The day has finally arrived. After months of tanking and weeks of consideration, the 2015 NBA Draft is here. At 6:30pm CT tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be on the clock to select first overall. What's the plan?
The #1 Pick and the Wolves' Plans
Flip Saunders, in yesterday's media availability, said that he has decided who the team will select first overall, but did not reveal it. Well-placed media in the Twin Cities, such as the Associated Press's Jon Krawczynski, remain very confident that Karl-Anthony Towns is the pick, which is the consensus of most of the Internet. Flip did say that analytics rate Towns as the best player in the draft. We've all read likely hundreds of articles on the choice by this point, but do feel free to go back and browse through our draft coverage of the last few weeks. Ricky Rubio, for one, knows who he wants and has no reason to stay silent:
On the Towns note, he was very visible at the NBA's draft media day in New York yesterday and had some interesting comments, shown here at timberwolves.com. He was also featured in this video by VICE Sports, a good watch.
As far as the Wolves' other two picks in the draft at 31 and 36, Flip had a word or two about those yesterday:
Another tip of the hand from Flip: Asked what they'll target in 2nd rd, free agency, he said the backcourt, shooting and ball-handling— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 24, 2015
That doesn't immediately sound like trading up, but the possibility remains, as it has for a while. Anthony Bennett and Chase Budinger are both available to be attached to any potential trades, but not many rumbles have come their way, to little surprise. Still, it's draft day, and who knows what's going to happen.
The Rest of the NBA: The Boogie Fiasco
As far as the draft itself goes, have a look at Kevin O'Connor's most recent prospect rankings for the mothership, as well as any number of the thousands of mock drafts around the web. The intrigue in the rest of the league comes almost more in the trades and roster moves that have happened and could happen. Let's have a roundup, shall we?
- The day started with a quiet Woj announcement: Former Timberwolf Luke Ridnour was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Memphis Grizzlies for 2013 second round pick Janis Timma. Ridnour could provide some shooting off the bench for Memphis, which would be nice.
- Then, the announcement of former Timberwolf Kevin Love's expected decision to decline his player option and have another look at free agency became the talking point of the afternoon. This was widely expected, and it remains widely expected that Love will simply return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who can give him both the most money and the most years. However, other teams can now plead their cases, including the Boston Celtics, who plan to make him a part of a new big three with Robin Lopez and Paul Pierce... wait, scratch that "new" part; and the Phoenix Suns, who were back in the running to trade for Love last summer. The Los Angeles Lakers, naturally, will also attempt to attract Love, and the Portland Trail Blazers may make a run at Love if they lose Lamarcus Aldridge. Again, the most likely destination remains a stay in Cleveland, but the Cavs now have to sweat.
- Speaking of the Blazers, they made themselves a deal today. Portland traded Nicolas Batum, who struggled mightily with injury last year, to the Charlotte Hornets for Gerald Henderson and 2014 first rounder Noah Vonleh. This move has interesting details for both sides. It could be viewed as Portland beginning to deconstruct and rebuild, and Charlotte attempting to move up the pecking order in the Eastern Conference by adding a proven scorer. Charlotte, already having moved Lance Stephenson this week, is not content yet, looking for a new home for Cody Zeller as well.
- And now the hypotheticals. There was word that the Hornets and Thunder were talking about a move involving Jeremy Lamb and Matt Barnes('s contract) to allow the Thunder to drop a little salary, but that's small beans.
- The big topic of this week, the mess involving Demarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings, appears to have accelerated again, with the Lakers and Kings now trying to put a framework for a deal together. The pieces in play other than Cousins (via the Woj article linked) could feature any of: Carl Landry (and his salary) leaving the Kings; Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and tomorrow night's #2 overall pick from the Lakers. Woj also mentions other teams now attempting to put together offers, and namechecks the Denver Nuggets, unsurprisingly. This will be on hot coals all day tomorrow, and we'll have updates throughout the day. Boogie has no problem speaking his mind:
Keep it here throughout the day today. We'll post trade news in this thread as it comes in, and will obviously have a new thread up for tonight's festivities. The number one pick is a celebration, let's make it so.