February 27, 2012

Future Timberwolves: Lakers 1st Rounder?

Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press noted on Saturday that the Timberwolves are serious about the possibility of trading Michael Beasley for a 1st round pick from the LA Lakers.  On the surface, that sounds like a great idea, knowing that Beasley was acquired from the Miami Heat for a 2nd round pick.  Good job, Kahn!  Right?

The Lakers currently own their own 1st rounders every year moving forward, and they also own Dallas' 2012 pick - top 20 protected.  If the season ended today, the Lakers pick would be #21, and Dallas would own #22 (which means the Lakers would get it this year).  So, the question becomes, is a #21 or #22 draft pick worth acquiring in this upcoming draft for Michael Beasley?

Let's take a look back at the last few drafts, and see what kind of player usually comes out of those slots in the NBA draft.
2011: #21 - Nolan Smith, #22 - Kenneth Faried
2010: #21 - Craig Brackins, #22 - Elliot Williams
2009: #21 - Darren Collison, #22 - Victor Claver
2008: #21 - Ryan Anderson, #22 - Courtney Lee
2007: #21 - Daequan Cook, #22 - Jared Dudley
2006: #21 - Rajon Rondo, #22 - Marcus Williams
2005: #21 - Nate Robinson, #22 - Jarrett Jack

We have to go all the way back to 2006 to find a player from those two slots that has made a significant impact in the NBA.  I'm intrigued by Faried, Collison, and Anderson; however, all but Rondo are just role players, and will probably always be just role players during their careers.  This is not to say that Michael Beasley may not ever be more than a role player, but I would think Beasley has quite a bit more value than most of the players on that list.

Looking at Chad Ford's top 100, the #21 and #22 players on his list right now are Tony Wroten Jr. from Washington, and Austin Rivers out of Duke.  Obviously, these ratings don't directly transpose into draft order, taking into account team needs.  This does, however, give us a little bit of insight into the quality of player we could expect to be in this year's coming draft.  Not being a die-hard college basketball fan, I am definitely not the guy to evaluate college talent at this point in the year.  The name Austin Rivers definitely grabbed my attention though, being Doc Rivers' son.  If that type of shooting guard was available in the 2012 draft where the Lakers would be selecting, now this trade becomes much more appealing.

This definitely was not the most scientific way to determine how excited to be about the potential trade for Beasley, but if I am David Kahn I have to at least consider this.  Can Beasley be part of this team's future beyond this year?  As a 6th Man, I think that's absolutely the case.  He is the type of scorer that is necessary many nights off the bench in the NBA.  If Beasley finishes the year with the Wolves, is there a possibility that he might be gone for nothing?  That's also true.  To me, that draft pick in the #20 range might just be tempting enough to take.  If the Wolves start off hot to begin the 2nd half of the season, do the Wolves want to go and dump their 6th Man to invest in the future?  I'm guessing Beasley will be staying put in that situation.

Follow Wolves Rubes on Twitter @wolvesrubes.

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