PRO BASKETBALL ROUND-UP: T-Wolves make draft day moves
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Minnesota Timberwolves made some noise at the NBA Draft last night in Brooklyn's new Barclay's Center. The T'wolves selected Michigan guard Trey Burke ninth overall and then traded him to Utah for UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, who was chosen 14th overall, and 21st overall pick Gorgui Dieng out of Louisville.
Minnesota then selected guard Lorenzo Brown with the 52nd pick in the second round and forward Bojan Dubljevic 59th overall. The team earlier in the day made a qualifying offer to center Nikola Pekovic, which makes him a restricted free agent. That means the team can retain the big man by matching any offers he gets from other teams.
Two Minnesota natives were drafted by NBA teams last night. St. Cloud's Nate Wolters was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 38th overall selection. Wolters played college basketball at South Dakota State. Roseville native Mike Muscala was chosen in the second-round by the Dallas Mavericks and then traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Muscala played college basketball at Bucknell and was taken with the 44th overall choice. Former Golden Gopher teammates Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams were undrafted, as was Princeton native Jared Berrgren, who played at Wisconsin. Mbakwe is from St. Paul and Williams is from Minneapolis. Mbakwe, Williams, and Berrgren will likely sign free agent contracts with the hopes of catching on to an NBA roster. Former Golden Gopher player Colton Iverson of Yankton, South Dakota was chosen 53rd overall by the Indiana Pacers and traded to Boston. Iverson transferred from Minnesota and finished his college career at Colorado State.
The Milwaukee Bucks surprised the pundits last night by passing on a much-needed guard, and drafting small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (an-teh-toe-koom’-po) of Greece. Milwaukee also reportedly traded their second-round pick, Ricky Ledo of Providence, to Dallas in a three-way deal with Philadelphia. The Bucks will get point guard Nate Wolters of South Dakota State. Wolters and his agent both confirmed the deal. The 18-year-old Antetokounmpo is nicknamed the “Greek Freak,” and he was the 15th overall pick in the first round. General manager John Hammond said he could have went with a safer pick – like Miami’s Shane Larkin, as the possibility looms that the Bucks will lose both their starting guards this summer. But Hammond said the Bucks had their eye on Antetokounmpo since last December – and while the GM doesn’t want to put pressure on the youngster, he says the Greek forward has the potential of becoming an All-Star. Coach Larry Drew said he resembles Kevin Durant with long arms and solid ball-handling skills. Antetokounmpo had never been out of Greece until just a few weeks ago, when he played with the Greek National Team. He played last season for a second-division team in Greece, averaging nine-and-a-half points and five rebounds in 26 games. Antetokounmpo admits he’s never played at nowhere near the NBA level – and both he and the Bucks say he’ll have a lot of work to do. Hammond says the ideal thing is to groom him with the team, and not send him to the NBA Developmental League. He had signed a pro contract to play in Spain this year, but the Bucks say they’ll have no problem buying it out. Wolters ends up as Milwaukee’s 43rd overall selection. He was fourth in the N-C-A-A in scoring last year, with almost 23-points a game for South Dakota State. This is Hammond’s sixth draft with the Bucks, and only one of his second picks stayed with the team – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who was taken in 2008.
Former Marquette University guard Vander Blue went undrafted last night. He passed up his senior year with the Golden Eagles in the hopes of getting picked. Blue now says he’ll try to hook up with an NBA Summer League team, with the goal of getting invited to a team’s training camp. Former Marquette guard Wesley Matthews Jr. did the same thing in 2009 after he went undrafted. He’s now with the Portland Trail Blazers. Former University of Wisconsin forward Jared Berggren was also hoping that somebody would draft him last night – but that didn’t happen.
The Boston Celtics and Nets pulled off a major swap during last night's NBA Draft. Former Wolves star Kevin Garnett has agreed to waive his no-trade clause from Boston, paving the way for Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to go to Brooklyn in exchange for a package that includes former Gopher Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans and three future first-round picks. Humphries is from Hopkins.
David Joerger is officially the new head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. The team has officially signed the longtime assistant to an undisclosed contract. Joerger is a Staples native and played college basketball at Concordia-Moorhead and Moorhead State. He has been on the Grizzlies' staff for six seasons, including the last two under former head coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins was not retained despite Memphis winning a franchise-record 56 games this past season and reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time in club history Lionel Hollins is the father of current Golden Gopher guard Austin Hollins.