Ah, the glory days. We used to listen to the national media talk about how we were the next great thing, a team loaded with potential, talent, and youthful enthusiasm. But how quickly another team took that mantle from us once fortune frowned in our general direction. We drafted "the other guy", again. But we went through extended diversity, and then even more diversity while they had break after break, accolade, after accolade. Now the Thunder have passed that. They will now be, barring injury, a consistent threat to make the conference finals. So this year everyone eyed the Clippers as Blake Griffin posterized his way to a dunk championship, all star appearance, and rookie of the year filled season. This year, we will see if the Clippers will head our way, or the Thunder's. So what team do I project to be the next "young upstart team loaded with talent, and potential"?
Think about it. After years of bottom feeding on our Microwave Foye/Telfair leftovers and general lameness, they aren't in bad shape anymore. Despite a rough injury-riddled year from Flynn, they definitely seem to have won out in the Love/Mayo debate (insert joke here_______), Wesley Johnson shows some promise, they got an amazing steal in Michael Beasley, and now they even finally get Ricky Rubio to come over? The whole Kahn point guard draft is a bit odd, but now look at the roster they could field next year:
C Darko Milicic/Pekovich/Tolliver
PF Kevin Love/Anthony Randolph
SF Michael Beasley/Martell
SG Wesley Johnson/Ellington
PG Ricky Rubio/Johnny Flynn
Hey guess what? Minnesota fans are stoked about Rubio coming! Oh wait, the Wolves have the number 2 pick this year? And the 20? The thing is, if Cleveland does what most expect and draft Irving #1, they have to stash a #2 pick on the bench behind Beasley. If Cleveland does the surprising thing and selects Williams, there is simply no way the Wolves could justify drafting another point guard, they will finally get to see Flynn and Rubio and even mentioned (by Flynn post draft) playing them both off each other in the past. Enes Kanter is projected at the 3 and is thought to be an Horford like player. From my view this makes the most sense for them at number two should they keep it because Kanter certainly has a higher ceiling than Milicic and would literally give them an extremely exciting young player at every position. Is it really more likely they will find a better center then Kanter in trade for the 2? Dont forget since these guys are so young they come on the cheap. You cant unload an albatross contract on them without decimating half of their roster.
How it relates to us in Rip City?
The other option Kahn can ponder (say that 3x fast) is building for depth at other positions instead of just center. If I worked for Chad right now I would push to offer something to Minnesota, starting low to see what kind of response we recieved. Maybe Fernandez, Babbitt, Williams, and the #20 for Luke Ridnour and the number 2 pick.. Personally I'm not ready to part with Batum but it may take him instead of the aforementioned three. Minnesota would then look like:
SF:Beasley/Webster/Babbitt (the guy we drafted to replace Webster...awkward)/Hayward
Now they would have the #'s 20 and 21. Obviously they draft a big or point here because they are pretty much done rebuilding. Or to avoid having to cut players they draft projects to stash overseas like SF Davis Bertans, who according to a few mocks should go in the 20's anyway. Isn't that what most teams do when they think they are done rebuilding? Ask Joel Freeland. They'd probably cut Hayward and Babbitt. But they have an incredible amount of options open to them.
Portland in this scenario:
C: Camby/Oden(fingers crossed)/Johnson
We get the best back-up point guard we have had in a while, and the #2 in exchange for giving Minnesota depth while clearing up our soon to be mired 2 spot. Think how relieved the Thunder are that they had the #2 and not the #1. What if they picked Oden? The 2 is the most high valued pick of the safe ones. If we picked Durant and the Thunder suffered through the tragedy we have, they could at least say they took the best player available. So we would take either Williams or Irving whoever is left. We either get the closest thing this draft offers to a legit PGOTF or we get Williams. If we did get Williams, and Brandon Roy did disappear in the amnesty clause, Batum would probably do well playing backj up SG. Either way it is a move that clears things up a bit for us and provides them with more depth and promise.
I know I have offered up many scenarios for your consideration, but remember when others looked at our roster and wanted to start gold-mining our hills? It's our turn now. What do you think about Minnesota as the next great young team? What do you think about the potential trades? I hope people at least found this entertaining. Rip City!