Saunders, Wolves firming up their options as draft process continues
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MINNEAPOLIS - With the NBA draft process beginning to ramp up, new Minnesota Timeberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is starting to get a better grip on what his draft board will look like on June 27th.
Holding two first round picks, No. 9 overall and No. 26, as well as two second round selections, the options for the Wolves are fairly open.
"We've got a pretty good list and have an idea where players are rated," Saunders said Tuesday in between sessions of the first series of pre-draft workouts being held by the Wolves at the Target Center. "It's been a little over a week since we've known where we're going to be for sure in the draft. We have people boxed ... We're pretty free looking at a lot of different situations."
Representatives from 26 out 30 NBA teams were at the Target Center for the workouts, which continue on Wednesday. The batch of prospects in town consisted mostly of fringe second round and undrafted prospects.
Saunders said "starting in two days" the Wolves plan to bring in a few of the primary targets they are considering for their first round picks.
KSTP-TV reporter and 1500ESPN.com contributor Darren Wolfson reported Tuesday Pittsburgh center Steven Adams is slated to work out for Saudners and the Wolves on June 12. Adams, who played one season as a freshman for Pitt, is projected by DraftExpress.com as a mid-first round pick.
Wolfson also tweeted word that Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to be in Minneapolis for a workout on Thursday, while Kansas center Jeff Withey is scheduled for June 13.
Saunders' schedule has been almost fully packed since taking over as president of basketball operations in early May. He made stops at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and at a workout session in New Jersey before settling back in Minnesota for this week's slate of workouts.
While Saunders bluntly played down the impact a second round-type player, like the ones on view Tuesday, could immediately have on his roster, he insisted he approaches the initial workouts with a long-term view.
"I don't know right now if there are going to be any second rounders in my rotation," Saunders said. "If you're getting guys at that level you're hoping are they going to somehow in two or three years be able to play any for you."
"How we play and want to play is that we're pretty much a read-type team. That's Coach Adelman's offense. For us, you want to look for players who have the intelligence to do that."
The lingering question that will likely follow the Wolves until draft day surrounds their prospects in potentially moving up in the draft order. Saunders has been careful not to elaborate too much on his plans, keeping his answers on the matter straightforward.
"You're not going in with the idea that if we don't (move up) it's a failure," Saunders said. "We're going to get a good player at No. 9. Whether we move up or not is going to depend on how we go through this process, how many of those guys that we say 'We really like this guy right here.' Maybe what it would cost to move up, the opportunity cost is too much."