Looking ahead to the 2009 Draft

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I know it's a long, long way off but with training camp almost over and with a long list of players trying to make the team, let's take a quick look at the players that Wolves fans should be keeping their eyes on during the upcoming season:

  1. Ricky Rubio- The 17 year old PG from Spain showed the world that he can play at a high level during the Olympics and he did it at both ends of the court.  If Rubio enters the draft, it's hard to envision a scenario where he is not a lotto pick. 
  2. Brandon Jennings-  The 19 year old PG who skipped college for Italy will spend the next year playing professional ball, probably learning more about handling the business than his freshman peers.  Jennings is a fantastic ball-handler who looks to pass first. 
  3. Stephen Curry- I've made no bones about my belief that Curry is the best thing going in college ball this year.  A stunningly efficient jump-shooter who is able to maintain an extreme ORtg while holding the ball a ton, Curry will be given PG duties during his junior year at Davidson.  If he can maintain his Ortg/%Poss ratio while not turning the ball over and running an offense, Curry should be included in the conversation about who is the best lead guard in the draft.
  4. Nick Calathes- The sophomore guard from Florida isn't the most athletic player and he's not a great finisher around the rim, but he has the size and skills to be the type of player that can play multiple positions off the bench while even taking some time at the point. 
  5. Chase Budinger- For the life of me, I'll never understand why Mr. Budinger did not enter the draft last year.  He has the size, athleticism, and outside stroke to be a fantastic wing player in the NBA.  He needs to work on his aggressiveness but the tools are there.

There are a few other players out there to keep an eye on, but I'm crafting this list with a few things in mind: the Wolves will likely have a late lotto pick as their first pick, and the rest of their picks will be mid-1st to late-1st.  With the exception of Rubio (a possible #1), I'm not trying to predict the order, or even the best ranking of players in the draft.  I'm simply trying to give you a list of players that will a) have a chance to be available with the Wolves' top pick, and b) fit a need with the squad. 

At this point in time, I think it is obvious that the Wolves' top pick next year will be a guard or a wing player.  The Foye/Shaddy Death Match should be settled and the Ollie/Ahearn experiment will be over.  The Wolves will need a point or a lead guard to share the 1 duties with Foye and Bassy; ideally one who can split time at the 2 or 3 (or allow Foye to split more time at the 2). 

Beyond these 5 players, here are 5 more to keep an eye on: Jrue Holliday (G- UCLA), Demar Derozan (G- USC), James Harden (G- AZ State), Tyreke Evans (G- Memphis), and Ty Lawson (G- UNC).  Also, don't forget about Tyler Hansbrough.  Kevin McHale may not be able to help himself if Mr. Hansbrough is sitting there when the Wolves are on the clock with their 2nd 1st rounder. 

Anywho, here's hoping for Curry.  Get on the bandwagon while you can.

Next up, 5 things the Wolves need to improve in order to field a winning squad this season.

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