Archives For 2012 NBA Draft

Robbie Hummel, small forward from Purdue University.

I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with a 58th pick. Do you grab someone you can stash away in Europe for a couple of years? Do you essentially pick a guy that can develop in the D-League for you? Is there a way to address a need at 58? Are you just grabbing someone you hope can push the guys on your roster to compete in Summer League and training camp?

Wolves took Robbie Hummel with the 58th pick for two reasons:

1) He can shoot the lights out and this team sucked at shooting last season.
2) He’s torn his ACL twice.

I’m not sure that Hummel will ever be able to truly compete in the NBA after his injuries. We don’t know if it’s completely robbed him of the athletic ability and quickness to stay with NBA talent on a nightly basis. Before he was injured, Hummel was being picked as an All-American candidate and projecting to be a first round pick. He could have probably gone anywhere from late lottery to the mid-20s in the first round. On February 24, 2010, he tore his right ACL in a game here against the Gophers. About eight months later, Hummel tore the same ACL in a team practice on October 16th. Because these injuries happened to him, he fell drastically over the past two years. He essentially ended up in the Wolves’ reach because his ACL tore twice.

Through both of these devastating injuries, he’s come back. After two ACL injuries in the same knee, Robbie scored 16.4 points per game (career-high) for the Boilermakers last season. Sure, he shot a career-worst 41.7% from the field to get those scoring numbers but he also averaged a career-best 7.2 rebounds per game. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He doesn’t make a ton of plays. He just knows how to shoot the ball and find ways to score.

As far as his athleticism, he’s doing okay. Hummel was never the guy to wow you with his movement from a pure athletic standpoint. But when he measured out for the Draft Combine a couple weeks ago, he finished 23rd out of 40 small forwards in the 3/4 court sprint. He finished 25th out of 39 small forwards in the lane agility test. When he had his workout here in Minneapolis, he looked to be in phenomenal shape and moving quite well without even wearing a knee brace.

It’s unrealistic to think the 58th pick is going to come to the team and have an impact. In the last 10 years, only Luis Scola has been the third-to-last player drafted and made a real impact. The second best player in this classification is a fight between Brandon Hunter, Lester Hudson and Derrick Caracter. No, seriously. But Robbie Hummel isn’t your typical end of the draft guy. He was a legit NBA prospect before blowing out the same knee twice. He came back from those injuries to prove he can still play, and he showed enough in the pre-draft workout to let the Wolves think, “what the hell?” and give him a shot.

This week, the Wolves added two really incredible shooters to their roster. This is a good thing considering the Wolves were 27th in FG%, 23rd in 3FG%, 18th in TS%, and 20th in EFG%. If there was a way to measure shooting from anywhere that wasn’t the free throw line, the Wolves pretty much struggled. Now with guys like Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel on the roster, you can feel a little confident spreading the floor. And when you can spread the floor, you open up driving lanes for Ricky Rubio (when he’s back) and J.J. Barea. You also open up entire sides of the floor for Kevin Love, which in turn opens up the middle for Nikola Pekovic. Adding shooting to this attack is a symbiotic relationship. It allows the offense to be a living and breathing organism.

Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel may not be the sexiest of moves for this team, but the Wolves are addressing a huge need. They need a specific set of skills (like Liam Neeson in Taken) and are grasping them in the morning sunrise of the 2012 offseason.

 

Wolves have taken themselves out of the 18th pick fiasco that I babbled about yesterday by dealing it to the Houston Rockets for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu.

The Eliyahu aspect of the trade shouldn’t really matter. He’s a good athlete that really can’t shoot or do much with the ball. I guess a guy like Rubio could make him valuable in the open court on some level, but he really shouldn’t have a real chance at making the team if the Wolves are serious about filling out this roster. He’ll be at Summer League and we’ll see how he’s progressed.

As far as Chase Budinger goes, I love this deal for the Wolves. Is Chase Budinger a future star in the NBA? No. It’s also unlikely the Wolves would have picked up a wing player at 18 that would have provided the instant production that Chase will bring to the team. Terrence Ross falling to the Wolves seems like the only way the team could have maximized this pick. Otherwise, it’s a lot of square pegs into holes that already have square pegs there.

Chase Budinger is as good of an athlete as anybody that will be available, so let’s not pretend they downgraded there. He’s also a guy that shot 40.2% from 3-point range last year. Not only did he shoot 40.2% from 3-point range last year but he can make corner 3s as well.

Check out the next three shot charts.  Continue Reading…

Befuddled by the process

Zach Harper —  June 25, 2012 — 3 Comments

The Timberwolves are confusing me.

There are some things we know for sure:

– This team plays at the Target Center.
– They currently have a team with two star-quality players in Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
– Rick Adelman is the head coach.
– Glen Taylor is the owner.
– David Kahn is the president of basketball operations.
– The Wolves currently possess the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. They also have the 58th pick.
– They’re currently running one of the oddest draft processes a lot of people have ever seen.

I came back earlier from the Wolves’ workout of Will(ie) Barton, Ramone Moore, Yancy Gates and Garrett Stutz. This was Moore’s second time working out with the Wolves, so maybe they really like his chances of being available at 58 for some backcourt depth. Gates and Stutz are most likely irrelevant and just workout filler to get some big men in here to run some 2-on-2 sets that test guards.

This was Barton’s first workout with the Wolves. He’s been through so many workouts over the past month that he said he actually forgets what city he just came from most mornings. He’ll be in Indianapolis tomorrow and trying to remember that he was just here today. Barton has also been shooting up draft boards throughout this draft process.

When the Wolves pick at 18, it’s possible he’s the guy. When the Wolves pick at 18, it’s also possible Royce White will come home to make his NBA debut. It’s also possible that Fab Melo’s workout with the team Tuesday will vault him into being the 18th pick. Or maybe Draymond Green from Michigan State will get the nod because of his prior workout with the team.

Or what if… um… who else was here… Drew Gordon… yeah… what if Drew Gordon ends up being the pick for the Wolves? Is that a possibility?  Continue Reading…

We are 23 days away from the NBA Draft and we’ve already seen the Wolves invite 26 different players into Minneapolis to have a gander at what they can possibly add to this organization.

For the most part, we’ve seen players that probably aren’t good enough to be taken with the 18th pick in the draft and yet too good to fall to the 58th pick in the draft. This makes it a bit hard to construct our draft board. However, I’m going to attempt to do just that.

A lot of times, you’ll see a draft board for a team that includes anybody you’d like to see on the roster. You’re picking out names that you hope fall to the Wolves or any given team and hopeful that they’ll take a look at these prospects. Our draft board at AWAW will be a bit different. We’re only going to rank those that have come through for workouts and try to figure it out from there.

It’s too early to have a good idea of the actual options that will be there three weeks from now, especially considering we haven’t even had the Draft Combine yet (June 6-10, and on ESPNU at 9am on 6/7).  In both of the Mock Drafts since the lottery unfolded, Chad Ford has the Wolves taking Austin Rivers at 18. But we won’t really know how likely that is until much closer to the draft and if the Wolves end up working him out.

So here is the AWAW Draft Board for 2012 considering only the players that have been brought in so far and it will be updated as more workouts happen for our beloved T’Pups:  Continue Reading…

Jazz hands

The Utah Jazz made the playoffs.

This means the Minnesota Timberwolves will have a first round pick in this year’s allegedly loaded NBA draft. Acquiring Utah’s pick closes the books on the Al Jefferson trade from before last season. We basically ended up receiving movable parts, draft picks we could sell to pay off Kurt Rambis’ deal and this pick.  And this pick, which will fall between 15th and 20th, gives the Timberwolves something to look forward to on draft night.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d much rather this team was relatively healthy and in the playoffs. Even if this meant getting steamrolled in the first round by the Spurs or Thunder, I’d gladly accept that first round experience for such a young squad over trying to figure out what the middle of the first round on draft  night will look like. But that ship sailed a long time ago, when Ricky Rubio’s knee gave out and the Wolves stopped being a competitive team. There was nothing after that night that looked much like what we were seeing with Ricky out there. There was the win in Phoenix and Kevin Love’s 50-point effort in OKC. Other than that, this team became what we saw over the last two years. They were lacking everywhere that counted, especially the win column.

Two things were accomplished this April: 1) the Wolves finally stopped losing all April games with their win over Detroit and 2) the Utah Jazz locked up a playoff berth and give the Wolves some action in the first round.

Sure, David Kahn still seems to be a controlling partner in the structuring of this roster. Maybe Rick Adelman and his crew have more of a say in personnel decisions than we know. Maybe Kahn is still the go-to guy in the front office before Glen Taylor signs off on a deal. I am not overly confident that Kahn will make the right decision here. What I am confident in is that even if they screw this pick up, I find it hard to believe the result will be a player worse than what we saw from the Wolves’ wing players this season.

Now we’ll start looking at draft prospects like Quincy Miller (I’ve been praying for him for months), Terrence Ross (a dead-eye shooter), Royce White (pretty impressive overall talent who is apparently afraid of flying), Jeff Taylor (good defender who just found his stroke this season), Dion Waiters (scoring… SO MUCH SCORING), or even Austin Rivers (that one guy’s kid who most people already don’t like). These seem like the most likely wing players available in our pick range. We could also package the pick and someone like Derrick Williams for a veteran player. We could try to snag a disgruntled wing veteran (hopefully not Kevin Martin) and bring in some much-needed experience and leadership on this squad.

Sure, the Wolves traded a mid-1st round pick two drafts ago and all they got was this lousy Martell Webster haircut, but I’d still take that over trying to talk myself into Luke Babbitt for five years.

The key point is the Wolves have options. It’s not as good as the playoffs would have been, but we now don’t have to hear four hours of Tanguy jokes before the Wolves pick at 57. We get our David Kahn jokes much sooner!

I’m not happy with the way the season ended for the Wolves, but I’m happy we now have something to look forward to before free agency begins. Thanks, Utah. Now please lose your last game. We’ve got a draft pick to prepare for.