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RandBall: Players for Wolves to target with the 13th pick

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • May 21, 2014 - 9:56 AM

The Wolves did not move up or down in Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery. That's not a net win or a net loss, but particularly this year it was a gain. Minnesota, of course, only had a 2.2 percent chance of jumping into the top three. But it also had a 1.8 percent chance of falling to No. 14 -- and had that happened, the pick would have gone to Phoenix to satisfy an old trade.

Staying at No. 13 and keeping the pick, then, at least guarantees the Wolves will have another asset this offseason. Given their otherwise limited roster flexibility -- short of a trade of Kevin Love, which we do believe is inevitable -- having an opportunity to add a piece through the draft is big.

The No. 13 pick is a mixed bag, of course -- far from a sure thing. But past No. 13 picks have included solid pros like Richard Jefferson, Jalen Rose and Corey Magette ... as well as superstars Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. Will someone who can help the Wolves be waiting when they pick No. 13? Quite possibly. Here are some names to consider:

Doug McDermott, Creighton: He's currently ranked No. 13 on Chad Ford's draft board at ESPN, so the value (at least according to Ford) is spot-on. He's a small forward who can shoot the lights out and who tested out with much greater athleticism in recent drills than many anticipated. He could go sooner, but if he's there at No. 13, this would be a great fit.

Nik Stauskas, Michigan: Another shooter, and good height (6-7) for a shooting guard. This would be another good fit, and a player who could help immediately even as he learns other facets of the game because he is so dangerous from the perimeter.

Adreian Payne, Michigan State: We love, love, love his game. Speaking of love, if Love is dealt, Payne -- a power forward who can stretch the floor with his shooting range -- would be an even better pick. Even if the Wolves stubbornly hang onto Love for another year, Payne could be the future successor if Love eventually walks. He's No. 16 on Ford's board. We think that's too low. Then again, because he's 23 years old he's the kind of player who tends to slip down into the 20s and get scooped up by a very good team, then has a very solid 8-10 year career. The Wolves could do much worse than nabbing him if he is there.

Zach LaVine, UCLA: He's No. 12 on the big board, and our fear is that because of his great showing in drills and his impressive measurables (41.5 inch vertical), this combo guard could be gone by the time the Wolves pick. But if he's there, this could be a home run. He could be a star in the long run, and in the short term he is a combo guard with good height (6-6) who could back up both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin.

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.

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