Reaction to team's draft night moves from around the web
From The Big Lead;
Losers: David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Got their man, Wesley Johnson, but traded for a SG/SF (Webster), then drafted a tweener who probably projects as a SF, and two foreign stash guys who play PF (remember, they still have Al Jefferson and Kevin Love).
Though center DeMarcus Cousins may have a better NBA career, GM David Kahn could not bring himself to duplicate Al Jefferson and Kevin Love in the frontcourt. The versatile Johnson is probably one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft and he fits in well with Minnesota, which is light on scoring and playmaking on the wing.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: "Irrational movement is still progress." The Wolves turned 5 beautiful, untouched picks into a marginally good small forward with a considerable, if not large, contract, and several tweener players that would have been available later in the draft than where they were selected. Wes Johnson is fine, but is he better than Cousins? Than Udoh? Than Monroe? Lazar Hayward... what? And they sent Babbitt to Portland for Martell Webster...and gave them Ryan Gomes! The Wolves' GM got worked by a guy who was fired.
From Bill Simmons/ESPN:
4:54: Minnesota's pick: Wesley Johnson, the Syracuse star and owner of tonight's best look (a blue blazer with checkered pants). The good news: He fills a need for the Wolves (a small forward who can rebound, shoot 3s and play right away) and puts every Syracuse fan on the sparsely filled Minnesota bandwagon (since they have Jonny Flynn as well). The bad news: For a team that's rebuilding and playing the "We're waiting for Rubio" card, he turns 23 in July and averaged just 16 points a game as a 22-year-old junior. He will never, ever make an All-Star team. So I don't know. You're telling me that Cousins (age 19) isn't going to be a better player in 2014 than Johnson is right now? Safe pick. A little too safe.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. Johnson is a phenomenal athlete when asked to move in one direction: straight off the floor or directly forward. He isn't elusive, which will curb his ability to become a star on the wing. The best comparison is to Shawn Marion, who had the same limitation but became a productive scorer and rebounder. Johnson can be that good.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson, Lazar Hayward, Nemanja Bjelica, Paulo Prestes
Listen, I even like Martell Webster. Think highly of him. But to cash in Ryan Gomes' desirable contract and the 16th pick on Webster? Johnson might be terrible, and a guaranteed contract for Lazar Hayward? What an awful night.
In the meantime, Kahn was correct, not even he could not get in trouble with this year's fourth pick.
Chris Mannix/SI.com gives the Wolves a B+;
Here's all you need to know about Wesley Johnson: He enjoys playing in the triangle. Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he felt very comfortable playing in the complex offense. And why shouldn't he? Johnson is a terrific shooter who should get a few open looks playing off Al Jefferson, assuming Jefferson is still a Timberwolf when the season opens. Johnson has star written all over him: He's efficient, a promising defender -- you don't know for sure with guys who played zone at Syracuse -- and a terrific rebounder at his position. Minnesota swapped the rights to Luke Babbitt to Portland for Martell Webster, a good deep shooter who could blossom outside of the Pacific Northwest. They also picked up Lazar Hayward, a limited player who will have trouble adjusting to playing small forward in the NBA.
CBSSports.com gives the team a B:
Analysis: Rubio, Flynn, Johnson, Jefferson, Love ... Sounds good, but it's unlikely Timberwolves fans will ever see it.
From Fox Sports:
Minnesota won 15 games last year, so it's in no position to be drafting players on need. Instead, the Wolves took the best player available in Johnson, who will step in and get major minutes right away. Johnson is athletic and extremely long for a small forward (7-foot wingspan). He could develop into an elite defender, guarding multiple positions. Offensively, he is a future 15-18 ppg player because he can shoot the three and also is nifty getting to the hoop.
Minnesota: The Timberwolves took Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson with the No. 4 pick. Johnson is a versatile athlete who can score from three-point range and get out on the break. Through separate trades they ended up with Portland Trail Blazers forward Martell Webster and Marquette forward Lazar Hayward. Minnesota is loaded at forward, but Johnson adds a much-needed perimeter threat and liked the triangle offense when he worked out for the team.
From Ian Thomsen/SI.com:
• Wesley Johnson. The Timberwolves' decision to use the No. 4 pick on the Syracuse forward makes a lot of sense. For starters, Cousins made it clear he didn't want to come to Minnesota by refusing to work out or interview with the Timberwolves. This is another team that lacks veteran leadership as well as perimeter scoring, and so it might have backfired to force Cousins to face endless double teams without the balance of perimeter scoring for a team he didn't want to join.
Johnson, on the other hand, fills a couple of needs. He has the potential to lead Minnesota in scoring as a rookie with the talent to not only finish in a variety of ways but also to make plays for others. He carries himself with the sense of maturity that Cousins lacks at this time, and the Timberwolves will lean on Johnson's soothing presence. No doubt this is going to be a bad team next season, but Johnson has a chance to become Rookie of the Year by posting big numbers and providing some promise as a foundational star.