MINNEAPOLIS — For David Kahn and the Timberwolves, the countdown continues.
A week and a half ago, the NBA draft was far enough in the future that it allowed for a measure of vagueness. The combine was still a week away. The lottery had just taken place. Kahn could still hide behind his 18th pick instead of explaining the process of selecting a player or trading it.
Now, though, that’s changing. After bringing in 24 potential picks on May 31 and June 1 — second-rounders, players who could go undrafted, some whom the team couldn’t really have been interested in — the scope is beginning to narrow.
On Tuesday, six players worked out for the Timberwolves. Four were forwards (Iowa State’s Royce White, Michigan State’s Draymond Green, New Mexico’s Drew Gordon and Seton Hall’s Herb Pope) and two (Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Oakland University’s Reggie Hamilton) were guards. Kahn had seen four of the six at the June 7-8 combine in Chicago. Two, Taylor and White, are Minneapolis natives, and Gordon worked out with the team on May 31. There’s a better idea of who these players are, where and if they might fit with the team.
Of the six players who worked out in Minneapolis Tuesday, only White is a likely first-round pick at this point. Both Green and Gordon have been evaluated as second-round picks, and Taylor, Pope and Hamilton are all on the cusp of being drafted.
Kahn spoke highly of White’s play and also commented on Taylor’s character, but he stressed that picking a hometown player is not something he thinks about in the draft process. The Timberwolves general manager worked under Donnie Walsh with the Pacers beginning in 1995, eight years after Walsh selected Reggie Miller over Indiana University’s Steve Alford in the 1987 draft. Walsh was booed off the dais that night, Kahn said, but in the end, his pick was the right one.
“History has showed that it was the right decision, so I just don’t think that you can ever let that sway you,” Kahn said. “You have to just take the best person.”
That lesson has stuck with the Timberwolves’ GM.
Going forward, the team will conduct more workout sessions, though likely not until next week. Kahn just arrived back in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and he said the team’s schedule is still fluid at this point. He didn’t conduct any individual workouts in Chicago, and he did not attend Eurocamp. The team does have a representative at the European scouting combine, which ended Tuesday in Treviso, Italy.
Coach Rick Adelman and the rest of his staff will return to Minneapolis on June 22, and Adelman has been watching all of the team’s workouts on video. The team continues to receive calls inquiring about its 18th pick, which it has the option of trading.
The Timberwolves hold the 18th and 58th picks in the NBA draft, which will be held on June 28.