Big Al and Draft Week

Any readers out there have a friend or acquaintance who is in a destructive relationship? The “always fighting,” how-can-these-people-possibly-still-be-dating types? I don’t get it either. Regardless, when it comes to relationships, some informal articles and professionals seem to think there is a certain breed of personality that is attracted to drama and fighting. The emotional high of destruction is a stress relief and is that particular person’s only way to cope with any other issues. I believe it is also called the Projection defense mechanism, although I am probably wrong (highly credible source here). It is not necessarily an indicator of an abusive individual per se but more…let me just stop right there.

Before this continues, I am not here to suggest anyone who follows the Wolves is in a destructive relationship or fights with their spouse twice daily about who has to water the Bogonias (quite the battle sometimes though), but does the cleverly coined phrase “re-re-re-re-re building” sound familiar? We all have heard it by now, we all complain about our sub-par squad, and we all want a playoff/championship team. Yet, for some reason or another, so many of us appear to be attracted to this sub-par destructive pattern of irrational draft-pick fetish. It’s as if, for some strange reason, we want to stay in this negative, rebuilding stage. Why? For example, one of the most commonly discussed trades out there is a three-piece deal of Al Jefferson to the Detroit Pistons for the 7th pick and Tayshaun Prince.  Aside from a precursor to a move-up-to-2 trade, this is just a backwards-thinking, destructive move. How does this make us a Championship team? Anyone?


Big Al’s Future

First of all, I do not want to dismiss the idea of trading for another top 10 draft selection in order to round out the rotation next year, or use in future trade. I think the more young talent you can add to a team, the better, especially given our current situation. However, do the names Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Nene’ ring a bell? All historic #7 picks. Sure, an Eric Gordon or Steph Curry to consider, but do any of these historical #7 guys added in replacement of Jefferson (less Brewer for obvious reasons) bring us any closer to championship-level roster? Then what is the point? Trade him at his lowest value just because he might not fit with Love and Darko Milicic? Pointless and irrational. That is what gets GM’s fired, and also what keeps 99.999% of the Twin Cities Metro area far away from Target Center every winter.

Here are a few guys being mentioned in the 6-10 range this year: Aminu, Aldrich, Patterson, Cousins (doubtful) Udoh, George, Monroe, Babbitt, Davis. Once you actually attach a name is to this draft-pick-on-a-pedestal, doesn’t it just sound a little less appealing? A legitimate NBA Center who, simply, put, has an excellent chance at a 20 and 10 season next year for more cap space and another turn at the bar dart board? Start the season with a Flynn, Brewer, Aminu, Cousins, Darko lineup? Really? It just doesn’t make any sense. Especially considering we have 4 other draft picks we can swing in smaller deals to nab one of those guys if we really needed to.

If and when Al is shipped, he needs to be moved for some help on the wings, or a PF upgrade, from legitimate NBA talent. No more 7-10 pick range rookies or crapshoots, and no more rebuilding trades. Not for Al.  Now, the problem is, who are the candidates? Granger has been rumored for months, and that doesn’t appear to be happening. So dare I say it, but if nothing reasonable comes along that nets us a quality, potential star-level swingman, then the best bet could be just to just keep Al. At least for awhile. Again, forward thinking is the name of the game. Some could argue that keeping Al is a backwards move in and of itself given the direction the team is going. A decent point, but it’s a much better option than Tayshaun Prince and the rights to Luke Babbitt. Turner though, I admit, could be a different story.

Moving up to #2

It sounds more and more like this may be a difficult thing to pull off. Last week, Kahn appeared kahnfident that the Wolves would shift around in the draft. This week, his tone changed dramatically. Aside from a slew of crazy “smokescreen?” theories, I think we can assume that he is telling the truth. That really should be all you need to hear.  If anything, Kahn has shown us that what he says to the media seems to hold true. Recent example: the trading deadline. Kahn said he wouldn’t be very active, and then he wasn’t, yet fans everywhere seemed to be shocked only 1 minor move was made. This is of course pretty unfortunate, and no matter how many draft boards you check up on today or tomorrow, there is just no way Turner slips to 4. So, Cousins or Johnson it is.

It seems in any past draft, any player in the top 4 seems to have a legit chance at becoming an elite NBA player. No matter how it’s sliced and diced, this year is no different. Turner could very well be as much of a flop as Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins and vice-versa. So with any move-up trade, it’s important to consider the price involved. Al and the #4 for Brand and the #2 was too high of a price to pay to move up 2 spots. While getting Turner would be great, I’m not sure it is worth taking on a cap-space eating contract and/or giving up someone like Kevin Love et. al.  However, based on Kahn’s recent statements, nothing appears imminent.

Wrapping it up, this weekend is going to be interesting. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing super significant happens all. Fully expect to have a draft pick sold for cash, or some other gut-wrencher. Fully expect to not move up to 2, and fully expect some guys who you never thought had it in them to over-perform next season Brandon Jennings style. The draft is always a complete, vastly overanalyzed crapshoot. Trade Al for established NBA talent if you can, and if you can’t, then hold on to him for awhile until a deal comes along. Because one will, and it will be better than an expiring contract, Cole Aldrich and cash considerations.

Much discussion on this topic is ensuing HERE in our TWB Forums!


About wallyworld

Mike has been writing for TWB as a hobby since the Kahn era, and currently resides in a Dallas suburb where he can often be heard loudly arguing with his neighbors about his strong dislike for JJ Barea. When not working, Mike enjoys playing the drums and pretending to like other sports.