Kahn on No. 4 pick: 'I don't think I can really screw this one up'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves appear set to stand pat with the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, and general manager David Kahn offered strong words Tuesday about the caliber of player they'll be getting there.
"Whoever is at (number) four, we're going to have a really fine player joining our roster," Kahn said on Tuesday. "I'm really excited about the player we'll be getting -- no matter who it is.
"I don't think I can really screw this one up."
Saying it's "highly, highly, highly, highly unlikely" the Wolves will move out of the No. 4 slot, Kahn also said it's unlikely they'll keep their other two first-round picks -- Nos. 16 and 23 -- and one report indicated they're close to dealing the 16th pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 25th and 28th overall picks.
There remains plenty of intrigue with the No. 4 pick, too, because it's unclear what will happen immediately ahead of the Wolves.
Kentucky point guard John Wall and Ohio State swingman Evan Turner appear to be good bets to go 1-2 to Washington and Philadephia, respectively. However, there are conflicting reports about whether New Jersey would take Georgia Tech big man Derrick Favors, Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson">Wesley Johnson or perhaps someone else at No. 3.
The Wolves worked out Favors and Johnson individually last week amid a string of group workouts that ended on Tuesday, when five players -- including probable lottery pick Luke Babbitt, the sharpshooting forward from the University of Nevada -- went through drills at Target Center.
Speaking shortly thereafter, Kahn addressed several perceptions and possibilities that could transpire over the next 48 hours:
• On whether there's urgency to move up, perhaps to take Johnson: "The idea that we're then thinking we have to move up to (number) three is ridiculous. We like (number) four a lot."
• On staying at Nos. 16 and 23: "I still think that that's unlikely. I think we'll move a little bit, I do. But it takes two, and I can't predict the future in terms of their behavior."
• On the chance of using those picks to get back into top 10: "Don't know yet. I don't think there's anybody in the top 10 that is looking to trade out of the top 10, but I could be wrong."
• On whether power forwards Al Jefferson and Kevin Love will be on the roster by week's end: "Don't know. I assume so. I don't have any reason to say otherwise. But if I say 'yes' conclusively, everything would be the opposite of what I said today ... which is we have to be proactive, aggressive, and look at every single opportunity we have to make this team better and still maintain a young team that has the ability to maintain an up-tempo style."
• On whom the Wolves will take at No. 4: "Does anybody here want to stake their life on what New Jersey's doing at 3? OK, then we shouldn't do that. I wouldn't want you to lose your life.
The Wolves never convinced the agents for another possibility at No. 4, DeMarcus Cousins, to let the Kentucky big man come in for a private workout. But Kahn noted the team interviewed him at the Chicago combine and said there would be no problem selecting him if he's the best player on the Wolves' board.
Draft meetings went late into the evening Tuesday, and the team's scouts are "pretty lockstep" on all but about four or five prospects, Kahn said, adding that calls about trades continue to come "repeatedly, almost on the hour" and probably will continue right up until the draft begins at 6 p.m. Thursday.
"We may need to make some decisions even before then in determining whether we make or trade or not," Kahn said. "On that front, we have a number of things on our board, like every team."