The Minnesota Timberwolves may have a difficult decision to make if they are left without a top-ranked wing player at the ninth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Of course Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter will be gone by then. The question is, what do they do if a guy like Shabazz Muhammad goes before they have the chance to pick?
They may take a chance on the Croatian small forward Dario Saric, or they could go with a big man to back up Nikola Pekovic. However, they would also have the option to grab a guy that is rising up many draft boards over the past couple months — Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope is more of a pure shooter rather than a slashing two-guard, but I wouldn’t count out the possibility of his presence in Minnesota. Point guard Ricky Rubio would have loved to have a guy to knock down a few open shots last season as he opened up many of those opportunities that ended with a miss.
The 20-year-old Bulldog was one of the top shooters off of a pull-up jumper last season, finishing at 42 percent in those situations. This ability to create his own shot would be welcomed with open arms in Minnesota.
Caldwell-Pope also works well off the ball, as opposed to taking the ball to the hoop and finishing. He would be a great asset off the bench right away for the Wolves to come in and hit some shots outside the paint. He shot the three ball at nearly 38 percent last season, a fairly promising percentage for an NBA shooting guard.
One criticism he has had is that his ball-handling isn’t up to speed with where most would like their two-guards to be at the professional level. His frame at 6-foot-6, though, gives him the ability to rise over smaller defenders, a strength he takes advantage of regularly.
Would Caldwell-Pope be a fit here? I am not sure, but I know that I wouldn’t count him out of the plans of Flip Saunders and company. We will see if Saunders feels as strongly about the young guard as many have started to feel lately.