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The Utter Nightmare Of Minnesota's 2011 Draft

Teams have bad drafts all the time- it has actually been a hallmark of the NBA experience, sadly more for some teams than others. It can happen in a variety of ways: poor selections, bad trades, or taking options off the table for no reason. In the case of David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2011 draft, all three occurred in extremely rapid succession.

What Happened

Minnesota started the night with an interesting composition of resources. They had the No. 2 pick after falling one spot in the lottery, as well as the No. 20 selection via the Al Jefferson trade of the 2010 offseason.

They walked out of the Prudential Center with Derrick Williams (taken at No. 2), Brad Miller (while losing Jonny Flynn), Malcolm Lee (taken at No. 43), a future first from the Houston Rockets that ended up being No. 26 in 2013 (while losing the No. 40 pick in 2012), their own 2014 second round pick, the No. 52 pick from the Nets in 2013, and cash.

The Transactions

As already detailed, the Wolves started out with just two picks in 2011: No. 2 and No. 20. Over the course of the evening, they made five different transactions without touching the No. 2 selection.

Move One: Traded No. 20, a 2012 second (No. 40 eventually) and Jonny Flynn to Houston for No. 23, No. 38, Brad Miller, and a conditional future first (No. 26 in 2013 as it turned out).

In effect, they moved down three spots, swapped Flynn for Miller and picked up an early second (which comes back later) and a future first.

Move Two: Traded No. 23 to Chicago for No. 28, No. 43 and cash.

Picked up a mid-second to move down five picks in the late first. A strange price since No. 38, No. 39, and No. 45 were all later acquired with cash and no future assets.

Move Three: Traded No. 28 to Miami for No. 31, a 2014 second (looks like it was their own, originally traded for Michael Beasley), and cash.

While the first pick of the second round holds a special value for international players, late first rounders are some of the best bargains in the league because of their cheap salaries and two team option years.

Move Four: Traded No. 31 to the Nets for a 2013 second (eventually No. 52) and cash.

Whatever value the first pick in the second round may have had, David Kahn got almost nothing of substance for it. A late second two years later and cash is a horrible return considering who was on the board.

Move Five: Traded No. 38 back to Houston for cash

Even without knowing who the player was, acquiring a mid-second as an asset and then sending it back to the same team for cash on the same day is just bad. Basically, just another loophole to get the owner more money.

Post-Draft Move Six: Traded a future second (less favorable of own or Denver’s in 2015) to Portland for the rights to Targuy Ngombo.

Ngombo is one of the single strangest stories in NBA Draft history, having been taken No. 57 overall by Dallas in 2011 despite having an age discrepancy of five years that would have made him ineligible to be drafted. Even with that, the man born in the Congo who plays for the national team in Qatar was traded twice in a week and appears unlikely to play in an NBA game.

Basically, the Wolves sent the No. 20 pick into the ether for a few eventual resources and cash.

The Players They Passed On

What makes the story so much worse are the players that could have been Timberwolves if they had settled at various points.

The No. 20 pick they started with became Donatas Motiejunas, a reasonably solid player for the Rockets. Kenneth Faried was chosen two picks later, though Minnesota likely would not have taken either Motiejunas or Faried due to Kevin Love’s place on the team.

The No. 23 pick Minnesota moved down to was used on Nikola Mirotic, widely considered the best drafted player not currently in the NBA and potentially a quality frontcourt piece. Reggie Jackson was taken next.

The No. 28 pick became Norris Cole, a piece of two Miami championships and useful guard. Jimmy Butler went two picks later.

While Bojan Bogdanovic was picked at 31 and has not played in the NBA yet after the Nets failed to reach a buyout with his European team, Kevin Love’s AAU teammate and current Detroit Piston Kyle Singler went two picks later.

The No. 38 pick that Minnesota acquired in the first trade with Houston and later sold back to the Rockets for cash was used on Chandler Parsons. 

The Players They Ended Up With

Derrick Williams still has plenty of potential, but yielded very little value for the Wolves. They traded him to Sacramento for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in November of this season.

Malcolm Lee played on Minnesota for two seasons and then was traded to Golden State in another remarkable move where the Wolves moved the No. 26 pick (the first they acquired in the Houston trade!) and a former first rounder (Lee) for a future second and cash. It actually sounds like a deal they could have made in 2011.

Brad Miller played in 15 games for the Wolves, almost half as many as Jonny Flynn played that season. Minnesota actually gave up picks (originally including the 2012 second from the Nets that was a part of the No. 31 trade in 2011) to shed the final year of his contract in order to sign Andrei Kirilenko.

After some weird turns, the Nets’ 2012 second became Lorenzo Brown. Minnesota waived Brown before his first regular season NBA game. 

Astonishingly, at present none of the picks used or acquired in the six 2011 draft moves are playing for the Timberwolves right now. Two of the future assets they walked out of the draft with were later used to shed contracts of players they acquired that day.

At this point, what started with the No. 2 and No. 20 selections for a team that already had Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic has yielded Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, 205 combined games in Minnesota uniforms for Williams, Lee, and Miller, two 2014 second round picks (while losing one in 2012 and one in 2015), and cash.

The Western Conference At The Deadline

When the clock hit 3 PM EST on Thursday, basketball fans around the globe groaned as another NBA trade deadline passed without the epic blockbusters that fill the RealGM Forums. Although the deadline lacked a true blockbuster, the trades that were made (and the ones that were left on the table) will undoubtedly shift the landscape of the Western Conference playoff picture and possibly the team that will be facing the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals (It’s a lock, nobody is seriously questioning it).

The four most notable trades in the West came from the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Warriors, who picked up Steve Blake from the Los Angeles Lakers, will look for him to provide the steady hand off the bench that they have been pursuing since Jarrett Jack left in the offseason. Blake’s addition isn’t going to drastically improve the team, but he is able to give the team quality backup point guard minutes behind Stephen Curry, given Jordan Crawford’s inability to play without Brad Stevens as his coach.

The Rockets moved little used backup point guard, Aaron Brooks, to the Denver Nuggets for Jordan Hamilton. After refusing to lower their insane asking price on Omer Asik, the Rockets decided to fill their lack of a stretch four with Hamilton. Despite Hamilton blatantly not being a power forward or an elite shooter (39 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3), the Rockets apparently believe he can become one when freed up as Dwight Howard draws attention in the post. The more important aspect to this trade is that it likely allows the Rockets to call-up D-League star, Isaiah Canaan.

The Spurs traded little used point guard Nando de Colo for Austin Daye. In one of the day’s most intriguing moves, the Spurs took on another reclamation project in the form of a 6’11 shooter who was once a top prospect coming out of high school. While Daye has struggled to earn minutes outside of his second season in the NBA (when he shot 40 percent from 3), he has tremendous length, can guard multiple positions, and San Antonio has shown interest in him. If that isn’t a sign of someone that will be playing meaningful playoff minutes in May, I am not sure what is.

The last deals of any consequence in the West were by the Clippers. They traded both Antawn Jamison and BJ Mullens for the rights to a Turkish player that probably is unaware he was traded, and a conditional second round draft pick that will likely never happen. These deals, while not interesting beyond the salary implications for the Clippers, do allow open roster spots on the team for buyout candidates. Look for Glen “Big Baby” Davis to join his old coach, Doc Rivers.

While each team above made a move – albeit small – at the trade deadline, the other five teams in contention, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies all stood pat.

Although several teams are in desperate need of a big man (OKC, PDX, PHX), no one budged on Philly’s offer of two second round draft picks for Spencer Hawes.

Portland, who is without a second round draft pick until 2019, had a tremendous need for Hawes with Joel Freeland out for two months and LaMarcus Aldridge banged up.

The Thunder flirted with a deal for Knicks embattled shooting guard, Iman Shumpert, but backed off at the last moment.

As for the remaining needs, the slew of veterans that will likely be bought out this upcoming week will have to suffice. Fortunately for these teams, Glen Davis, Caron Butler, Danny Granger, Jason Terry, Emeka Okafor, Chris Kaman, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Antawn Jamison are all buyout candidates.

Many NBA teams believe it is better to trade during the offseason so that players can get familiar with a system and their teammates, while others utilize the short second half of the season as a tryout for recently acquired players to see if they’re long-term fits. It appears that teams trading in the offseason are better off. For any fan grumbling over their team not making a blockbuster yesterday, here’s a stat you need to know: one; as in the number of Championship teams during the last 25 years to trade for a starter at the trade deadline (Rasheed Wallace to the Pistons in 2004). So while fans of the Rockets clamored for Rajon Rondo and Warriors' fans hoped for Kevin Love, just know that the odds of you winning the title with those guys was slim to none.

Happy Trade Deadline everyone! Only 124 more days until the NBA Draft!

30 Rapid-Fire Questions For Each Team's Front Office

The following 30 questions are the biggest issues facing each NBA front office as the 13-14 regular season begins.

Eastern Conference 

Atlanta Hawks: Are the Hawks going to try to bottom out and if not, what is their plan for the future?

Boston Celtics: What’s going to happen with Rajon Rondo's return from a torn ACL and how will the Celtics' front office go about their rebuilding process?

Brooklyn Nets: How will Jason Kidd lead a veteran roster filled with players he competed against for the last 15-20 years?

Charlotte Bobcats: Are Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller legitimate young players to build around?

Chicago Bulls: Do the Bulls need another source of offense to prevent defenses from dialing in on Derrick Rose?

Cleveland Cavaliers: Who will emerge as Kyrie Irving’s sidekick if Andrew Bynum doesn’t return to full health?

Detroit Pistons: Will the Pistons be able to manage a functional offense with three non-shooting big men?

Indiana Pacers: How will the Pacers divide playing time between Danny Granger and Lance Stephenson, and who will be more effective with the starting group?

Miami Heat: Will Shane Battier and Ray Allen be able to remain productive as the key three-point threats in the Heat offense?

Milwaukee Bucks: Can the Bucks trade some of their young promising players for an All-Star?

New York Knicks: Will Andrea Bargnani provide another element to an offense that became stagnant in the postseason?

Orlando Magic: Will the Magic be active in trying to trade some of its young pieces, or will they be patient and hope for another high lottery pick?

Philadelphia 76ers: To what lengths will the 76ers go to make sure they have the worst record in the league?

Toronto Raptors: When will the Raptors trade Rudy Gay and what will they get in return?

Washington Wizards: Do the Wizards need to add a frontcourt offensive threat in order to score consistently?

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks: If it becomes clear that the Mavericks aren’t going to be a contender, what will they do about Dirk Nowitzki?

Denver Nuggets: What will the Nuggets do about the highly paid trio of Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee if they do not make the playoffs?

Golden State Warriors: Will Andre Iguodala hurt the Warriors’ three-point attack that was so vital to their success in the postseason?

Houston Rockets: Will the Rockets keep Omer Asik and have the best backup center in the league while experimenting with coexisting with Dwight Howard, or will they trade him to bolster their rotation elsewhere?

Los Angeles Clippers: Do the Clippers need to make a move for an effective third big man in order to become a legitimate contender?

Los Angeles Lakers: How angry will Kobe Bryant be if the Lakers find themselves on the verge of missing the playoffs?

Memphis Grizzlies: How will the Grizzlies maintain a good balance between shooting and perimeter defense at their wing positions?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Will Derrick Williams have an opportunity to live up to his potential as a former second overall pick despite not being an offensive priority?

New Orleans Pelicans: How will Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon mesh in the backcourt?

Oklahoma City Thunder: Who will emerge as the new third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?

Phoenix Suns: Is Eric Bledsoe capable of being the Suns’ point guard of the future?

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Trail Blazers struggle, will LaMarcus Aldridge’s name reemerge in trade rumors again?

Sacramento Kings: Is DeMarcus Cousins good enough for the Kings to put up with his immaturity?

San Antonio Spurs: Will Tiago Splitter develop enough to become a factor on both ends in the playoffs?

Utah Jazz: Will Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter work together in the frontcourt?

Top-10 Lottery Teams That Could Make The 2014 NBA Playoffs

The Pelicans, Raptors, Pistons, Wolves, Cavaliers, Blazers, Wizards, Mavericks, and maybe even the Kings and Bobcats could find their way into the playoffs if a number of things go right.

Top-Five 2nd-Favorite Teams

In an NBA so rich with talent and intriguing storylines, how can you limit yourself to just one team? These five squads deserve second billing in your hearts and remote-holding hands.

30-Team Offseason Rundown

Great drafts for the Rockets, 76ers, Nets, Warriors, Hawks and Grizzlies headline this complete rundown of the 2013 offseason.

2013 NBA Offseason Primer

With the 2013 NBA offseason underway, here is a primer on what all 30 teams are facing.

Leroux's 2013 NBA Draft Review

Breaking down all 30 teams by category of how they fared in the often surprising, never disappointing 2013 NBA Draft.

How Many Players Teams Acquire At Each Trade Deadline On Average

The Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Thunder and Cavaliers have been the most active teams at the deadline over the past decade, while the Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Lakers and Pacers have made the fewest deals.

The Uncertain NBA Career Of Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams isn’t just a reserve forward for the Timberwolves, he is only 18 months removed from being the second overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft and that makes the first 80 games of his career so enigmatic.

Kirilenko's NBA Departure And Return

Andrei Kirilenko talks to RealGM about his experience with CSKA, winning the bronze in London, the impact of Mikhail Prokhorov on the Russian game and his initial days with the Wolves.

Leroux's 2012-13 NBA Tier Predcitions

While the drop-off from the Heat to the rest of the Eastern Conference is severe, the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder have quick company in the second and third tiers.

Leroux's 30-Team Offseason Review

The Nuggets, Lakers, Heat, 76ers and Nets were amongst the teams with great offseasons, while the Bucks, Magic, Suns, Knicks, Cavaliers and Bulls were in the bad column. Here's how all 30 teams have fared in the 2012 offseason.

Team-By-Team Gold Medal Winners

The Jazz and Thunder have had the most Gold Medalists since the USA began bringing NBA players in 1992, while Duke leads amongst colleges. How do the other 29 NBA teams rank?

How The Wolves Squandered Their Chance At Becoming True Contenders

Minnesota had multiple chances to assemble an “Oklahoma City North” team around Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, but now that Love is headed into his fifth NBA season, their window to get another Top-5 pick is closed.

The Center Depth Of The 2008 Draft Class

The centers of the 2008 Draft class figure prominently in the 2012 free agency and comprise six of the 30 starters at the game’s most valuable position.

Team-By-Team Top Position Needs

Center represents the position of greatest need for nearly half the NBA, while power forward isn't the top priority for a single team.

Notes From 2012 NBA Draft Media Day

Polling the Green Room candidates to determine who they think will be the second best player of the class, the rise of skinny guys, a new Harrison Barnes and which team workout was the toughest.

Tender Offers: The First Game-Changing Opportunity For Young Players

Players coming off rookie contracts have been reluctant to accept a one-year tender offer to become an unrestricted free agent in the following year, but that may change under a new CBA and an NBA landscape where choosing your situation has become highly valued.

Mid-Season Power Rankings (A Full Look At All 30 Teams)

While the Heat, Bulls and Thunder are positively in the NBA's elite, the Clippers, Mavericks, Spurs, Lakers, 76ers, Pacers, Blazers, Hawks and Magic comprise a deep pack of also-rans who could be a deal away.

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