featured-image

2016 Draft Day Primer

Oh my goodness.

It’s 2:23 p.m. and the NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. Maybe it’s just me (it could very well be the four Red Bulls I just had), but this has the potential to be one of the most exciting drafts ever.

Skeptical?

Look at the moves that have already been made.

A former MVP got traded to New York for a few complimentary players. Jeff Teague, a former All-Star, was traded to the Pacers. The Pacers sent their point guard to Utah, and the Jazz sent their pick to Atlanta. Thaddeus Young will be on his fourth team in two years. And there’s probably plenty of more moves to make.

Why?

Because the 76ers, Celtics, Suns, Nuggets, Hawks and Raptors have more than one first-round pick.

Let’s break it down by team.

76ers: They have the 1st, 24th and 26th picks. Chances are they won’t keep all three and at least one of the picks will be a draft-and-stash type of player. Plus, three of Philadelphia’s best players play the same position. So yeah, that’s kind of problematic.

Celtics: The Celtics are trying to compete with the Cavaliers in the East. They have the 3rd (thanks again, Brooklyn!), 16th and 23rd picks. Keeping three rookies on a playoff team? Good luck.

Suns: The Suns have the 4th, 13th and the 28th picks. The Suns’ roster is kind of a mess right now, so it wouldn’t be shocking if they kept the two lottery picks. That’s actually probably a good way to start, similar how the Wolves did with Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine two years ago.

Nuggets: The Nuggets have the 7th, 15th and 19th picks. Denver has a weird roster. Emmanuel Mudiay is coming off of his rookie season, but guys like Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari are built to win now. There is plenty of talent in the middle to late part of the first round. Another issue to consider when keeping rookies is what type of resources a team has to develop young players. The Wolves were prepared with Wiggins, LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns because they had Ryan Saunders and David Adelman on the staff. Not all teams are that equipt.

Hawks: The Hawks traded Teague essentially for Utah’s 12 pick. Atlanta also has the No. 21 pick. Reports are that Atlanta wants to get rid of one of the picks.

Raptors: The No. 9 pick (from Denver via New York) is a bonus for a team that won 56 games last season. You can probably expect Toronto to hold onto that pick, but No. 27 could very well be dealt or be draft and stash player.

Timberwolves General Manager Scott Layden told us during the team’s Pre-Draft Press Conference that he anticipates more trades than usual. If the last 24 hours are any indication, he’s absolutely right.

What About The Wolves?

The Wolves have the No. 5 pick and that’s it. No second-round picks. No picks later in the first. Just No. 5. Of course, that could all change.

What will they do with it? It really all depends what Boston does with the third pick. There seems to be popular names in that range including Kris Dunn from Providence, Jamal Murray from Kentucky, Jaylen Brown from Cal, Dragan Bender Croatia and Buddy Hield from Oklahoma. But chances are whatever Boston does at No. 3 will create some sort of domino effect on what other teams will do. Right now, it appears as if the top two picks are set.

There are plenty of options. Keep the pick and draft one of those guys. Trade for a veteran. Trade for a veteran along with a later pick.

In a few hours, we’ll find out. It’s worth noting, that if the Wolves do stay at five, Layden is plenty impressed with the players who could be available.

“I think it’s a very good draft and right in our area when you look at the players that we’re looking at, it has us excited,” Layden said. “I think also the amount of attention we’re getting from other teams for the pick gives you an indication of how good the pick is, so we’ll see in the next 48 hours what that means. We like the range we’re in and the fifth pick looks like it’s going to be a good one.”

Any Second-Round Gems?

YES! There is plenty of borderline first-round talent that will probably slide to the second round. Guys like Diamond Stone, Tyler Ulis, the mysterious Zhou Qi and Thon Maker, Patrick McCaw, Stephen Zimmerman, Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert could become contributors.

My favorite two guys, though? Purdue center A.J.

Hammons and Providence power forward Ben Bentil. Hammons has all the tools to be a defensive force, but also can score. But he’s 24 and his focus hasn’t always been there.

Bentil, on the other hand, averaged 22 points per game last season. He might be undersized for the power forward position, but with today’s NBA getting smaller, that might be OK. The bad? His basketball IQ isn’t the highest and he’s been known to take more than a few “WHY?!” shots.

How valuable can second-round guys be? Draymond Green is the obvious example. But take a look at some of the other players drafted in the second-round of the 2012 Draft. Jeff Taylor, Jae Crowder, Quincy Acy, Khris Middleton, Will Barton, Mike Scott, Kyle O’Quinn and Robert Sacre. True steals.

Plenty More To Come

As always, there will be plenty of content on the site from the Draft. Videos, stories, press releases, galleries. The list goes on.

Also, if you’re like, ‘I have nothing to do for the Draft and I want to be with other fans. I would also like to be at the Target Center.’

Well, what a coincidence! The Wolves are hosting a Draft Party starting at 6 p.m. tonight at the Target Center. You can your seat here.