Manny Harris, G, Michigan
Sylven Landesberg, G, Virginia
Lance Stephenson, G, Cincinnati
Stanley Robinson, F, Connecticut
Ryan Richards, F, England
Jarvis Varnado, F, Mississippi
Andy Rautins, G, Syracuse
Denis Clemente, G, Kansas State
Tommy Mason-Griffin, G, Oklahoma
Donald Sloan, G, Texas A&M
Craig Brackins, F, Iowa State
Latavious Williams, F, Tulsa 66ers (NBDL)
(Timberwolves General Manager David) Kahn and Wolves coach Kurt Rambis have identified an athletic small forward/shooting guard as a key offseason priority for the club, and Johnson, a first-team All-American last season, appears to fill that role. ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale called Johnson the best small forward in the draft.
“Johnson would be a solid pick for Minnesota,” (ESPN college basketball analyst Dick) Vitale said. “He’s got the athleticism, quickness and explosiveness you want in a player at his position.”
When Kurt Rambis became the Timberwolves coach last August, president of basketball operations David Kahn had completed most of the moves that left only five players from the 2008-09 roster.
The timing is much better now for Rambis, who is following through on comments he made during the NBA regular season that he wants to be more involved in the team’s offseason plans.
“I will be very active … extremely active,” Rambis said Monday after the first session of workouts this week at Target Center for players available in the June 24 NBA draft. “I understood there were a lot of business decisions made last year. This year we’ll be making personnel decisions, and that’s a huge difference.”
Rambis traveled with Kahn to Chicago last week for the NBA’s predraft camp. Rambis and Kahn are leaving town again Wednesday for an eight-day trip to Europe to scout point guard Ricky Rubio in the Spanish League playoffs and 6-foot-11 center-forward Nikola Pekovic in the Greek League playoffs.- Please tell me this doesn’t mean we’ll draft another Jonny-Flynn-to-Run-the-Triangle type pick. Or Wes Johnson.
We all knew when David Kahn took over as President of the Minnesota Timberwolves a little more than a year ago that the rebuilding process for the franchise would mean more losses than wins in the short term.
Kahn implicitly admitted that a ton of losses were on the horizon when he stated that he would need at least 17 months to transform the Timberwolves. No one panicked in Wolves Nation as no one believed that a few minor changes would turn Minnesota into a title contender.
The plan from the outside appeared to be relatively simple.
- Nothing is simple with this organization. If we don’t hit it huge this off-season and draft, it will set the Wolves back another half-decade at least. Sorry, but it’s true.
The Timberwolves are hosting workouts this week for about 40 draft-eligible college players. Just about everybody who’s anybody at the NBA executive and coaching level is attending these workouts. Guys such as Larry Bird (Indiana Pacers president), Pat Riley (Miami Heat president) and Flip Saunders (Washington Wizards coach) were in attendance Monday along with, of course, Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn. I talked to Kahn about what he plans to do with the NBA draft’s fourth overall pick, which the Wolves acquired in last week’s lottery.
BS: How many scenarios have you run through your mind?
BS: Is there a likely scenario?
DK: No, not yet. And it takes two. You can’t do things in a vacuum.
BS: Is your phone ringing off the hook with offers for the fourth pick?
DK: No. Just a lot of conversation. It started last week. It will only pick up and intensify as we move closer (to the draft).
- Follow the link for the rest of the interview. If you dare.
Staying In School Is Not Cool
From Phil Miller at the Star Tribune:
There once was no decision to make: College basketball players spent four years in school, used up their eligibility, and if they were good enough, turned pro. But that era is so far in the past, NBA basketball might have evolved into one of the few professions in the world in which a diploma is frequently regarded not as an accomplishment, but as a red flag.
To NBA scouts, getting a B.S. sometimes just means you’re halfway to B-U-S-T.
“It can be a hindrance, if there is a perception that their development stopped at some point,” Timberwolves president David Kahn said Monday as he oversaw workouts for a dozen NBA hopefuls at Target Center. “It can be a good thing or a bad thing.”
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- It was the first OT game so far this NBA Post-Season. What the hell?
- Built like an ox.
From Bob Sansevere at Pioneer Press:
Former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders was back in the Wolves’ practice facility Monday watching draft-eligible players work out for NBA coaches and executives. Now the coach of the Washington Wizards, who won the first overall pick in the NBA draft via the lottery, Saunders likely will be coaching Kentucky’s John Wall next season. And if not Wall, it will be Ohio State’s Evan Turner. Wall and Turner are considered the top two picks available in next month’s draft. Here is Saunders …
On whether he anticipates another team making the Wizards an offer they can’t refuse for the top pick: “They might try, but that’s not going to happen.”
On whether he felt the Wizards were due for some good karma after a difficult season that included star player Gilbert Arenas being suspended for having a firearm in his locker: “We went through a tough year. I don’t know if it’s karma, but there’s no question (the first pick) puts us in a great position. We’ve got some great players at the top of the draft.”
On whether the Wizards will pick Wall or Turner: “I’m not saying anything. We’re going to bring everyone in. You go through the whole process and wait and see where things are. You have one player, in Wall, who is the most dynamic player in the draft. And probably the most versatile player is Turner. They both can bring something to each team they go to.”
- All I can say is what the heck took them so long? LeBron has been coaching that team the past three seasons anyways. I guess the timing probably had something to do with him being owed a $4.5 million bonus if he wouldn’t have been fired by today.
- Why? I guess they think they can compete, and win, NOW. I don’t see it. P.S. Trade us the #2 pick so we can draft Evan Turner. Thanks!