|Minnesota Timberwolves 2012 Draft Preview |
|By John McMullen, NBA Editor |
The turning point of Minnesota's 2011-12 season came back on March 9 when it lost dynamic rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL in a loss to the Lakers. The Wolves floundered from there, missing a chance at a postseason berth.
That said, things in the Twin Cities are no longer a lost cause. The franchise has two solid building blocks now in Rubio along with All-Star power forward Kevin Love, who was extended through the 2014-15 season. That gives David Kahn three more seasons to tinker with things before Love can opt out.
Powerful underrated center Nikola Pekovic is under a cost effective deal through next season and the team has a solid wing with upside in Derrick Williams
A healthy Rubio along with a offensive minded shooting guard could turn the Wolves into a playoff club by next season. Picking 18th overall Minnesota could look at St. John's small forward Moe Harkless as well as swingmen Jeffery Taylor of Vandy and Will Barton of Memphis.
There have also been substantive rumors linking the Wolves and the Rockets in a deal that would send Kevin Martin to Minny, presumably for the 18th pick.
Under Contract: G: Ricky Rubio; G: J.J. Barea; G: Luke Ridnour; G: Wayne Ellington; G: Wes Johnson; G: Malcolm Lee; G/F: Martell Webster; F: Kevin Love; F: Derrick Williams; C: Nikola Pekovic; C: Darko Milicic
Free Agents: F: Anthony Tolliver; F: Michael Beasley (restricted); F: Anthony Randolph (restricted)
Recent Draft History: 2011: Derrick Williams (2), Donatas Motiejunas (20) 2010: Wesley Johnson (4), Luke Babbit (16), Trevor Booker (23), Paulo Prestes (45), Hamady Ndiaye (56) 2009: Ricky Rubio (5), Jonny Flynn (6), Ty Lawson (18), Wayne Ellington (28), Nick Calathes (45), Henk Norel (47) 2008: O.J. Mayo (3), Nikola Pekovic (31), Mario Chalmers (34) 2007: Corey Brewer (7), Chris Richard (41)
Draft picks: 1st round (18th overall), 2nd round (58th overall)