The denials for this report will start in 3…2…
When Tom Thibodeau engineered the trade for Jimmy Butler last summer, one of the big questions was how that would impact Andrew Wiggins. Butler and Wiggins play the same position and have a similar style of game, it’s just that Butler is basically better at every aspect of it. Wiggins has seen his shot attempts (and points per game) go down this season, and with that efficiency has dropped (he’s had the ball in his hands less, and been asked to spot up more). The transition with the Timberwolves has not always been smooth, but the team is winning and on its way to breaking a 13-year playoff drought.
Winning does not always cure all ills, which brings us to this report out of Minnesota.
Again, expect the denials of this to come soon.
Is Wiggins unhappy? Who knows.
Is he frustrated? Who could blame him? He is a No. 1 overall pick that the Timberwolves traded for, a guy who they keep telling is going to be one of the cornerstones of the franchise, then they go out and trade for a guy who plays the same position and style? Can’t blame him for being frustrated.
Wiggins has seen his spot-up attempts go way up this season as he has to work off the ball more, he’s getting fewer post-ups and other touches he likes. Some guys can embrace this change and put their needs aside for the betterment of the team, finding other ways to contribute (Chris Bosh is the poster child for this). Others struggle to different degrees with it. Wiggins has had a few struggles, likely is frustrated, but this shouldn’t be blown up into some real problem in Minnesota until Wiggins starts trying to push back against the system or push his way out the door.
DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).
After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.
Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.