Thanks to some late season heroics by the Utah Jazz, the Timberwolves were gifted with the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. This draft class is exceptionally deep on power forwards, which the Wolves are stacked at, and athletic tweeners. While they may not be in the lottery there are some very solid prospects ripe for the taking.
- The Best Player Available Pick, Terrence Ross: The 6’6 sniper from Washington is known for moments of jaw-dropping dominance and disappearing acts that would Houdini blush. While the mercurial swingman doesn’t recieve high marks for his consistence or drive, his ceiling is cavernous. While he will be drafted as a shooter, Ross brings one of the most complete packages of any SG in the league. An athletic specimen, he has the ability to contort his body for alley-oops and close range shots. Ross is also an excellent ballhandler and capable of running an offense in absence of a true point guard (much like he did with Isiah Thomas). By far one of the most versatile players in the draft.
- The Need Pick, Meyers Leonard: The young man from Illinois already has the frame of a NBA center (7’1, 245) and plenty of room to grow into it as he just finished his sophmore year. While he only average 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, Leonard was an exceptional defensive player, averaging 1.9 blocks a game and very efficient with his scoring, shooting 58.4% from the field. He is surprisingly athletic for a player of that size and often uses to get easy alley oops or to blow past oppponents. He also has a solid step-back jumper that has recently been added to his arsenal. Meyers Leonard will get drafted on pure size and potential, but will make his name with hsi defense and fundamentals.
- The Potential Pick, Moe Harkless: A 6’8 tweener from St. John’s, Harkless has the athleticism to guard shooting guards and small forwards while possessing the size of a power forward. With a long and lean build he is a prototypical defender, using his long arms to disrupt passing lanes and block otherwise easy shots. However, Moe lacks good shooting ability (44% FG) and the ability to create for himself in a half court offense. While he has range out to 20 feet, Harkless’ abilities on offense primarily rely on tip-ins and putbacks.
- The Reach Pick, John Jenkins: Almost exclusively compared to fellow sharpshooter J.J. Redick, John Jenkins is the best pure shooter in the class. He has had a very a good collegiate career, leading the SEC with 19.9 points a game while shooting 43% from deep. However, shooting is all that Jenkins does truly well. He is undersized at 6’4 and lacks the athelticism to keep up with most guards. However, there is always a demand for someone who can score the ball efficiently in the NBA.
- The Wild Card Pick, Jae Crowder: While he may no’t have any weaknesses in his game, Crowder also doesn’t have any elite abilities. His biggest attributes are intangibles and hustle. Like previous Marquette power forwards, Jae Crowder is extremely undersized at 6’6. Even worse for his draft stock is that he measured at 6’3.5 for the New Jersey Nets combine. Crowder will have to make some massive changes to his playing style in order to fit into any NBA team’s style of play.