Picks: 13, 40, 44, 53
Needs: To maximize Kevin Love’s value. More than anything else, that’s Flip Saunders’ top task. That might mean trading Love, or it might mean drafting the player who convinces Love to stay in Minnesota beyond next season. Certainly, keeping Love long-term is the Timberwolves’ ideal outcome, which is why they might pursue the latter path.
Trade possibilities: Obviously, Love trades are at the forefront of the discussion. By trading him draft night, Minnesota can get picks immediately and get a one-year head start on rebuilding. But by keeping him, the Timberwolves preserve the possibility, no matter how unlikely, of their best-case result – Love having a change of heart and staying.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Timberwolves sell a second rounder or two. Does Saunders, a longtime coach who many believe became Minnesota’s president just to become coach, really have a firm grasp on the late second round?
Predictions: The Timberwolves don’t trade Love. They draft Gary Harris or Adreian Payne, both of whom played at Michigan State for Tom Izzo, Saunders’ old buddy. Minnesota has a solid starting lineup, and either of those two would add nice bench depth.
Bonus prediction: It won’t be enough to convince Love to stay.