June 28, 2005

Rashad McCants and Bracey Wright

I hate the Timberwolves' draft.

Remember all that stuff I wrote yesterday about how incredibly important last night was for the franchise and how they needed to get more athletic and find a legitimate starter with a big upside? Well, instead they drafted Rashad McCants.

Now, it's not that McCants is a horrible player, because clearly he's not. He's a fine scorer who played an important role on an NCAA championship team last season. However, he is small for a shooting guard and struggles defensively. Plus, even on the offensive end he adds almost nothing aside from scoring.

Here's an excerpt from his ESPN.com Insider scouting report:

Scouts believe he's much closer to 6-3 and don't believe he has the handle or the head to be an NBA point guard. His long arms and athleticism make up for some of those height issues, but not all of them. He's also a spotty defender, which certainly doesn't help his cause. Combine that with reports his attitude is questionable, and you can understand why scouts have been leery.

McCants is Glenn Robinson or Ron Mercer or Allan Houston or any number of other college scorers who were never really interested in doing anything except for shooting. That doesn't get the job done in the NBA, at least not if you're looking for something other than a decent complimentary player who is massively overrated.

The Wolves needed to find something more than that last night, and the worst part about taking McCants is that both Gerald Green and Danny Granger, two of the seven players I said I "would be thrilled about landing" yesterday, dropped to them in the 14th spot. It was like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk and leaving it there because you already had $5 in your wallet.

Green is considered one of the top athletes in the entire draft and has as high a ceiling as anyone taken last night. Granger is a point-forward type who brings size and versatility both offensively and defensively. Both players have a chance to develop into a legit #2 player on a contending team, which is what the Wolves need.

Instead, they get a shorter, more athletic version of Wally Szczerbiak. I have no doubt that McCants can develop into someone who gives the team 15-18 points per game, just like Wally. Unfortunately, also like Wally he doesn't rebound or defend, and he's not a good ball handler or passer.

The one thing McCants can hopefully do that Szczerbiak can't is create his own shot, but we'll have to see how he fares against two-guards who have a two-inch height advantage on him. Also, a Sam Cassell-McCants-Szczerbiak point guard-off guard-small forward combination will be the worst defensively in the entire league.

Oh, and remember that second-round pick I suggested the Wolves use on a European player who might actually turn into something valuable? Instead, they drafted Bracey Wright from Indiana. The only thing he will ever accomplish is adding another name to the long list of Big Ten busts the team has wasted second-round picks on.

YEAR     PLAYER              TEAM
1998 Andrae Patterson Indiana
1999 Louis Bullock Michigan
2002 Marcus Taylor Michigan State
2003 Rick Rickert Minnesota
2005 Bracey Wright Indiana

That's a pathetic list even as pathetic lists go.

Assuming I can get over this in the next 24 hours, I'll be back tomorrow with some Twins thoughts. By the way, how's that whole Glenn Williams plan looking now?

Today at The Hardball Times:
- My 2005 All-Stars: National League (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)

Today's Picks (67-57, +$895):
Kansas City (Carrasco) +200 over Minnesota (Radke)
New York (Mussina) -160 over Baltimore (Penn)
Chicago (McCarthy) +140 over Detroit (Johnson)

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