When I watched the draft last year, all the best scenarios hinged on one thing - Memphis taking Thabeet. For one, it would kill a pick in front of the Wolves with a player that wasn't coveted. And second, it would prevent the wolves from doing anything stupid like actually drafting him, or even more depressing, being forced to draft him as the BPA according to the 'consensus' but knowing in your heart he was a D-leaguer.
Due to the Wolves specific needs and the buzz around certain players, I believe the Hasheem Thabeet Approach to the Draft (HTAD) could be useful in predicting and judging this year's draft.
Analyzing the 4th Pick- This comes down to who goes 1, 2 and 3. And oddly, John Wall is a good candidate for the HTAD. Now don't get me wrong, I think Wall will be an excellent PG in the NBA, but the Wolves already own the rights to an excellent PG. If Wall fell to 4, yes the Wolves take him and then have a hard choice - convert him to SG or trade him (or Rubio) at a discount since everyone knows you HAVE to trade him. In effect, Washington is doing us a favor by taking Wall, burning a pick in front of us, and making our situation less complicated. Wall represents the upside of the HTAD theory (as opposed to the downside represented by ... keep reading).
Philly is tougher to figure out, but I can't see them taking Turner. At the end of the day, every team drafts for need over BPA (this is why Wolves fans won't feel any pain when the Wiz take Wall, but all of us will curse when Evan Turner comes off the board). Philly will not burn their pick on another wing when they have a front court of Brand, Speights and Hawes. They will take a big, my guess is DMC, or more likely trade down to 4, 7 or 10.
NJ will take Turner if he's there. I pray they fall in love with Favors - or better yet Wes Johnson, but a PF can be found with cap space and NJ has that. There aren't too many wings available in free agency this year.
So this takes us to the Wolves... and if we take Wes Johnson, every team is smirking at their luck for not having to waste a high pick on a wing that may not be any better than the next 3-4 wings off the board. Wes and this year's wing crop after Turner (Wes/Aminu/Henry/George/etc) are akin to last year's PG crop after Rubio (Flynn/Jennings/Lawson/Teague/Curry). Good luck picking the best from that crop (with kudos to this site for picking Curry, but that certainly wasn't the 'national consensus'), but the price of guessing will vary greatly (a 4-6 pick for Wes and the 6th for Flynn vs. the 18th pick for Lawson).
The best thing that could happen to the Wolves is for teams ahead of them to take Wall and Wes - thus HTAD applies to those players.
At 16, this gets trickier. There are a number of players I would be happy with at 16, and who I'd want largely depends on who the 4th pick is. But generally I'm happy if the Wolves have a shot at one of the following:
Cole Aldrich, Ekpe Udoh, Xavier Henry, and James Anderson. I'll be sad every time one of these guys is taken off the board.
HTAD guys who I hope to see taken 5-15:
Aminu and Monroe - I like these players (upside HTAD) and they deserve to go high, but like Wall, cause complications for the Wolves. It's best if these guys go elsewhere and burn picks.
Ed Davis, Luke Babbit, Paul George, Avery Bradley, Bradley Orton - If any of these guys last till 23, I would consider them, but the consensus has all of them going much higher. My opinion is these guys are busts, but have enough value at 23 to take a flyer. I'm just hoping other teams overpay for that flyer in the 5-15 range.
Patrick Patterson, Gordon Hayward, Damion James, Stanley Robinson, Gani Lawal, Craig Brackins, Larry Sanders - If any or many of these guys go 5-15 I'll be ecstatic. I wouldn't consider any of them for the wolves before the 2nd round and the consensus is that all these guys are first rounders. I hope and pray these guys burn draft picks 10-15.
At 23, the HTAD game breaks down a bit. It becomes easier to say who I'd like to see left rather than eliminate guys who are projected in that range. Basically every player taken after 20 is essentially a flyer. I'm happy if these guys are still around: James Anderson, Luke Babbit, Paul George, Solomon Alabi, Hassan Whiteside, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford, Dexter Pittman and Quincy Pondexter.
A couple of these guys should be long gone by 23, but considering the length of my list, I like a lot of guys who will be available in the 20's or early 2nd. In fact, I'd love to trade 23 and a 2nd to Memphis for their 2 picks in the late 1st round to get two of these guys.
In the 2nd round, guys I'd like to see the Wolves target (in addition to anyone listed above who plummets on draft day):
Dexter Pittman - Can't hurt to have man-mountain around. Will need him to cover DMC, a fat Shaq and Big Baby.
Greivis Vazquez - sounds like he could be the backup PG for my all Spanish team, and I think he has game.
Lance Stephenson - ton of talent and a head case, but 2nd rounders don't get paid much or long term. Very acceptable risk.
Jarvis Varnando - yeah he's small, but 5 blocked shots a game?!? Maybe he's Ben Wallace small...
Darrington Hobson/Devin Ebanks - I think one of these guys will be a solid NBA starter. I prefer Hobson.
Willie Warren - Has Jamal Crawford written all over him. I'll burn a 2nd on him.
Alexey Shved - A Russian Rudy? With the 56th pick, why not?
My reaction when Memphis took Thabeet last year with the number 2 pick was:
5 minute fist pump of celebration (91 votes)
completely bummed, I wanted him to fall to the Wolves (17 votes)
108 total votes