As part of what will hopefully become a regular thing this summer, I asked some Wolves writers/bloggers to answer some questions about the Wolves' offseason. Because so many writers agreed to help out on this set of questions, I'm splitting it up into 2 parts, and will have part 2 out later this week.
Featured this time around (only listing their Wolves blogs, but most of them write all over the internet, and do it quite well): William Bohl and Steve McPherson of A Wolf Among Wolves, Andy G and Patrick J of Punch Drunk Wolves, and Derek James of Howlin' T-Wolf.
In this first segment, we talked a bit about the coaching search, and some post-combine draft talk.
*NOTE*: These questions were all given out and answered before this Kevin Love rumors took form, so the answers may not seem entirely timely. I blame Ed Malloy.
1. Any favorites in the coaching search?
Bohl: My favorite candidate is whoever the hell Kevin Love wants the favorite candidate to be. But on a serious note, I have no idea. I just hope Kevin Love feels as though he was instrumental in the process and that the new coach has the respect of the team's veterans. I mean, George Karl would fit the criteria and he'd be fun as hell to cover, but is he really the right guy?
McPherson: Greedily, I'd like to see Mike D'Antoni, mostly because of the wonders he always seems to work with point guards. He made Raymond Felton look competent! And Linsanity! And Kendall Marshall looked great for the Lakers! Unless the makeup of the team is changing drastically, this is an offensively-oriented team. You can either try to turn them into something they're not or maximize what you have, and I personally would prefer the latter. D'Antoni isn't likely winning you a championship, but it could be a lot of fun seeing Rubio, Love, et al in a go-go offense.
AG: In terms of who I expect to be the coach, at this point I would bet on Flip Saunders over the field. That's just because he seems to be (intentionally?) limiting the search to unrealistic candidates like Tom Izzo. If I were in Flip's shoes, and I wanted to make my self-hire the most palatable to fans, it would probably begin just the way he's doing it; "shooting for the stars," so to speak.
In terms of who I would like to see get hired, a well-respected assistant coach who has worked under somebody like Gregg Popovich or Rick Carlisle would make sense. Bill Bayno in Toronto would be a fun hire. I'd like someone with a lot of energy and sufficient expertise. This team showed off its lack of self-motivation this past season. It could stand to benefit from a more vocal sideline leader. A savvy veteran like George Karl or Lionel Hollins would be a good, aggressive move with an eye toward impressing Kevin Love. But Flip might prefer that the next coach be someone who he can control a bit more than the guy who just retired.
PJ: Favorites as in "favorites," or favorites as in "odds of getting hired"? If the former, Bill Bayno. If the latter, Flip Saunders. Why is it we're waiting on Tom Izzo again? (Puts gun to head.)
James: I really like George Karl, obviously, but given his age and previous health concerns, and coming off of Rick Adelman's situation, the Timberwolves may decide to go in another direction. Then again, they may not, no one knows yet. But if they don't go with a veteran like Karl I would like Spurs assistant Jim Boylen or Bulls assistant Ed Pickney. Both of these coaches have been understudies of successful coaches, including Tom Thibideau and Gregg Poppovich.
2. Any particular guy you're hoping to see fall at pick 13?
Bohl: Typical Minnesotan negativity, thinking that the Wolves won't defy the 0.6% odds, win the lottery, draft Andrew Wiggins, entice Kevin Love to stay, and be a contender in the West for the next decade. Shame on you. Fine, I'll play your gloomy little game and assume the Wolves stay put at 13: Gary Harris of Michigan State. He's got good size, seems to be a decent defender, is young for his grade (he doesn't turn 20 until September) and would fit nicely into Minnesota's wing rotation.
McPherson: I know absolutely nothing about prospects until I watch all the videos at Draft Express once the playoffs are over so I'm going to say ... Dario Saric? That's the dude who wants to jump Daenerys Targaryen's bones, right?
AG: Not really, at this point. There seems to be a group of 7 or 8 players that have been consistently slated in the top of Chad Ford's mock drafts. The big names like Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart and Jabari Parker, and a few others like Dante Exum and Aaron Gordon. If someone in that group has an unexpected slide to 13, I think you pounce on it and hope for a steal in overall value. (That won't happen with Wiggins or Parker, and probably not with the others, either.) In the lottery, I just tend to place more importance on "best player available" than fit. That's mostly because rookies don't contribute much to winning teams in this one-and-done era. (See Shabazz's Muhammad's role, last year.) So, whoever it is and however they come to that determination, I hope the Wolves select the player they feel is the best prospect for the future, regardless of position. I have a lot of Draft Express videos to watch, yet. Ask me again in a month and I'll have stronger opinions.
PJ: Marcus Smart, but it won't happen. His ceiling is a hybrid Dwyane Wade-James Harden. His floor is somewhere in Jarrett Jack territory. You could do worse. And if he'd fall to the Wolves, I'd be inclined to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
James: I'm not really sure since there are a whole lot of power forwards and centers-- positions the Timberwolves currently have depth at --so I would expect Gary Harris or Nik Stauskas to be around.
3. Any particular guy in the draft you're hoping to see in general?
Bohl: Dante Exum intrigues the hell out of me, partly because his story sounds like one from a bygone era: the mysterious foreigner who no one seems to know much about, but is still a consensus top-five pick. It's weird that in this day and age, a prospect could be so highly regarded without extensive film of him playing against quality competition. I'm also a believer in Doug McDermott, but I hope he lands in the right situation, i.e. NOT DETROIT, where he's currently projected to go.
AG: Shabazz Napier's March Madness domination was fun to watch. Based on those games, he seems like a potentially-helpful backup point guard. That's a huge area of need for the Timberwolves.
PJ: Julius Randle. I think he could be a future All-Star, but there's an equally good probability that he ends up as one of those rugged, backup power forwards--a junkyard dog who buys his team time for 14-22 minutes a night. But right now he's a delight to watch, so I'll be watching his development closely next season.
James: It will just be interesting to see how this draft shakes out in general after almost two years of build-up. Since anything rarely lives up to its hype it will be interesting to see where that one ends up.