to Minnesota to continue workouts starting June 12 most likely.

* Flip says he has talked to many candidates -- above and beyond the names of Washington's Milt Newton and New Orleans' Tim Connelly -- for a front-office position but say he won't do anything (if he does anything) until after the draft.

"I've talked to a lot of people about a lot of things," he said. "We're going to wait until after, to see where we are. If I feel comfortable where we're at, we'll continue as is. If I feel we need to bring in somebody else, we'll do that."

He said he wants to streamline the scouting operation and intends to have regional scouts Milt Barnes and Derek Pierce do more extensive pro scouting. He also wants to build a more extensive NBA scouting database.

He wants other front-office personnel based in Minneapolis so they can see the team practice and play daily. There's a chance a guy like longtime international scout Zarko Durisic could move back to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles.

* Flip said he'll bring former Gophers Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe in for individual workouts as the draft approaches.

Williams was in Wednesday's first group of workout and Flip was rather blunt about Williams' NBA prospects at this point.

When asked what parts of Williams' game translate to this next level, he said, "Right now, nothing...Everybody knows he's a great athlete, but at this level you don't just get by with athleticism. There are players in our league who are athletic. Your other skills have to develop. With Rodney, can he make that transition over the next three weeks and use his athleticism defensively and maybe tickle someone's fancy with the way he plays. That's what we're going to have to see."

Flip said he's not sure what position Williams is: He played power forward in college but considers himself an NBA small forward and Flip said with Williams' size, he might have to play shooting guard instead.

"He has to become a perimeter player rather than an inside player," Flip said. "His ball skills and shooting skills have to improve."

* I asked a longtime NBA scout if he'd trade Derrick Williams to move from the ninth pick into the top four if he were the Wolves so he could take one of the two top shooting guards, Indiana's Victor Oladipo or Kansas' Ben McLemore.

No way, is what he said.

He said Williams might be better than anyone in this draft and probably would go top 4 in this draft.

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