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Getting Cute


OK folks, there was a workout yesterday. Derrick Favors came to town and he ran up and down at the Target Center and jumped very high. According to Tweets, emails, and a few phone calls, we can tell you that he may have been a tad out of shape, very impressive for an 18 year old, and he can run the court like a gazelle (even when out of shape?). None of that matters. What really matters is below the fold...

The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the 4th pick in a 4 player draft. They also have two point guards (Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions), two power forwards (Kevin Love and Al Jefferson), two additional first round picks, two second round picks, and two stashed Euros (Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic) to move in any number of combinations to get additional serviceable starting-level players, additional picks, whatever.

The bottom line for the team is that if they are unable to use their assets to get the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd best player in this draft, they take the BPA and use their assets to adjust the roster accordingly. At this stage of the game, it should be Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins or bust. I cannot tell you how big of a gap there is between these 3 players (and John Wall) and Wes Johnson. It's the Grand Canyon of the 2010 NBA Draft. This isn't to say that Wes Johnson isn't a nice player (he should be a very nice 3rd or 4th option and a terror in transition); rather, it's to say that for the first time in a long time, the Wolves have not found themselves as the one-pick-too-late player in a sparsely populated draft. For once, they aren't on the Laettner outside looking in at the beautiful O'Neal/Mourning interior. They're on the inside. They get to pick one of the big boys no matter what happens.

Keeping this in mind, there is nothing a 15-win team should worry about in terms of fit, roster cohesiveness, or locker room dynamics that should prevent them from taking one of the best 4 players in a 4 player draft with the 4th pick. It's that f'ing simple. If it's Derrick Favors, fine. If it's DeMarcus Cousins, even better. If it's Evan Turner, go nuts. If Derrick Favors is ranked higher on their board than DeMarcus Cousins, then they should try to do whatever they can to get him. If Evan Turner is ranked higher than that, the same thing holds true.

What should not happen is for this team to trade out of the plush O'Neal/Mourning surroundings into Laettner-ville. That's insane. Unless the team is able to move the 4th pick for an honest-to-Pete NBA All Star level performer, there is no reason to pull a Hello Kitty and get all cute. None. Zilch. Zip.

What will be especially frustrating about this draft is if the top talent in the draft falls in their laps at the 4th spot and they pass on him for a 23 year old athletic swingman.

Getting off my soapbox for just a little bit, at this point I think the Wolves' draft should be viewed in the very stark terms of Turner, Favors, Cousins or bust. While I think that DeMarcus Cousins is the best player in this draft (teenagers with that type of size, skill and production are once-in-a-decade type talents), there is absolutely nothing wrong with "settling" for Derrick Favors. Nothing at all.

If Evan Turner is taken with the 2nd pick, and the Wolves are unable to move up for his services, Favors and Cousins offer the Wolves two high percentage chances of success with similar roster implications. Either player makes it necessary to move one of their power forwards for a wing player. Either player lets them use their remaining assets to move up for another draft pick. Do not get cute. If Wall and Turner are off the board, there should be no excuse for this team not to walk away with Cousins or Favors. Wes Johnson is a massive step down from these two players.

Just what sort of players are we talking about with Favors and Cousins?

%poss TS% OR%/DR% TORate Blk% FD/40 FTR 2p% pts/poss PPR
DMC 31.3 57.9 19.6/25.1 15.8 7.5 8.3 72.6 .565 .1.14 --5.93
DF 22.1 62.1 12.3/20.5 23.2 7.9 4.7 48.8 .613 .1.11 -6.63

It really is hard to overstate just how efficient and productive DMC was during his single season at Kentucky. When he was on the court, he ended nearly a 3rd of his team's possessions while shooting the ball at a fair clip, dominating the glass, blocking shots, scoring more than a point/possession, and hardly turning the ball over. The guy flat out ends mountains of possessions in a positive fashion. Again, it's that simple.

Derrick Favors had about 70% of DMC's usage rate and he was unable to match not only his efficiency rates, but, in most cases, his net production. That's crazy. Now put that production into a guy with a massive wingspan, amazing standing reach, and...well, let's take a look at the physical numbers:

Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach No-Step Vert Lane Agility
DF 6'10.25" 245 7'4" 9'2" 31.5" 11.74
DMC 6'10.75" 292 7'5.75" 9'5" 23.5" 11.4

Favors clearly can jump with the best of them but DMC has what we Wolves fans have grown to love: small area quickness. For those of you who watched Kentucky this year, the big fella can hedge on screens, run the floor, and even make his way out to 15-17 feet to contest some jump shots with a bit of room to recover. He's clearly not in Favors' league in terms of getting from end to end, but with 1/2 court defense and the pick and roll, the guy will do just fine.

As for Favors, the guy is a huge athletic marvel with phenomenal shooting numbers and amazing defensive potential at age 18. Age, rebounding, athleticism....if the kid picked a better college he probably could be in the conversation for the top pick. Big 18 year olds who can shoot over 60% from 2 are pretty hard to find too.

Cutting back to the main point of this post, the Wolves are damn-near guaranteed one of these two players. If they don't get one of these guys, they are guaranteed the 2nd best player in the draft in Turner. Think about that for a moment before you think about how nice it would be for Wes Johnson to be a Timberwolf. The Wolves, if they just stand pat with the 4th pick, get one of the 4 best players in a 4 player draft. If Kevin McHale were still GM, they'd finally be in a position where he couldn't screw it up. All they have to do is take the BPA and be done with it.

Anywho, no matter what happened at yesterday's workout, and no matter what happens with DMC's agent, nothing is going to change the fact that the Wolves will get a shot at one of the 4 best players in a 4 player draft. They cannot mess this up...unless they get cute. They can then use the rest of their considerable assets to build a winning team. Please, do not over think this one.

OK, here's where we stand with the Community Draft Board:

  1. John Wall (54%)
  2. Evan Turner (81%)
  3. Derrick Favors (50.8%)
  4. DeMarcus Cousins (64.3%)
  5. Wes Johnson (85.9%)
  6. Al Faroq Aminu (38%)
  7. Greg Monroe (30.4%)
  8. Paul George (37.1%)
  9. Xavier Henry (61.7%)
  10. Cole Aldrich (35.1%)
  11. Gordon Hayward (28%)
  12. Luke Babbitt (33.6%)
  13. Ed Davis (26.9%)
  14. Hassan Whiteside (29.4%)
  15. Ekpe Udoh (41.4%)