RandBall: Smokescreen or real talk? Impressions of Saunders' conference
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- June 24, 2013 - 2:29 PM
Let's start with the gut impression from Flip Saunders' final media availability before Thursday's NBA draft, in which the Wolves hold the No. 9 and No. 26 picks in the first round as well as a pair of second-round picks.
Our gut says the Wolves are going to take a shooting guard based on how much Saunders talked about the importance of three-point shooting (and how much the Wolves lacked it last year, when they were dead last in the NBA at 30.5 percent).
Our gut tells us the Wolves are not going to move up in the draft based on Saunders' comment that the closer you get to the draft, the more it costs in terms of return value to move up. We just don't think he likes whatever is being offered -- at least so far -- enough to move into a spot to perhaps get Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo.
And our gut tells us that the Wolves will take C.J. McCollum over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if both guards are available at No. 9. This is based on nothing more than impressions of how Saunders talked about the two of them. McCollum is undersized at 6-3, but he has a 6-6 wingspan and can shoot the lights out. Caldwell-Pope is more prototypical as a two guard. Again, just a gut thing.
Saunders has been pretty transparent in his early tenure as the new personnel boss. Then again, this could be the time to start throwing out smokescreens.
He might be saying things like Derrick Williams would be a top 3 pick in this draft if he was coming out now (which Saunders did say Monday) in an attempt to leverage his trade value. He could be talking about the price of moving up being too steep in order to put other teams on notice that they need to bring the offers down. And if he really liked Caldwell-Pope, he might be inclined to hide his cards (it wasn't like he spoke ill of him, it just sounded to us like Saunders liked McCollum more).
Or the Wolves might take someone at a different position entirely. The only thing Saunders ruled out was a true point guard, since that is solved.
Long story short: Our gut is either completely right or completely wrong. We're so glad the draft is only three days away so we can find out.
© 2013 Star Tribune