HOWL or FOUL: Draft 2019
Updated: Jun 22, 2019
The draft concluded less than 12 hours ago but there have already been requests for reaction to the Wolves draft, which I am happy to oblige.
Right around the stroke of 5 pm yesterday word broke that the Howl had shipped power forward Dario Saric and the number 11 pick to Phoenix for choice #6. That's an easy HOWL! Had me dancing in the car on the way to the draft watch. But as a well seasoned pessimist of MN sports it didn't take long for the thought to come that making the trade pre-draft, even that close to the event, could go awry. The possibility of it going FOUL was because picks four and five were very much in question.
I'm fairly certain that was part of the reason why the Wolves were said to be making a strong push to get the second number 1 overall - #4. They didn't want to give up Robert Covington, which I wholly agree with but in turn weren't able to jump that far up. It's anyone's guess whether they would have made the pick within the timeframe of the clock after De'Andre Hunter & Darius Garland were picked but the consolation prize could turn out to be a rockstar addition to the Timberwolves!
Before I go any further, and in case you want more than just my words on it, here's a great break down of the latest and hopefully last lottery pick by the Timberwolves!
As already discussed by the Vikings vox this morning, a small ball trio of Culver, Covington & Okogie could develop into a nightmare for opponents. The slim but still technically possible re-addition of Rubio would take that even further and I can only imagine that Towns would follow suit in the pack hunting! So while I pounded my fist on the bar when Garland was grabbed it didn't take long for me to start looking at the selection as a HOWL!!
Offensively though, there are questions that will need to be answered. Standing at nearly 6'7" and with a reach that's even longer he could develop to be a tough check but a lot of it will hinge on whether he can efficiently and consistently hit three point shots. If his scoring is primarily from around the basket then that would be a little bit STINKY cause this team already has those type of players in abundance. Until at least the Summer League games have been played I'm going to take the easy way out, leaving it as a question mark. I can't think of anything that would be more important to pay attention to from the Wolves Summer team.
From there the intrigue and attention for yours truly waned significantly. I continued to watch and monitor the selections but the time from picks 14 to 43 dragged unlike ever before. I can't exactly put my finger on why but the whole thing seemed to take forever. Maybe it was the broadcast, which was underwhelming by the four letter network. Maybe it was my correct perception that the Wolves would not be players for any of the ensuing picks, because how could they be? So that long gap of public inactivity is a definite FOUL. It seems crazy to say but I think the Association's draft has actually become the worst part of the year. The regular season is what it is. The playoffs this past year was and very likely next Spring/Summer will be as wide open as it has ever been. And every fan of the league knows that the free agency is the most crazy time of their year.
There's always going to be a hierarchy but it's hard to comprehend why the Adam Silver braintrust hasn't done a better job with the most significant one day event for the league. The still unnecessarily complicated way that the trades are handled is the most glaring part of it but there should also be more done to keep viewers locked in for the whole thing. Maybe some war room shots from around the franchises. It would have been cool to see how New Orleans reacted after flipping number four to get their second bounty of the offseason. I'm just spitballing but the point is, the draft got real stale, real quick and it really STUNK.
But then after a few hours of silence the Wolves were back on the clock. For the second year in a row they snatched up a power 5 player of the year. Jaylen Nowell will join the log jam of players who aren't capable of being a primary ball handler and aren't big enough to fit the Power Forward need consistently. For me it's a bit of a head scratching choice which will gain no clarity any time soon. I've been beating the drum for the Wolves to get more assertive with the non-guaranteed, three year deals known as second round picks for some time now but that still hasn't happened. At best I'm lukewarm on this. If I were forced to make a distinction my bent would be to the FOUL but it's a very murky situation at present.
Then in the early hours of Friday came news that the Wolves had inked a deal with one undrafted player. LSU big man Naz Reid quickly signed for the chance to compete for the team at it's thinnest area. Now in the light of today there has also been news that Syracuse's Tyus Battle has come to an agreement with our favorite Basketball team. There will be more names to come out as the Summer League squad is assembled but Reid could prove to best of the lot. To say he was a double/double machine during his one year in college would be an exaggeration but he showed a strong ability to both score and rebound in the dog fight that was the SEC. If he can continue to do even one of those two things over the ensuing evaluation then the team will be better for it.
They still need to fortify the front line but Reid helps that and I'm sure they're well underway in devising the plan of attack to get it done. So overall, the 2019 NBA draft was a howl. Can't quite go caps on it yet but the benefit of time may change it to that!
Until the next time, have a great weekend!