Among the fan bases of the Wild and Wolves, it seems fashionable right now to believe one can do nothing right and one can do nothing wrong.
Perhaps that stems from more than just recency bias, but I suspect that is playing a large role in opinions about the new guy who hasn’t presided over a loss or bad trade (Gersson Rosas with the Wolves) and the no-longer-new guy who has presided over both (Paul Fenton of the Wild).
Regardless of what you thought of both Fenton and Rosas going into their respective drafts a few days ago, this much is true: Both seem to have done a solid job in my estimation — and in the general consensus of those who are paid to “grade” drafts in their immediate aftermath. Here is a sample of a few such grades for both teams:
The highest mark I could find came from Sporting News, which doled out an A-minus to the Wild. The No. 12 overall pick, Matthew Boldy, was the centerpiece of the haul.
It’s safe to say that sophomore GM Paul Fenton’s haul from the weekend in Vancouver made up for the odd decisions he and his staff made last June in Dallas, beginning with the selection of elite 200-foot winger Matthew Boldy, and continuing with finesse flanker Vladislav Firstov.
Indeed, it might have also helped reverse the negative momentum from last year’s draft, which earned the Wild poor marks.
Yahoo graded Fenton’s draft a B+, saying Boldy isn’t NHL-ready yet but that he has the makings of being the complete package.
ESPN gave the Wild a “B,” explaining that the drafting of two goalies — which I personally loved — was a bit of a head-scratcher but applauding the overall haul: Boldy is going to be a really strong player for the Wild a few years down the road. He can make the plays in small areas and has an excellent, heavy, accurate shot. Skill was a big-time theme of Minnesota’s draft.
The highest praise for Rosas came not via a direct grade but from inclusion in ESPN’s somewhat selective “biggest winners” of the first round. Jonathan Givony liked the value Rosas got in trading Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick to move up to No. 6. He believes Jarrett Culver is among the draft’s most versatile players. He wrote:
Setting a culture is among the first things a new NBA general manager needs to do upon taking on a job. Gersson Rosas adding a player with the intangibles, work ethic and coachability of Culver will help significantly with that endeavor.
CBS Sports gave the Wolves a B+. They called the trade “brilliant” and added praise for the second round as well. Another smooth (but under-the-radar) move came in the second, when they snagged Jaylen Nowell, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, at 43.
Sporting News likewise graded the Wolves at a B+, saying of Culver: He’s a top-five prospect in this class who I have rated as only slightly worse than RJ Barrett, the Knicks’ pick at No. 3. Culver has reasonable upside as a secondary creator and two-way wing.
It doesn’t hurt the Wolves that the Suns were almost universally panned for taking Cam Johnson with the No. 11 pick they got back from the Wolves. Rosas almost certainly would have made a different pick had he not traded the pick, but it gives the appearance of a wide gulf between those five slots in the draft.