Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.
The NBA get its after-season draft bookkeeping today, conducting blind draws for teams that finished with identical records.
Memphis lost a draw with the L.A. Clippers to see who'd get the Nos. 25 and 26 picks in the June 27 draft, which meant the Wolves, of course, lost that blind draw.
They'll get the Grizzlies' No. 26 pick in the draft.
They're also currently slotted to draft ninth overall, depending on the results of the May 21 lottery.
They have a 1.7 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall and could also pick second or third if they defy the odds and get one of the first three picks in the lottery.
Or they could very well could draft 10th -- or 11th or 12th, too, if you think they're really, really lottery cursed -- as well.
If they stay at No. 9, here's a list of picks at that spot since the Wolves entered the league in 1989: Tom Hammonds, Willie Burton, Stacey Augmon, Clarence Witherspoon, Rodney Rogers, Eric Montross, Ed OBannon, Samaki Walker, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Joel Przybilla, Rodney White, Amare, Mike Sweetney, Andre Iguodala, Ike Diogu, Patrick O'Bryant, Joakim Noah, D.J. Augustin, DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker and Andre Drummond.
The Wolves also own two second-round picks: the 52nd (Brooklyn's selection via New Orleans) and 59th (Oklahoma City's selection.)
Robbie Hummel, the Timberwolves' only pick in the NBA draft in June, said he will play in Europe next year.
Hummel told the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier he will play in Spain for El Obradoiro.
He was taken 58th overall in the draft after a storied career at Purdue that was marred by ACL surgeries in his right knee two times in one year. Hummel said he didn't feel 100 percent last season, his senior year with the Boilermakers.
Hummel told the newspaper that he has the Timberwolves' blessing to play abroad.
He is already listed on El Obradoiro's roster.
According to Mark Bartelstein, Hummel's agent, the decision was made "in conjunction" with the Wolves and was made with playing time in mind. Hummel was going to have a difficult time getting minutes this season, and extended playing time is crucial for the 6-8 forward right now. While Hummel wasn't 100 percent as a senior at Purdue, he is back to 100 percent now, Bartelstein said. But he needs minutes to get his complete game back.
"It's always the second year after a torn ACL that you get your game back at a high level," Bartelstein said. "Now he's entering that phase, getting back to being an elite-level player again."
Lots of newsy nuggets came out of todays press conference over at Target Center, which began with Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman and newly acquired player Chase Budinger talking about the trade that brought Budinger here.
The Timberwolves today traded the No. 18 pick in Thursday's draft to Houston for swingman Chase Budinger and prospect Lior Eliyahu, a source has confirmed.
The deal reunites Budinger, a former second-round pick who can play both small forward and shooting guard, with Wolves coach Rick Adelman, who coached him at Houston.
"I'm very excited," Budinger said from his home in San Diego this morning. "Rick Adelman was a great, great coach for me. I have much respect for him. I love his system. I feel like it fit me very well. I'm excited to get up there and see all the coaches."
It also would appear to take the Wolves out of most of the fun for draft night, unless, of course, this deal is a precursor to another.
Budinger, you might remember, scored a career-high 35 points against the Wolves in the 2010-11 season finale at Target Center.
Might there be more 35-point nights there for him now?
"Let's hope so," he said. "I do always play well in that gym. That's another good thing: I love playing in that gym."
When asked for his memories of that game, he said, "Just how it felt everything I shot, every time I went to the basket, I couldn't do any wrong."
The Wolves have until Saturday to pick up a team option on Budinger's contract that will pay him $942,000 this coming season.
He'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
"I hope so," Budinger said when asked if he can see a California kid staying long term in Minnesota. "I've just got to go buy more warm coats."
When asked if he fared as well playing for Kevin McHale last season in Houston as he did his first two NBA seasons with Adelman, he said, "I don't think so. I definitely don't think so. Last year was a bit of a struggle for me, definitely with my playing time there, very inconsistent. I felt like I did a lot of standing around last year, which in Adelman's system you don't do at all. There's a lot of movement and sharing the ball. I definitely did a lot better in Adelman's system than McHale's."
The trade now gives the Rockets -- and a guy named Kevin McHale -- the 14th, 16th and 18th picks Thursday and allows them to package those picks for a higher pick in the draft, which presumably they could use to then deal to Orlando in a package for superstar Dwight Howard.
The Houston Chronicle and Draft Express first reported the trade.
Six days out from Thursday's draft, the Wolves will bring six players -- all of them second-round prospects -- to Target Center on Friday.
They're bringing back Baylor forward Quincy Acy and Long Beach State point guard Casper Ware from those group workouts attending by all NBA teams at Target Center three weeks ago.
They're also bringing in Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs, Campbell University forward Eric Griffin, Alabama Birmingham forward Cameron Moore and Long Beach State forward T.J. Robinson.
So far, Royce White is the only guy brought to Target Center whom the Wolves will consider with that 18th overall pick, IF they don't trade the pick.
They'll probably bring a couple guys in early next week, but it's very likely the player they draft -- if they draft anybody -- will not have set foot inside Target Center.
Unless, of course, it's White.
Otherwise, they'll likely take somebody who falls in the draft, who thought they were going well before No. 18 so they didn't waste their time coming to Minneapolis.
That list includes guys like Duke's Austin Rivers, Washington's Terrence Ross or maybe guys like Kentucky's Terrence Jones or Baylor's Perry Jones.
Btw, White cancelled all his workouts not long after visiting Target Center last week.
ESPN.com's Chad Ford tweeted tonight that he's hearing White has got a promise from Boston with the 21st pick.
Will he still be there then?
Remember, the Wolves have the inside pipeline on White from ISU coach Fred Hoiberg...
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