Wolves keeping No. 2 pick, for now
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves appear content to sit at No. 2 and draft a player on June 23 -- for now.
Minnesota assistant general manager Tony Ronzone said Friday that the Timberwolves are leaning toward keeping the second pick, even though they're getting a lot of phone calls with offers from teams looking to move up.
I think 1-2-3-4 is open. Could go any direction. Eye of the beholder, and what teams are there. It will be an exciting draft day, and it will be a lot of movement.” -- Wolves assistant GM Tony Ronzone
on the top draft choices
"I say right now we're keeping two," Ronzone said after working out several lower-tiered free agents. "And we really like where we're at at 2."
With Ricky Rubio signing a contract earlier this week to come to Minnesota next season, Ronzone was asked if the Wolves were going to hold onto the No. 2 pick. While saying that they were comfortable at No. 2 and they were planning on keeping it, things could change.
He said the Wolves like their options at No. 2, even though the youngest team in the league needs veteran leadership on its roster. He also said "that's where we are today," leaving open the possibility that they could trade the pick if the right offer came along.
The Wolves finished with the worst record in the NBA, but their poor luck in the lottery continued this year when the Cleveland Cavaliers leapfrogged them to get the top pick. The Cavaliers are expected to take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with that pick, leaving Arizona forward Derrick Williams there for the Wolves at No. 2.
But Ronzone said he didn't think Irving to Cleveland was a foregone conclusion.
"I think it's still open," he said. "I think 1-2-3-4 is open. Could go any direction. Eye of the beholder, and what teams are there. It will be an exciting draft day, and it will be a lot of movement."
Whether the Wolves move could depend on what happens at No. 1. With the youngest roster in the league, the Wolves badly need a strong veteran presence on the roster. They could use that second pick as the big chip to get a quality veteran from another team looking to move up in the draft.
Ronzone declined to comment on Rubio's decision to sign. The Timberwolves have not publicly announced Rubio is coming because they are waiting for the 20-year-old point guard to finish playing for his team in the Spanish league finals.
But he did speak about Rubio's game in general, specifically the perception that his game has regressed over the last two seasons playing in Regal Barcelona.
"All I know is the kid is a winner," Ronzone said. "He wins, and he's 20 years old. And he contines to win, and his team is in the finals of the playoffs right now. That's the way I look at him. He's just a winner, bottom line."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press