Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wolves Move Foye, Miller Analysis

It is now being reported pretty widely (but first broken, it appears, by Ian Thomsen at SI) that the Wolves have traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye to The Washington Wizards for their #5 Pick, and a bunch of lightly used, slightly irregular basketball players--Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, Oleksiy Pecherov. No disservice to those guys, but they are clearly not linchpins of the trade--presumably they were included to help even out the salary numbers between the two sides, and most of them are probably not part of the Wolves long or short term plans. It is a commentary of how bad the big men of the Wolves are that they do all have a shot of making the team--Mark Madsen won't instantly get his accustomed role to sit on the deep end of the bench next season.

So the Wolves have four first round picks now, with two of them being in the Top 6. It's hard to imagine GM David Kahn is done dealing--who wants to have to sign four first round guys? But no one seems quite sure what the plan is. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Trib reports the various pieces of the rumors that he has heard--some of them seem pretty fanciful to me.

To be fair, I don't see where in ESPN's reporting what Zgoda says they report, which is that the Wolves are keeping both the #5 and #6. I think Zgoda just misread the report here, which says what we've heard in Minnesota all week, which is that Wolves want to keep two lottery picks, and they are hoping to package ONE of the Top 6 picks with other picks or players to move up to #2.

In fact, most reporting seems to agree that the Wolves are trying to move up to #2, but there is some argument as to who they are after. Zgoda thinks this is all work to get Ricky Rubio, which I don't fully understand. In a draft loaded with talented guards, why go for Rubio? And why blow so much effort and capital? I get that he is super-talented, though I haven't seen him play much myself. The Wolves just spent a good deal of time looking at just about every first round bound point guard that the draft has to offer not named Ricky Rubio. And from all reports, the Wolves would be quite happy with Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Steph Curry, or even crossing their fingers and hoping Ty Lawson is available to them later on. I just don't see it them spending all of this time for Rubio.

I think it is Thabeet that they are gunning for. The common concerns of Thabeet--his hands, his offensive skill set, his ability to defend against guys shorter but more physical than him, are at least somewhat mitigated given the guys he'd be playing with. Al Jefferson and Kevin Love could be drawing double-teams deep in the paint; they'll also be covering the guys sized like DeJuan Blair, who was such a headache for Thabeet during the Big East season this past year. He'd also become, instantly, the most talented big man the Wolves have drafted, with the obvious exception of Kevin Garnett. Have you seen the list of guys the Wolves have played at center over the past two decades? When that list is topped by the likes of Rasho Nesterovic and Dean Garrett, you can understand the desire, the lust even, in acquiring a true center. Plus, with a real center, Al Jefferson gets to play his real position of Power Forward, and good lord, would that do him good.

Oh, a note that seems so minor I hesitate to bring it up, but...Ricky Rubio hasn't experienced a real winter in his life. I can imagine him experiencing his first 2 foot snow fall, or his first -20 degree day, and deciding that he's made a horrible mistake. Thabeet, on the other hand, has been spending his winters in Stoors, Connecticut, and won't be in for the same kind of shock. That sounds trivial, I'm sure, to anyone who hasn't lived in Minnesota. Believe me, it is the kind of the weather that drives people away.


Jess said...

The big men you chose to list make sense, since they're some of the "better" ones. But using Stacey King and Stojko Vrankovic would have been more hilarious/sad.

I've not been this intrigued about a Wolves draft in a long time. Getting Thabeet would be tits.

The Black Freighter said...

Kahn certainly has a bit of work in front of him during the draft and free agency. Our guards include Bassy, Brewer and Bobby Brown. That's it!

I'm wondering if Kahn actually tries to trade all of his picks for #2 and #3 to snag both Rubio and Thabeet. Perhaps #5 and Gomes for #2 and #6, #18 and #28 for #3? The more I think about it, the more I think Gomes is a goner. I like him a lot, but I bet Kahn sees him as being too expensive of a piece in the near future.