Our story so far:
Deep in the corporate catacombs of Target Center in Minneapolis, the Timberwolves Draft Central team prepares for the upcoming night of acquisions. After some initial introductions and verbal jostling, our executive cadre preps for their picks...
Glen Taylor: Like I was mentioning before, we're approaching these important selections as a team this year. What Kevin says will have enormous impact, but I want to hear from others, to make sure we're not missing any vital detail that might assist us in making the best selection possible. Let's focus on our third pick. From what I understand, we're down to three potential prospects: OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, and Brook Lopez, or the possibility of trading down. What I would like to do is have Kevin, Fred, and Randy take one of those players each and try to convince us why we should select them. Rob will discuss the trade down option, because frankly, he's made even more controversial trades than we have!
Rob Babcock: Hey!
Glen Taylor: Just Kidding Rob, no offense. Myself, Stack, Petersen and Hanneman, as well as our assistant coaches--Ociepka, Sichting, Bickerstaff, Pinckney, Haskins--and Zarko will all have audience response clickers. The assistants are in another room and watching us by camera. We will compile our reactions to these arguments, then all of us will then use the clickers to vote for a particular player. If the voting is too close, I will step in and make the decision on how to resolve the impasse. Everyone clear?
(All say yes in unison--except for McHale, who simply grumbles under his breath)
Glen Taylor: Kevin, why don't you start?
Kevin McHale: Okay, I like Love. He's got a high basketball IQ, a lot like me. He's got a sweet outlet pass, can hit from the outside, and can play either high or low post. Again, he reminds me a lot of...me. Barrel chest, great low post moves; the one thing he has over me is that he can consistently drain a three. These media types and idiot bloggers think he's too small and slow, but I think he's the perfect compliment to Al. Length is now overrated in our league. We need players who can simply play. Back in the day, they thought Wes Unseld was undersized, and he turned out to be a total stud. He'll be able to play the high post, interchange with Al, and when the ball goes into him down on the block, it won't go into a black hole; he'll swing the ball around to find the right player. Defensively, we'll use double-teams, and the fact that Al got better at the five over the course of last year to make an effective combination. He's a much better rebounder than Lopez, between him and Al we should be able to shut down the opposition's offensive rebounding, a huge problem for us last year. In the end, if you want someone who resembles one of the greatest NBA players of the last 50 years, and you respect the job your current VP of Operations has done for this franchise for over a decade, the choice is clear. Like the Beatles said, all you need is Love.
Glen Taylor: Next up, Fred.
Fred Hoiberg: I have to admit, I'm a big Mayo guy. He's a complete player--good both defensively and offensively. People say he's a duplication of what we already have; but he does one thing that our primary backcourt doesn't do--defend. I'm not disrepecting Shaddy here, but he's a terrible defender. Foye got a little better by the end of the year, but how many years have we had poor perimeter defense? Why is that? One reason is because our guards don't stay in front of anybody, and we have to switch out when the opposing 1 or 2 blows right by. Mayo's not going to solve that completely, but he's a start to fixing the one team component that will help us win more games: our defense. On the offensive end, again, Shaddy's gifted, but he's not a clutch player. We need an athlete who can not only create a shot in the crunch, but actually hit it for the win. OJ's big enough he can play the 1 or 2. Depending on matchups, that's huge, because unlike Marko for example, he'll be consistent on the offensive end. And quicker.
He's handled all the pressure in the world now for how many years? If we can't get Rose or Beasley, this is the next best available player. I say we draft OJ, and work on dealing Shaddy while he still has value, and get a serviceable big.
Glen Taylor: Okay, Randy...you're up.
Randy Wittman: Kevin says length doesn't matter, but you know, it does for our team. Look at how many teams gave us fits last year because we were undersized at the four and five. Look how Dalembert totally stuffed Al early last season, and how we couldn't match up against Toronto's bigs. We can't be a playoff contender if Al is at the 5, and with Love, well, he's even smaller. On the defensive end, Al got
better at blocking shots, but another reason why we're so bad defensively is that once penetration happens, there's no hesitation in the opposition's minds, our interior defense strikes absolutely no fear in their hearts. We need to change that. For that reason alone, Lopez is a great option. He's not a great shot blocker yet, but he's the best, legitimate 5, and his length will give us some measure of ability
to plug our defense. On offense, he's not the passer Love is, but he's a great high post option, with a decent mid-range shot. He'll need one or two more low post moves, but we can teach him that, plus in the high post, he'll create space for Al. As far as Love is concerned, here's a guy who at 19 or 20 already has to eat pre-packaged food just to make weight. What's this kid going to be like in four years? He'll be a poster child for Nutri-System, but will he be good for our franchise? Lopez will get better as he gets older; not fatter. Lopez is a great choice at three.
Glen Taylor: Let's hear from Rob.
Rob Babcock: To be honest, it's a two person draft. From three down to around 14, it's a pick'em game. At this point, we need talent, since at our drafting position there are no superstars available. Let's acquire all the talent we can, fill some holes, and look to get a key front court acquistion via the mid-level. Diop from New Jersey is available; if we got him, and added three or four prospects, I think we've done what we can do to build a decent playoff foundation. I also hear Rafael Araujo is available; I always had a soft spot in my heart for him. Or, if we are lucky, we might be able to pick up Love AND another quality player. Imagine getting two 1st round draft choices, two premium 2nd rounders, and a mid-level. Glen, I know it's a lot to spend, since you're trying to dump salary. but I think it would build some buzz with the fans. I say trade down, and get the best deal available.
Glen Taylor: We've heard all the proposals...let's get to clicking. Which option do you all like the best? Love, Mayo, Lopez, or should we look to trade down?
(The votes are tabulated)
Glen Taylor: As we can see, drafting Mayo has a slight edge over Lopez, then Love...
Kevin McHale: Now wait a minute, I've been the front-office face of this franchise for years. And, I've won world championships. How can anyone doubt my evaluation? Love is the man here, you have to trust me. I know what I'm talking about.
Fred Hoiberg: Kevin, I think you need to calm down, and accept responsibility for your player movements. It really hasn't worked out all that well. We need a real win here, and most of us don't think Love is going to cut it.
Randy Wittman: Yeah! What Fred said.
Tom Hanneman: Dead eye Fred hits the nail on the head!
Glen Taylor: Jim Petersen, how do you think the fans will respond?
Jim Petersen: What the ordinary fan doesn't understand is that there is significant talent throughout the lottery pics this year. The Wolves need to get at least two quality ballers, and continue to work on freeing up cap space in order to get a momentum going.
Kevin McHale: Listen, who's the VP here?
Fred Hoiberg: You are, but Glen's the real boss. Glen, what's your take on all this....Glen, Glen...wake up Glen...
(an alarm clock buzzes in the background, as Mr.Taylor's personal assistant comes in to stir Taylor)
Personal Assistant: Mr. Taylor, it's time to head over to the Target Center for the draft. Did you nap well?
Glen Taylor: (Yawns, stretches) No, it was quite restless. I hope this selection process goes better than in my dreams...
End of Act II - Let the Draft Begin!