The Wolves wound up with four players in last night's draft, two of whom will receive guaranteed contracts as first round picks.
We've been over Shabazz Muhammad just a little bit. There is almost no reason to expect him to be an NBA contributor. Every statistical model rates him as essentially a replacement level player at best. vjl110's models see him as a 0.5 peak win player, with a 65% bust probability. Kevin Pelton's WARP system similarly sees him as a likely bust with very little upside. Scouts seemed to be cooling on him throughout the season, as his flaws became more evident (and he magically aged a year).
However, he's going to be a Wolf. Presumably he'll either be coming off the bench or staying on it, but he'll be on the roster. Let's hope for the best.
Here is his Draft Express scouting video:
With the 21st pick, the Wolves chose Gorgui Dieng, center from Louisville. Dieng played a big role in Louisville's run to the National Championship, He's a solid rebounder and shot blocker with extreme limitations on offense. He is also very old for a prospect, having turned 23 in January. He has a chance to be a useful back-up big man who can protect the rim effectively. vjl110's models don't think much of him, projecting a peak win season of 0.7 and a 62% bust likelihood. I assume age is a big factor here, but vjl can chime in below. Ekpe Udoh may be his upside, which I mention because it sounds like the Wolves could trade Luke Ridnour straight up for Udoh, which would have helped balance the roster and brought in someone who is an established interior defender.
Here is his Draft Express scouting video:
With their second round picks, the Wolves took two players unlikely to make the roster.
At 52, they selected Lorenzo Brown, a 6'5" point guard from North Carolina State. Brown is a poor scorer and shooter, but does pile up the assists and steals. vjl110's models actually like him quite a bit for a second round pick, forecasting 2.3 peak wins, but with a very high 69% bust rate. I would be surprised if he made the team, especially if Alexey Shved remains.
At 59, they selected Montenegrin Bojan Dubljevic. He's a shooting 4/5 with limited athleticism but good shooting skills. He played effectively for a pretty good ACB team at 21 years old, which is not bad. He'll be in Europe for the foreseeable future. He is expected to be on the roster, along with Nikola Pekovic, for the Eurobasket 2013 tournament later this summer.
The Wolves traded their 26th overall pick to Golden State, along with Malcolm Lee, for a 2014 2nd rounder (presumably Golden State's, but I'm not positive), and $1.6 million. This saves them a roster spot and a few dollars on the cap.
So that was the draft. Flip Saunders admitted that this was not their ideal scenario. The AP Wolves guy tweeted that they had no intention of drafting Muhammad:
If Muhammad gets his head on straight, could turn into really nice player. But Wolves had zero intention of taking him. Will be interesting
If Muhammad gets his head on straight, could turn into really nice player. But Wolves had zero intention of taking him. Will be interesting— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 28, 2013
But here we are. Flip also acknowledged that they did not really address their shooting needs, and will attempt to do so through free agency and trades.
We will find out in the next 48 hours whether Andrei Kirilenko opts in or out of his 2013-14 contract; the current assumption is that he will opt out. If he does so, my guess (and that's all it is) is that Saunders will not seriously pursue bringing him back at a lower annual rate.
So we move on to the trade and free agency season. Teams can start talking to free agents on July 1st, and can begin signing them on July 10th, the start of the new cap year. It seems fairly certain that one of Ridnour or Barea will be moved, and the scuttlebutt seems to be that the Wolves are getting offers for Ridnour. He was always the more likely to go, since he's a better player on a better contract. Darren Wolfson tweeted this last night:
In the meantime, most local media is convinced that Flip will pursue OJ Mayo in free agency. We'll analyze that more when and if it happens, but I'll say this: he isn't much bigger than CJ McCollum. So there's that.
Even if AK opts out, the Wolves will not have much cap room to play with, given Pek's cap hold and eventual salary.
Lots left to do this summer. Will Derrick Williams remain with the team? Will Budinger be re-signed? How much will Pek's inevitable offer sheet be? Who will be the starting shooting guard and small forward?
We'll see. I can't say last night's happenings imbued me with confidence about this front office. But we'll take the events as they happen.
In the meantime, there is a press conference today at 2:30 pm to introduce Muhammad and Dieng. I wouldn't expect Flip to get the tough questions from local media, but it should be streaming on the Wolves site for anyone who wants to watch it.
Thanks for reading everybody. I appreciate every one of you.