Many guards would meet Wolves' needs

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2013 - 4:54 PM

The Wolves are moving again toward a lottery pick, and quite a few college players would satisfy the Wolves’ need for a big guard who’s a skilled shooter.

The Timberwolves need some help at the shooting guard position, and two potential draft picks who fit the bill are UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, left, and Kansas’ Ben McLemore.

Photo: DEAN HARE • Associated Press (Muhammad); DAVID EULITT • Kansas City Star (McLemore) ,

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Didn’t think you’d have to start paying attention to NBA mock drafts and NCAA March Madness again, did you, Timberwolves fans?

Well, yes, it’s that time of year again for a team that would pick eighth and own a 3.5 percent chance to get the June draft’s No. 1 overall pick if the season ended today.

Timberwolves Nation wants a legitimately-sized shooting guard for a team that plays three point guards at times. If the Wolves go that way with their first of two first-round picks — if they don’t trade the pick for an established player — there’s a crop of ’em that could go among the top 10 selections.

Ben McLemore

Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 195 Age: 20

Pos.: Shooting guard

College: Kansas Year: Freshman

GP FG% 3PT% FT% PPG RPG BPG APG SPG

30 .502 .425 .868 16.5 5.4 0.7 2.1 1.2

Once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — depending on who’s doing the picking, of course — he has not played well down the stretch leading into the postseason. He’s undersized (more like 6-4½) for a classic NBA shooting guard and not a great shot creator (definitely a Wolves need) on his own, but he’s an excellent athlete, skilled shooter, has fine defensive tools and plays so effortlessly at times. He was dismissed from his prep-school team for violating team rules and is a redshirt freshman after not meeting the NCAA’s eligibility requirements a year ago.

Shabazz Muhammad

Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 225 Age: 19

Pos.: SF-SG

College: UCLA Year: Freshman

GP FG% 3PT% FT% PPG RPG BPG APG SPG

27 .449 .415 .717 18.1 5.0 0.1 0.9 0.8

He was considered the top prospect in the 2012 national high school class and possibly No. 1 overall NBA pick who now just might be hanging on in the top 10 because of an uneven freshman collegiate season. He started the season overweight and out of shape and, to begin with, never was considered overly explosive. But he’s also considered a hard worker, versatile scorer and natural leader, and he has long arms and is a lefty. Naturally, perhaps, he invites comparisons to Houston star James Harden. He also plays in a Ben Howland system that doesn’t show off players’ pro talents but churned out NBA stars Arron Afflalo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison from 2007 to 2009.

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  • Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (23) hits a three-point basket over West Virginia Mountaineers guard Gary Browne (14) in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday, March 2, 2013. Kansas defeated West Virginia, 91-65. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT)

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