Game Analysis

Nuggets 130, Wolves 106: Drafter's Remorse?

Wolves only go after point guards.

That’s the punch line, right? In 2009, David Kahn drafted three point guards in the first 18 picks of the first round and it instantly became an Internet meme. And with all Internet memes, it was beaten to death (not on my high horse, I did it too) within a week.

The next year, the Wolves seemingly drafted nothing but small forwards and yet, because of that alarming first impression the Wolves still get accused of going after nothing but point guards.

The thing about that 2009 draft is they really only drafted two point guards in the first six picks. It wasn’t three point guards in the first 18 picks. When they “drafted” Ty Lawson, it wasn’t really their selection. They had essentially traded the pick to Denver and Denver wanted them to “select” Lawson.

Does this make that draft any better? Not really. As of right now, they’ve essentially butchered those fifth and sixth picks in the draft. Rubio hasn’t played a second for the Wolves and is either totally coming to Minneapolis or totally never going to come to Minneapolis unless he’s in an opposing team’s uniform. Meanwhile at the Target Center, Jonny Flynn has had a very disappointing first two seasons and doesn’t look like the backup point guard of the future, let alone the starting point guard of the future.

Fast-forward from draft night to last night and Ty Lawson has been the most productive of those three “Wolves picks.” He made his first 10 3-pointers in the game and helped lead an outside attack by the Nuggets that completely overwhelmed the Wolves. It was suffocating offense by Denver. The Wolves defenders couldn’t breathe at all.

There isn’t a whole lot of analysis that can go into a game like this. Kevin Love isn’t walking through that door right now. The Wolves gave up 18 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds. It’s not an egregious amount, but the Wolves were outplayed in a part of the game they usually hold their own in. They got blitzkrieged on the perimeter by allowing 19 made 3-pointers on 38 attempts. The Nuggets were almost equally as deadly inside by scoring 52 points in the paint. They allowed 35 assists for Denver and gave up 34 free throw attempts.

Overall, they just got destroyed. Denver is a very good team. Minnesota is not. ANALYSIS!

The thing I take away from this game has to be the “bet you wish the Wolves had kept the good point guard from the 2009 draft” comments that were sent my way last night. The problem was they never had Ty Lawson. He’s really good and he’ll be better than any Wolves point guard for a while, unless Rubio decides to come over and lives up to his potential. But this isn’t going to give Wolves fans nightmares of what could have been.

If the Wolves would have kept that pick and used it for themselves, they could have used it to select any one of the good role players that came from that draft. When Omri Casspi or Rodrique Beaubois or DeJuan Blair or Jon Brockman hit 10/11 3-pointers some day against the Wolves, I’ll wonder, “what if they had kept that pick” and cry myself to sleep.

But that’s not happening after Ty Lawson’s incredible shooting display last night. I’d rather watch the Wolves on their quest to turning an embarrassing season into a successful draft lottery as they acquire more ping-pong balls than any other NBA team.

How else are they going to draft Kyrie Irving?

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2 thoughts on “Nuggets 130, Wolves 106: Drafter's Remorse?

  1. Thank you for the article….I’m not an answer point by any means but around my circle of people I am the only dedicated Wolves fan and I’ve been asked a TON about why we didn’t keep Ty Lawson. I’ve told them over and over about how it was a pre-arranged deal but they never believe me. Strib doesn’t help with their “explainations” either. I am going to have them take a look at this…

  2. As usual I appreciate your writing, Zach. My fantasy friends continuously make fun of me that the wolves choose a position to use all their picks on each draft, but at least they understand the situation around Lawson. I am satisfied that we likely will get the most ping pong balls, but even if we do get that 1st overall pick, I’m scared to think about what Khan might decide to do with it.

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