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Friday (Flip's first draft) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wolves news Updated: June 28, 2013 - 10:25 AM

We posted yesterday on our "ideal, realistic" draft for the Timberwolves. It involved, above all else, taking a true shooting guard who could make an impact. Our preference was C.J. McCollum. And if there were two players we really hoped the Wolves wouldn't touch, they were Cody Zeller and Shabazz Muhammad.

Needless to say, at least in our eyes, last night was far from ideal.

With McCollum sitting there at No. 9, the Wolves instead took Trey Burke and then traded down with Utah, swapping Burke for the No. 14 and No. 21 picks. The biggest problems with this: It meant they were getting a lesser player with their first pick of the first round ... and they already had two first-round picks but had no intention of drafting more than two players in the first round. That became evident later with Flip Saunders' comments and in the way the Wolves dealt the No. 26 pick for what amounts to cash and a little extra cap space.

Plus, Saunders and co. wound up with Muhammad at No. 14. He could turn out to be a fine NBA player. We will certainly wait and see. There are a handful of experts praising the Wolves for this draft, so it is certainly possible. And yes, while he is more of a small forward than a shooting guard, the Wolves need wing players regardless of their true position.

But still: Saunders painted himself into a corner with that trade instead of just taking McCollum. Sure, he's more of a combo guard and is undersized. But he's about an inch shorter than O.J. Mayo with the same wingspan. If the Wolves are targeting Mayo, and they need shooters, what's the problem with McCollum? There were no sure things at No. 9. The top of the draft was unfolding beautifully until Ben McLemore and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went 7-8, right before Minnesota.

The way it turned out, trading up would have been a smart move. Staying put would have been a fine move. But trading a dime for two nickels? Even if we liked the No. 21 pick of Gorgui Dieng, it doesn't add up -- at least not to anything but confusion and anger on the part of fans. When the man who made the pick sounds like he's trying to convince himself of it still, it's hard to get on board.

 

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