Since the 2014 playoffs are looking about as likely as David Kahn becoming NBA commissioner, it’s time to start hoping the Wolves keep their draft pick owed to the Phoenix Suns and scout for some draft talent. With the NCAA tournament starting up on Thursday and giving us weeks of enjoyment and bracket busting frustration, there will be lots of draft prospects to keep an eye on.
We’ll have a guide for the first two days of who to watch and then possibly keep up with those players who advance if they catch our fancy even more. The hope of the playoffs may be dwindling but that doesn’t mean hope for the future has to be lost** for us!
** — Assuming Phoenix doesn’t steal our pick we agreed to give them to take Wes Johnson.
11:15am CT: Dayton vs. Ohio State
LaQuinton Ross, small forward: Ross is a pretty fun prospect, who is likely to find his way into the first round. He’s a solid outside shooter, can attack from all over the floor, and is a decent rebounder for his position. He’s not much of a defender but that hasn’t stopped a wing on this team from getting time before.
Aaron Craft, point guard: With the Wolves possessing multiple second round picks, I’d expect their backup point guard issue to be addressed there. Craft could be in the mix here. He’s a bigger point guard who is pretty quick and takes care of the ball well. He can create shots for teammates but you don’t want him shooting from the outside.
11:40am CT: Wisconsin vs. American U
Sam Dekker, forward: Dekker has become one of the prizes of the first round this season. He’s a versatile forward who has a great shooting stroke. Not sure he has a definite position at the NBA level, but he could end up being a playmaking tweener with a good stroke like Hedo Turkoglu when he still cared about being good.
12:40pm CT: Pittsburgh vs. Colorado
Lamar Patterson, shooting guard: Fifth-year senior guard who can shoot from outside and is a solid playmaker. But he’s unlikely to be drafted.
Spencer Dinwiddie, shooting guard: Dinwiddie tore his knee and won’t be playing but we get to check out his sideline cheering, which is important.
1:10pm CT: Cincinnati vs. Harvard
Check out this Danny Fortson mix since there really aren’t any prospects in this game:
1:45pm CT: Western Michigan vs. Syracuse
Tyler Ennis, point guard: Ennis is the clutch point guard who helped Syracuse win a bunch of games in a row to start the season. Ennis isn’t much of a scorer but he’s fearless in the clutch. He’s great at taking care of the ball and will at worst be a great backup point guard in the NBA.
Jerami Grant, forward: Grant isn’t a shooter by any means, which makes him a bit of a tweener at the forward positions in the NBA. However, he can score, rebound, and be a fantastic athlete at the next level. He’s probably not good enough to get picked in the lottery, but he’s a guy to watch just in case they trade down.
C.J. Fair. small forward: Another really great athlete playing forward for Syracuse. He’s fun to watch dunk, but he’s not fun to watch shoot the ball. Hold on; I’m getting Wes Johnson flashbacks…
2:10pm CT: Oregon vs. BYU
No real prospects in this game either so unleash the Jimmer highlights:
3:10pm CT: Albany vs. Florida
Chris Walker, small forward: Walker is a real possibility at the end of the lottery. He’s an unreal leaper and after being out for most of the season with eligibility issues, he has a chance to have a big tournament and shoot up the draft boards. Grabbing him and throwing him on the wing would be a ton of fun for Wolves fans.
Patric Young, power forward/center: Young is a backup center type of monster, who isn’t going in the first round. Wolves are probably fine at center moving forward though.
3:40pm CT: Delaware vs. Michigan State
Gary Harris, shooting guard: I love Harris and would be thrilled with him on the Wolves. He’d be the replacement to Kevin Martin, who isn’t being replaced any time soon, but he’s a fantastic shooting guard prospect. He can score everywhere, is a solid shot-creator, and is a lock for the lottery. Probably wouldn’t be available when the Wolves pick, anyway.
Adreian Payne, power forward/center: He’s a monster inside, but isn’t going in the lottery. Would be a great replacement for Dante Cunningham if they trade down, but he shouldn’t really be a priority for the Wolves.
Keith Appling, point guard: I’m not convinced Appling gets picked in the draft, but he’s another slight possibility as a second round backup point guard type of consideration.
Branden Dawson, small forward: A wing player who is incredibly strong and physical, but isn’t an outside shooter at all. He’d be a defensive role player if selected in the draft.
5:55pm CT: Saint Joseph’s vs. Connecticut
Shabazz Napier, point guard: I don’t like him, his game, or his prospects in the NBA if he gets there. But he’s technically a prospect.
6:10pm CT: Wofford vs. Michigan
Nik Stauskas, wing: THE DREAM. Stauskas is the shooter we’ve been waiting for and he’s overall a pretty good scorer. He’ll be available around the end of the lottery and could make a few wing players expendable if the Wolves can get deals for them.
Glenn Robinson, small forward: Lil Dog is a pretty nice prospect at the wing with a good scoring touch all over the floor. But he’s unlikely to creep into the lottery unless he has a huge tournament.
Mitch McGary, power forward/center: Back injury has him out, but again the cheering potential!
6:20pm CT: NC State vs. St. Louis
T.J. Warren, small forward: I love Warren’s game at the college level but I’m not sure how it translates smoothly to the NBA level. He’s not an outside shooter, which is the reason he may struggle to adapt. But his body control is stellar and he knows how to find space to get good shots off.
6:27pm CT: North Dakota St. vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma doesn’t have any prospects for this draft but they do have Blake Griffin highlights to draw back on:
8:25pm CT: Milwaukee vs. Villanova
Dante Cunningham went to Villanova!
8:40pm CT: Arizona St. vs. Texas
Jahii Carson, point guard: He’s a diminutive point guard, but he’s lightning in a bottle rocket. He can score everywhere, has a sick handle with the ball, and he can explode to the rim. He probably will be off the board in the middle of the second round but he’d be my ideal backup point guard for this team from this draft.
Jordan Bachynski, center: He’s a gigantic human being, but that’s about it.
8:40pm CT: Manhattan vs. Louisville
Russ Smith, point guard: Also a very good point guard option in the second round, but he’s much more of a scorer at the NBA level than a distributor, in my opinion. You can do a lot worse than him though.
Montrezl Harrell, power forward: He could be off the board by the time the Wolves pick in the lottery and he doesn’t fit a need anyway, but he’s fun to watch in college. He’s a man-child-man.
8:57pm CT: New Mexico State vs. San Diego State
No real prospects here either, but I went to San Diego State and love Kawhi Leonard. Go Aztecs!