Wolves targeting 'about seven guys' at No. 13, Flip Saunders says
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Pre-draft workouts are in full swing as the Timberwolves, owners of the No. 13 overall pick, continue to sort through their options in a deep draft class.
After Minnesota wrapped up its second round of group workouts on Sunday, president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said the Wolves have a "boxed area of about seven guys" they are targeting with their top selection.
The Wolves' first two workouts last week were made up primarily of prospects projected to go in the second round or end up as undrafted free agents. As of Tuesday, the Wolves' next run of workouts is scheduled for June 11.
Several of the prospects they are eyeing at No. 13 are likely to make a stop in Minnesota before the draft on June 26th, but Saunders noted the possibility of selecting a player who didn't workout individually for the team.
The Wolves did that last year with Gorgui Dieng. Shortly after pulling off a draft day trade that brought in No. 14 pick Shabazz Muhammad, the Wolves used the late first round pick they had received to select Dieng, basing their decision primarily off scouting reports throughout his collegiate career.
It turned out to be a savvy pick by the Wolves, as Dieng's breakthrough late in his rookie season left many enthused about the young center's long-term potential.
"We had a pretty good feel on Gorgui last year and we didn't work him out individually," Saunders said. "In my early years, we didn't have (Stephon) Marbury come in, we didn't have (Kevin) Garnett come in here. A lot is just where you are with a comfort level. I believe we have a pretty good handle on those guys (at No. 13).
Again, that's not to say the Wolves won't bring in some of their top targets. Saunders said the benefit of individual workouts is being able to run guys through specific drills and interviews to see how they react and get a bit of insight on "what makes them tick."
However, Saunders stressed that one workout isn't a make or break situation in evaluating prospects.
"It's all a body of work. I don't think you put too much emphasis on it," Saunders said. "You can't put too much on a 30-minute interview process, but you've got to put a lot of emphasis on your evaluation from the course of the season."
The Wolves have already gotten to sit down and talk with a few of the players they could end up selecting while at the draft combine three weeks ago, even though a number of prospects did not participate in on-court drills.
James Young (Kentucky) and Nik Stauskas (Michigan) were reportedly among the players the Wolves interviewed at the combine. Both prospects have popped up in various mock drafts as potential options for Minnesota.
As the speculation mounts in the weeks leading up to the draft, take a closer at some of the prospects who may be on the Wolves' draft board when the 13th pick comes around.
Wolves draft prospect profiles