Every year ESPN’s TrueHoop Network runs its own Mock Draft with picks from all the member blogs. Here are the results of that draft with a couple thoughts on the Timberwolves’ two first-round picks.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len (Colin McGowan, Cavs: The Blog)
2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel (Eddy Rivera, Magic Basketball)
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter (Kyle Weidie, Truth About It.net)
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo (Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops)
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore (Ryan Weisert/ Kevin Zimmerman, Valley of the Suns)
6. New Orleans Pelicans: C.J. McCollum (Ryan Schwan, Bourbon Street Shots)
7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke (James Ham, Cowbell Kingdom)
8. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett (Dan Feldman, PistonPowered)
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Steve McPherson, A Wolf Among Wolves)
I’m totally fine with admitting I don’t know a ton about college players. Most of my homework on the draft gets done in the time between the end of the regular season and the day of the draft. In this way, I’m not so different from most general managers, I think.
One of the things that should jump right out to you is the list of strengths for KCP: athleticism, perimeter scoring and defensive potential. These are all needs for the Timberwolves, specifically from the wing positions, and at 6’6”, KCP has the potential to play either the 2 or the 3. Sadly overlooked in the video’s list of strengths is the fact that his name is Kentavious. KENTAVIOUS.
And those dunks. I love a SG getting out in transition and finishing hard like that, which is something the Wolves haven’t seen in I can’t remember when. I’m not wild about the pull-up off the PNR—this is something both Barea and Shved love to do and I think the problem with it is that it breaks the PNR, more or less. I mean, if it goes in, great, but it doesn’t force the defense to distort itself the way using the roll man or driving to the rim can.
I do like the way he uses shot fakes and drive fakes to get space to shoot those jumpers though, which is something the other wings on the Wolves aren’t great at.
His weaknesses also give cause for concern, including his tendency to settle for jumpers when he should get into the paint. This is a problem that could be exacerbated at the next level when he runs into quicker and stronger defenders. If he’s willing to settle at the college level without getting physical, it might only get worse in the pros.
Overall, looking at the mix of pros and cons for KCP, it seems like the key for creating an environment of success for him is going to mean taking away some of his decision-making power on offense, but giving him the leeway to choose from a handful of options wherein the playset is designed to respond to those options. In basic terms, he’ll really need to come off the bench into a second unit whose responsibilities are less intense. With too much pressure on him, I can see bad decisions leading to gunner territory. But deployed judiciously in his rookie year, I can see him being a good complementary piece for the Wolves.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller (Danny Nowell, Portland Roundball Society)
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Kelly Olynyk (Tom Sunnergren, Hoop76)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams (Royce Young, Daily Thunder)
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams (Ian Levy, The Two Man Game)
14. Utah Jazz: Shabazz Muhammad (Andy Larsen, Salt City Hoops)
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Shane Larkin (Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball)
16. Boston Celtics: Dennis Schroeder (Brendan Jackson, CelticsHub)
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert (Bo Churney, HawksHoop)
18. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin (Bo Churney, HawksHoop)
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Sergey Karasev (Colin McGowan, Cavs: The Blog)
20. Chicago Bulls: Giannis Adetokunbo (Michael Pina, Red94/CelticsHub)
21. Utah Jazz: Lucas Nogueira (Andy Larsen, Salt City Hoops)
22. Brooklyn Nets: Tony Mitchell (Jeremy Gordon, Brooklyn’s Finest)
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock (Jared Dubin, Hardwood Paroxysm)
24. New York Knicks: Ricky Ledo (Robert Silverman, Knickerblogger)
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Gorgui Dieng (Fred Katz, ClipperBlog)
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Allen Crabbe (Steve McPherson, A Wolf Among Wolves)
With the Wolves’ roster the way it is, I see no good reason to not keep adding shooting guards until one of them sticks. Like KCP, Crabbe has length at 6’6” for the shooting guard position, although his name is more old-school president than futuristic president like Kentavious. And of course, a thing that warms my heart is the potential for puns on his name, including CRABBE DRIBBLE and CRABBE THE BULL BY THE HORNS and I’M FEELING A LITTLE CRABBE TODAY (note: Not sure if his name is pronounced “crab” or “crabby” so I’m preparing for all possibilities).
His DraftExpress video shows off a willingness to pull up and shoot (maybe troubling) and solid defensive work (which is great). It’s possible he becomes a solid rotation player, but don’t expect a home run here. 2012’s 26th pick was Miles Plumlee. 2011’s? Jordan Hamilton for the Mavs. 2010: Quincy Pondexter; 2009: Taj Gibson; 2008: George Hill. Basically, it’s the All-President-Name team, except for Taj.
27. Denver Nuggets: Erick Green (Kalen Deremo, Roundball Mining Co.)
28. San Antonio Spurs: Mike Muscala (Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell)
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Royce Young, Daily Thunder)
30. Phoenix Suns: Jeff Withey (Ryan Weisert/ Kevin Zimmerman, Valley of the Suns)