Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NBA Draft: Timing is Everything...

David Kahn can't Kahntain his smile anymore after pulling a fast one on SilkyJ

KAAAAAAHHHHHHHNNNNN!!!!!! Ok, I just needed to get that out of my system. Not even 12 hours after writing and posting a draft preview article, David Kahn goes and trades the 18th pick to the Rockets for Chase Budinger and Lior Eliyahu (more like Eliya-who, amirite?). And if I know anything, it’s that this whole pre-draft trade situation is going to get even more Kahnvoluted. Stay tuned below the fold where I take a look at Budinger and try, futilely, to predict what Kahn will do next.

Yesterday, I identified the main source of our Timber-woes as Wesley Johnson. I expressed my distaste at his lack of efficient production, and lamented the fact that he started for us, and played 22.6 minutes per game. I based most of my draft preview on the fact that we needed a replacement at the 2/3, and tried to find that replacement in this draft class. Well, Kahn identified a similar problem, and he went back a few draft classes to fix it.

Chase Budinger:
Newest Timberwolf Chase "Air Bud" Budinger dunks over P. Diddy

Budinger came into the NBA as the 44th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and blossomed in his first two seasons in the NBA in Houston under the tutelage of Rick Adelman. This trade reunites Budinger with Adelman, so you can bet The Professor had some say in making it happen. He never cracked the starting lineup in his three seasons in Houston, but he did consistently average 22 minutes and just under 10 points per game with a PER just above 14 (the league average is 15, if you remember). They aren’t exactly lights-out numbers, but they are solid and consistent. You folks scoring at home may remember him best from last year’s NBA Dunk Contest, where he jumped over P. Diddy for one of his dunks.

Now, it may not be exactly fair to say that Chase is going to come in here to Minnesota and take all of Wes’ minutes right away, but for the sake of argument, let’s just do it anyway. Chase has one more year of NBA experience than Wes, even though he is a year younger than him. Chase has exceeded the expectations of a mid-second round pick and has developed into a perfectly capable role player. Wes has failed to meet any expectations, and would be considered a disappointment from any draft slot, let alone a lottery pick. Last season, in 200 fewer minutes, Chase put up better numbers across the board. Total points, rebounds, assists, three pointers, and free throws, with better percentages, too. The story remains the same when you compare Budinger’s sophomore season with Wes’; the per-game averages and percentages are in favor of Budinger, all across the board.

Did I mention he’s cheaper? Budinger is on the final year of his rookie contract which means he’s on the books for around $900,000 this season. Wesley, on the other hand, carries with him a salary closer to $4,000,000.

To summarize; Budinger is younger, more experienced in the pros, knows Adelman and Adelman’s system, was more active and efficient in the same amount of minutes, and is less expensive (this year, at least) than Wesley Johnson. Assuming Kahn doesn’t turn around and flip him for something else--and I don’t think he will, given Budinger’s connection with Adelman--I can see Chase locking down the starting small forward position for the Timbas and giving us solid, capable production on the wing.

Side-note: As it stands, I believe the starting lineup of the Timbas just became Ricky, Ridnour, Budinger, KLove, and Pek which, if I’m not mistaken, would be the first all-white starting lineup in the NBA in many, many years. I have no comment about this, I just find it kinda funny.

As I mentioned above, we can be almost certain that Kahn is not done yet. The only draft pick currently in our hands is the 58th pick in the draft, which almost certainly will not be an impact player. Kahn may yet make another move to get us back into the early parts of the draft this year. I feel like the only untouchables right now are Love, Rubio, hopefully Pek, and maybe Ridnour and Barea. Anyone else could potentially be flipped to some other team. There is only one man who knows, and we are at his mercy. Fear the Wrath of KAAAAAAAHHHHHHHNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. My quick thoughts on the move:

    I was hoping for more with a trade involving the 18th pick, but it makes us better at SF, which is great. Is Budinger a starter on a championship calibur team? I don't think so, which is why I hope this is just one of many moves made this offseason.

    With that said, I like his game (especially as a 6th man). He'll contribute right away on the wing, and it seems to be about fair value for a pick as low as 18.

    We still need a shooting guard like nobody's business, and probably yet another capable wing (either SG or SF). I LOVE the idea of trading into the early part of this draft still, but I'm confident it would require Derrick Williams, next year's Memphis pick (1st round), and more. I personally haven't given up on D. Will, and with no other PFs worth mentioning on this team outside of Love and Derrick, he has value for the Timbas as a SF OR a PF.

    As far as the untouchables, to me it's really just Love, Rubio, and Pek. I'm confident Ridnour and Barea are VERY expendable, though I like Ridnour quite a bit backing up Rubio. I also read that we cannot trade our own 2013 first round pick unless we make a selection in the 2012 first round. There's a rule against not having a first rounder in two-straight drafts. As I mentioned earlier, though, we do have the protected rights to Memphis's first round pick in 2013, and this could be traded.

    So pay attention draft night, it always seems to be interesting with Kahn involved. Here's to us landing a starter-quality SG or SF in the next week or so!