Rand: NBA draft simpler than NFL's to decipher in first round

  • Updated: April 11, 2013 - 1:44 AM

As great as it is, the NFL draft is also unwieldy.

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Indiana’s Victor Oladipo fell down for a loose ball against Syracuse. The Wolves should draft him if he’s available.

Photo: Mark Gail • McClatchy Tribune ,

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The NFL draft is an awesome spectacle. The three-day affair — yes, three days — starts in a couple of weeks. Some day, if this keeps up, every non-gameday in the NFL will be used for part of a 300-plus-day draft.

As great as it is, the NFL draft is also unwieldy. The Vikings will select SEVERAL players who will send fans toward immediate Google searches. In the first round, with two picks, there are many dozens of players they could end up choosing.

But the NBA draft? Short and sweet — with just a handful of plausible scenarios. Here is the best and worst of what could happen to the Timberwolves in the first round of the June 27 NBA draft:

• Best case: The Wolves are lottery winners, jump somewhere into the top three picks, and can take a top-notch shooting guard. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, we think, is the player to really covet. He is explosive and dynamic. He is only getting better. He will be Dwyane Wade someday, and we’re not just saying that because both were coached by Tom Crean. Ben McLemore of Kansas is a better pure shooter. Both would be game-changers. But Oladipo would be better.

• Next-best-case: The Wolves look like they are destined to pick somewhere between Nos. 8 and 10 based on their record, assuming they get no lottery help. But maybe they wind up at No. 6 or No. 7. And maybe one of those two shooting guards falls to them? Did you notice how much the Wolves could use a really good shooting guard?

• Decent case: Neither of the above-mentioned shooting guards is available, but they wind up with someone like Michigan State’s Gary Harris (a freshman who could still declare for the draft and is a very good shooter) or Alex Len (the 7-1 Maryland sophomore center who would give the Wolves a much-needed defensive presence down low).

• Worst case: The Wolves don’t win the lottery and wind up in a low enough draft spot where all the players they really covet are gone, and they wind up taking someone with a big name like Cody Zeller or Shabazz Muhammad — two players who could wind up being major NBA busts.

 

MICHAEL RAND

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