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Updated: June 2nd, 2011 11:01pm
NBA Draft countdown: An array of options await Timberwolves at No. 20

NBA Draft countdown: An array of options await Timberwolves at No. 20

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
Email | Twitter

With Ricky Rubio signed, the Minnesota Timberwolves' focus shifts back to the 2011 NBA Draft on June 23. Much of the pre-draft hype has been aimed at the Wolves No. 2 pick, but a higher degree of mystery surrounds their selection at No. 20.

Apart from the projected top two picks Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, the rest of this year's draft class has seen their stock ebb and flow considerably throughout the last several weeks. Given that, it is hard to predict who will be around late in first round, but the Wolves are sure to have an array of options.

Prospects continue to attend open and private workouts as teams start to slowly whittle down their short-lists. Rumblings of the Wolves searching for suitors interested in their second pick have been on the rise in recent weeks. What the Wolves do at No. 2 is critical in determining the direction they head with the 20th pick.

As assistant general manager Tony Ronzone pointed out, the Wolves are trying to tweak and fill holes at every position on their roster.

"We have to get better and we are going to get better, so we have to look at ones, two, threes, fours and fives. Whoever it shall be, whoever the best players are we're going to get you," Ronzone said at the Wolves' draft workouts last week.

Here's a look at who might be available when the Wolves go on the clock at No. 20.

Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

Vitals: Power forward, 6-8, 225 pounds

Spending four years playing for out-of-the-way mid-major Morehead State, it's easy to see why Faried has the tendency to be overlooked. But his explosive and gritty style on both ends of the court is hard to ignore. A ferocious inside presence helped catapult Faried to a staggering NCAA record 1673 rebounds - a record previous held by Tim Duncan. The knock against Faried is the worry his numbers were inflated by the mediocre talent he faced throughout much of his college carrer. His critics had to take pause, however, after his 12 point, 17 rebound performance in the Eagles' first round upset of Louisville in the 2011 NCAA tournament. Faried won't be an everyday starter, but he could fit in as a role player for the Wolves, giving them an energetic boost off the bench.

Mock draft projections

Draft Express: No. 20 -- Wolves

NBADraft.Net: No. 22 -- Nuggets

Sporting News: No. 18 -- Wizards

ESPN (Chad Ford): No. 21 - Trailblazers

Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania

Vitals: Power forward/Center, 7-0, 215 pounds

Motiejunas appeared bound for the NBA as mid-first rounder in 2010, but was a last-minute scratch, opting to return for another season with his Italian league team Benetton Treviso. A highly efficient shooter (53 percent from the floor this season), Motiejunas makes up for his slight frame with an array of moves to the basket and the ability to drop back to the perimeter for a long-range shot. If he ended up in Minnesota, the seven-foot big man would have to compete with Anthony Randolph for playing time off the bench in the post - a role Randolph adopted when he joined the team in February. Motiejunas has to sneak past several teams for the Wolves to have a shot at him.

Mock draft projections

Draft Express: No. 17 -- Knicks

NBADraft.Net: No. 11 -- Pacers

Sporting News: No. 14 -- Wizards

ESPN (Chad Ford): No. 20 -- Wolves

Jordan Hamilton, Texas

Vitals: Small forward, 6-8, 228 pounds

Gifted with an NBA-caliber jump shot, Hamilton was one of the most adept, pure scorers in all of college basketball last season. A mediocre freshman year gave way to a breakout sophomore season as Hamilton slashed his way to an average of 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Longhorns. Measuring in at the draft combine with a 6-9 wingspan, he possesses the average build of a small forward, but can play at the two as well. Last season, the Wolves used two distinctly different players on the wing with Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson. Hamilton's game lands somewhere between the two, although he is better equipped to muscle his way to the basket than Johnson.

Mock draft projections

Draft Express: No. 14 -- Rockets

NBADraft.Net: No. 20 -- Wolves

Sporting News: No. 8 -- Pistons

ESPN (Chad Ford): No. 14 -- Rockets

Chris Singleton, Florida State

Vitals: Small forward, 6-9, 230 pounds

Singleton is not a natural scorer, but boasts the physical size and quickness to be a lockdown defender at multiple positions. Borko Popic from NBA Draft.net lauded Singleton as "an explosive leaper and has next level athleticism. In three years with the Seminoles, he was an all-around threat, averaging 13.1 points, seven rebounds and two steals per game last season. Besides his lack of scoring, teams could also be turned off by concerns about the broken right foot he suffered in February. He returned in time for Florida State's run in the Big Dance, but his production was off. Singleton is still a solid middle to late first round pick, who could give the Wolves a formidable presence on defense that they have lacked. If the Wolves draft and stay with Williams at No. 2, it would be unlikely for the team to go with another physical small forward in the same round.

Mock draft projections

Draft Express: No. 19 -- Bobcats

NBADraft.Net: No. 17 -- Knicks

Sporting News: No. 23 -- Rockets

ESPN (Chad Ford): No. 12 -- Jazz

Klay Thompson, Washington State

Vitals: Shooting guard, 6-7, 205 pounds

In three seasons with the Cougars, Thompson deservedly earned the reputation as a relentless scorer. Thompson isn't extremely versatile, but he can cause headaches for teams on the offensive end He trashed opposing defenses for 21.6 points per game last season, including a 43-point outing against Washington. Scouts and draft experts have called into question Thompson's maturity level and if he has the ability to make the move to the pro level. Depending how prescient these concerns are, Thompson could still be available for the Wolves late in the first round.

Mock draft projections

Draft Express: No. 11 -- Warriors

NBADraft.Net: No. 15 -- Pacers

Sporting News: No. 20 -- Wolves

ESPN (Chad Ford): No. 19 -- Bobcats

2011 NBA Draft - First round

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Washington Wizards
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Utah Jazz, 13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
15. Indiana Pacers
16. Philadelphia 76ers
17. New York Knicks
18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta)
19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans via Portland)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah)
21. Portland Trail Blazers
22. Denver Nuggets
23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix)
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
25. Boston Celtics
26. Dallas Mavericks
27. New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers)
28. Chicago Bulls (From Miami via Toronto)
29. San Antonio Spurs
30. Chicago Bulls

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
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