Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Road From Worst to First

After a dismal 2010-2011 season, does the worst team in the NBA have a promising future when looking forward to the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft? I’d say so. In the last few years, the Minnesota Timberwolves have used their high draft picks to acquire some very successful college players with the intent to develop their talents for the NBA. It seems to be about time that those acquisitions actually pay off.

Two years ago they drafted back-to-back point guards in Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio, but not until yesterday did Rubio finally join the team. Kevin Love, Wes Johnson, and Michael Beasley could be staples in the frontcourt of the ‘Wolves to build the foundation. All three of them are athletic big-men, and scoring weapons. Johnson’s former Syracuse teammate Flynn is a perfect 2-guard option for Minnesota. Flynn can handle the ball when Rubio is not playing, but is a natural shooting guard by definition. Wayne Ellington, Lazar Heyward, and Anthony Randolph are all young, athletic players eager to learn, and can provide decent depth on the bench.

In addition to the players already in place to return in the fall, the Timberwolves have two first round draft picks to work with. The second overall draft pick, according to most mock drafts, is expected to be Derrick Williams, the small forward from Arizona. Some people believe he isn’t a good fit for Minnesota, and although they would be better off with a talented guard, there isn’t a decent option in this draft that deserves the second pick. They may choose to trade the pick, but I believe a better decision for Minnesota would be to keep Williams, use him to build up their organization, and shop around for someone who wants to pick up Beasley. Williams and Rubio, as two new guys with the club, have the potential to work really well together with their styles of play. If you’re a team like the Timberwolves, you need to make drastic changes, and finding replacements for the declining Beasley is the best way to go. 

-Hayley Zedeck

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