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With four picks in Thursday's draft, Wolves in need of shooting guard

 
With four picks in Thursday's draft, Wolves in need of shooting guard
Posted June 26th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
@DanDruffCole

The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off an injury-plagued season in which they finished 31-51 -- 12th-best in the Western Conference -- and completed their eighth-straight losing season. The Wolves haven't posted an above .500 record since the 2004-05 season.

A number of key injuries left an optimistic season in ruins last year, but things are once again looking up if the Wolves' stars can just stay healthy. Kevin Love started just 18 games in 2012-13, sidelined with an injury to his shooting hand.

Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy also missed time due to injury, leaving the Wolves' bench reeling and searching for answers -- to little avail.

This offseason, the Wolves have ushered in a new look by kicking out David Kahn and bringing in Flip Saunders as president -- creating a new excitement in direction for the organization.

The NBA Draft, which is set to take place on Thursday, sees the Wolves with four picks -- two in each round.

Their top need is at shooting guard. They currently own the No. 9 overall pick in Thursday's draft, which they will almost certainly use on a top-tier wingman.

Indiana's Victor Oladipo is being touted as the best shooting guard in the draft, but it's highly unlikely that he'll fall to No. 9 in order for Minnesota to nab him. It's been rumored that Saunders has some interest in moving up to a top-five pick to take Oladipo, but we'll see if the Wolves can swing such a deal.

If not, other potential targets at shooting guard could include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia), C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) and Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA). See scouting reports below.

The Wolves also own three other picks, at No. 26, No. 56 and No. 59. Their secondary need is in the post, where a big man such as Jeff Withey from Kansas could find his way to Minnesota.

Draft coverage is set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.

Scouting Reports
Victor Oladipo - Indiana: A 6-foot-4 guard with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Oladipo averaged 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the Hoosiers last season. Took drastic strides from sophomore to junior seasons. He takes a lot of pride in his defense and is capable of guarding both backcourt positions. Could land on NBA All-Defensive team at some point early on in his career.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Georgia: A prototypical shooting guard, Caldwell-Pope was an offensive standout at Georgia, surrounded by not a lot of talent. His team failed to make it to the postseason during his two years. He averaged 18.5 points per game last season, emerging as one of the top offensive threats in the SEC. Also shows good ability on the glass.

C.J. McCollum - Lehigh: Standing at just 6-foot-3, McCollum is a smaller combo guard. His signature collegiate performance came in the 2012 NCAA Tournament when he led Lehigh to a 75-70 upset over Duke, scoring 30 points to go along with six assists and six boards. Average 24 points in 12 games last season; missed two months due to foot injury.

Shabazz Muhammad - UCLA: Muhammad's scoring ability is what makes him a potential lottery pick, but outside of that is where scouts begin to worry. He averaged just 5.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game last season, downplaying his value outside of his scoring touch. His game is fairly one-dimensional.

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