May 3, 2011, 2:01 PM EDT
Well done Timberwolves. You tanked the last few weeks of the season and were somehow able to end the season with a worse record than a team that went on a historic losing streak. You must be proud.
Now for your reward you get the best chance at the top pick in this NBA draft. And while this may be a down draft, there’s some good guys at the top of the board in point guard Kyrie Irving and forward Derrick Williams.
Except, you don’t really need them.
Tom Ziller summed it up well in his latest NBA mock draft at SB Nation.
The Wolves are, predictably, in a tough spot. They don’t have a good point guard on the roster — Jonny Flynn‘s story has been written, but he’s been unproductive in two seasons. Luke Ridnour is aging and struggled with injury last season. But if David Kahn really thinks Ricky Rubio is coming stateside, can you pick another lottery point guard? Irving’s the best prospect on the board, but taking him would complicate the Ricky relationship, at least at the onset.
If the Wolves get the top pick, their only real choices revolve around drafting Irving and making a trade. Irving is the game changer in this draft, Williams is going to be good but he is second. Irving is the man. If the Wolves fully believe in Ricky Rubio, they can trade the top pick away. Or, they can draft Irving then immediately trade him.
But the smart move might be to draft and keep Irving, then see what the market will offer for Rubio. Not a ton, not for a guy who has never played in the NBA and has a very questionable jumper. But they can get some value. Minnesota continues to insist that Rubio will be playing for them next season, but that still makes no sense for Rubio (you’re going to come over into a lockout?). If Rubio stays the Wolves could play Irving for a year then have to make a decision on Rubio and Irving.
But that’s only if they get the top pick in the draft. Which they have a 25 percent chance of getting. So worse odds than Jonny Flynn hitting a three pointer. Yes, that bad.