The 2010 ESPN TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft is here and I’m more than glad to represent the Wolves with the fourth pick. Each selection will be made available on network sites (links at the bottom of this post), will cover just the first round, and will be made according to prediction, not some blogger preference. Enjoy.
Check back hourly for picks until 5 pm today, pick 11 will start at 8 am on Tuesday.
While the T’Wolves should be about grabbing the best talent available and sorting out the playing time later, it seems like they’re leaning towards selecting Wesley Johnson, the small forward from Syracuse.
Wesley makes sense for a few reasons here:
1) Athletic small forwards are hard to come by. Okay, they’re really not. There seems to be a plethora of athletic small forwards saturating the NBA and a clamoring group of wannabe small forwards that are blessed with the athletic genes who want to be in the NBA. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a need for the Wolves. They were so anemic at the small forward position last season that Sasha Pavlovic and Damien Wilkins both logged quite a few minutes for Minnesota.
2) He’s actually a pretty good basketball player. I attempted to break down what the Wolves selecting him would mean here. His fit with this team and in making this a great pick is pretty much entirely contingent on if he can knock down the NBA three-pointer. If he can, then the Wolves get a threat on the arc and a threat around the basket who can run the floor and block shots like a human wrecking ball in the open court.
3) The reason you don’t take Cousins here is because the frontcourt is already a circus. Kevin Love is probably the most talented rebounder in the league with excellent basketball skills to go with it and yet he can’t seem to be given 30 minutes per game. Al Jefferson is a fantastic low-post threat who should be on schedule to return to his 20-10 form in 2010 with the knee healing up quite nicely. Darko Milicic (assuming he re-signs) and Ryan Holins will be providing whatever defensive presence inside they can muster. Trying to slide a moody, power forward/center who could rip apart the very fabric of this rebuilding process might be a risk the Wolves can’t afford to miss with.
4) He’s kind of a safe pick. Maybe Wesley Johnson isn’t the best player available but he fills a need and the Wolves need some sure bets here. The chances of him failing miserably are very low. His All-Star chances aren’t exactly doing stretching exercises and getting limber for the next marathon but he still shows that can be a good player in this league.
5) His name is Wesley and the last Wesley I knew was the one that became the Dread Pirate Roberts, pretended to be left-handed and toppled a kingdom when he was only mostly dead. If this Wesley can even do one of those things, we’re in for a nice decade-plus with him filling the lanes.
Now, the Wolves get to move on and round out the rest of the roster with two more picks in the first round.