“We’re going to exhaust every opportunity to make this team better, whether it’s through trades, getting lucky (and having a good player fall to them at 9),” Saunders said. “I don’t think anybody expected when Portland was picking at 6 last year that they’d have the unanimous rookie of the year.”
“I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to be in the top three. I’d love to be in the top three,” Saunders said. “It’s not where I’m looking to say where our franchise is happy we didn’t’ get in the top there. But with the players that we have, adding through free agency or trades and guys getting healthier, that’s how we’re going to make our jump next year.”
Saunders said unlike the widely popularized moves in the NFL Draft, it’s highly unlikely in the NBA to package those two first rounders to move up to a top three spot. Instead, the question Saunders will ponder is if there is a situation where the No. 9 pick and a player on the current roster could help them move upward. He said teams are not in deal-making mode—teams are instead in Draft mode and will see if there is a player they fall in love with. He said the Wolves, too, have some players they’re taking a hard look at.
The Wolves have two clear needs: shooting on the wings and defense in the paint. Both of those can be potentially addressed in this draft.
I fully believe that Saunders will go to hell and back to get into the top 5 in this draft (whether he pulls it off is a different matter). Again, he's a big, big fan of Victor Oladipo. If he can find a way to draft the kid without selling the whole farm, I think he goes for it.
Adelman, I think, would prefer to simply deal the pick away for a veteran, like he did last year in acquiring Chase Budinger, which could end up being the first real test of the Adelman/Saunders power dynamic.