by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack

The Timberwolves are set at forward with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Derrick Williams. Center is a sore spot, but the ‘Wolves already are developing Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic and Anthony Randolph (who’s more likely to play forward). Ricky Rubio is aboard to (possibly) take care of their point guard spot. Shooting guard is a weak spot with Wayne Ellington unlikely to develop into anything more than a shooter off the bench.

Some mock drafts have the ‘Wolves selecting Lithuanian 7-footer Donatas Motiejunas. After all, Minnesota still needs more big men down low, especially those who can put the ball in the bucket. And Minnesota has made a notable investment in international scouting. Motiejunas makes sense. Yet something happened on this board that makes me think Minnesota should go in another direction if this draft board scenario plays out.

With the 20th pick of the 2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select…

Klay Thompson from Washington State

Here’s what we know about the Timberwolves: they need size and they need shooting. Love is arguably their best outside shooter. (It was technically Luke Ridnour who led the team in three-point percentage.) If the argument is size and shooting then Thompson, a 6-7 sweet-shooting guard, fits the bill. He can slide into the shooting guard spot and give the ‘Wolves a spot-up shooter for when Love or Beasley or Williams backs down in the post.

Thompson shot 39 percent from downtown during his three seasons in the Pac-10. He averaged 19.6 points during his sophomore season and 21.6 in his junior campaign. He was an 82.7 percent free throw shooter for his career.

As with Williams, the ‘Wolves other first-round selection from the Pac-10, Thompson has a good head on his shoulders. He can think the game while he’s playing it. Thompson showed his leadership qualities last season as he led the Cougars to a 22-13 record (they had gone 17-16 and 16-15 his first two seasons) and to the semifinals of the NIT. What Minnesota needs more of are guys with winning attitudes from big-time collegiate programs. They need winners. They have one in Love, they’re finding they have another in Beasley and they can pick up two more in this draft in Williams and Thompson.

Thompson makes too much sense given that he could easily go in the lottery. If he slides down this far, then it’s a no-brainer for the ‘Wolves. Thompson has size, intelligence, shooting touch, scoring ability and he fills an obvious hole on the team at shooting guard. With Williams and Thompson, the ‘Wolves could improve as much as any squad in this draft.

2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft
PickTeamPlayerPickTeamPlayer
1CavsKyrie Irving1676ersMarkieff Morris
2TWolvesDerrick Williams17KnicksNikola Vucevic
3JazzBrandon Knight18WizardsJordan Hamilton
4CavsEnes Kanter19BobcatsMarshon Brooks
5Raptors Bismack Biyombo20TWolvesKlay Thompson
6WizardsJan Vesely21Blazers
7KingsKemba Walker22Nuggets
8PistonsKawhi Leonard23Rockets
9BobcatsJonas Valanciunas24Thunder
10Bucks Alec Burks25Celtics
11WarriorsMarcus Morris26Mavs
12JazzTobias Harris27Nets
13SunsJimmer Fredette28Bulls
14RocketsChris Singleton29Spurs
15PacersTristan Thompson30Bulls