Predictability isn't necessarily a word one would use to describe sports. Even with all the numbers and statistics to assist in formulating pictures, opinions and narratives, no one can take into account the outliers, intangibles and just plain old luck. But, even that said, there can be no denying that there will always be a dominating "story" in sports that will linger in the airwaves for weeks and months. And just like the coming and going of NBA Seasons, there will always be a prominent Off-Season Free Agency/Trade headline.
This summer's flavor? Kevin Wesley Love.
In recent years, we've dealt with CarMelodrama and a Dwightmare. Of course, keeping with the trend, this year we deal with the "Summer of Love" or the "Love Affair" (or whatever becomes official). With that in mind, when I put on my GM cap I had a tough time deciding in which direction to go. A Love trade would obviously net back some additional picks to fill areas of need including the one created by losing Love himself.
With this exercise, however, there are no trades or draft shuffling. Therefore, it made sense to look at an area of weakness on the Timberwolves team that would remain with or without Love. So with the 13th pick of the LB Mock Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Kyle Anderson from UCLA.
There were two thoughts that went into making this pick. First, at this spot, unlike the lottery there are less available options that have a combination of being NBA Ready and having high potential. Secondly, and more importantly, the Timberwolves have glaring needs in two areas: production from the Wing position and another capable ball-handler.
Minnesota struggled with finding consistent production out of its wings. Relying on Corey Brewer and an oft-injured Chase Budinger isn't a good long-term solution. Drafted last year, Shabazz Muhammad played sparingly and the times he did, he didn't showcase much besides a one-dimensional offensive threat. Whether he develops enough to function in a system on both sides of the ball is yet to be seen.
In addition, while Minnesota has a good starting PG in a guy named Ricky Rubio, they haven't found a capable back-up. While he earned some notoriety on the Mavericks, J.J. Barea hasn't been a good answer for the Timberwolves especially when his offense is as erratic as it is. He's not a natural distributor despite averaging respectable assists. Bottom line, you need someone to facilitate the offense and make the players around you better. Barea isn't really that guy.
With all that said, let's talk about what Kyle Anderson can bring into the fold. While he's spent most of his life playing the point, he has the size to play a Forward (and is listed as such). This versatility should do well in helping the 2 areas of weakness that I highlighted. One of Anderson's touted skills is his passing ability. He's an unselfish player that would do well to help his teammates when a guy like Rubio needs a breather. Next, he'll be able to provide some scoring production from the perimeter. Albeit a small sample size, he put up good numbers beyond the arc and as a spot up shooter.
Noticeably, I left out his defensive abilities because, well, that's an area he needs to improve (and so do the T-Wolves). Unfortunately, there aren't too many options to hit all of their needs at his spot. In making this pick, I had the input of Eric in Madison from our sister site Canis Hoopus. He had this to say:
We'll take Kyle Anderson from UCLA, who has been the Briuns best player for the last two years, despite others being drafted in the lottery (Shabazz Muhammad last season and Zach LaVine this year). Teams constantly make the mistake of taking guys who look good in a uniform over guys who can actually, you know, play basketball. His passing, ball-handling, ability to change pace, and court awareness add up to make Anderson the best player left on the board and probably one of the top five guys in this whole draft. He reminds us of some of the great European forwards of the past and present: guys like Boris Diaw, Hedo Turkoglu, and Toni Kukoc whose all-around games and basketball intelligence set them apart.
Thanks a lot Eric! Visit Canis Hoopus to keep up with the Timberwolves and experience the "Summer of Love"
Next on the clock is the venerable Dave Rueter as he picks for the Phoenix Suns.