SLAMonline Mock Draft: Quincy Pondexter, No. 23
by Cub Buenning
Another week of the Draft has past, which, of course, means that we at the Minnesota Timberwolves must be back on the clock. Like we have mentioned through out, we have many NEEDs and holes to fill and we strongly subscribe to the “best player available” philosophy, so this pick has little to do with what the majority of the basketball world would deem what we “NEED.” We pay little mind to the mock drafts that litter the internet, so we just stick with the kids who we were able to catch the majority of their dynamic, but brief time in college (DeMarcus Cousins at No. 4) or one who we have followed and admired for several years (No. 16 pick Damion James)
The aforementioned Cousins and James were our first two extractions from the “amateur” ranks with the former having more “upside” and the latter being a more known commodity who we think can step in to an NBA game right now and contribute.
Like with our last pick, we need players. Upside, potential and all of those hoping for a young talent to mature and become a star is not what we NEED to be in the business of cultivating. Remember, we already have Ricky for that.
A group of sophomores caught our eye, but in the end we had to pass on them all as there were just too many questions that hadn’t been answered. Devin Ebanks is a player who is very intriguing and one we have followed closely since his prep days at St. Thomas More in rural Connecticut. We scouted him up close and personal this season and like everyone else is blown away by his flashes of length, ability and flat-out dominance. But it just seemed that there was something (drive-wise) missing from his game. In other words, his motor was sometimes on; other times, off. (I actually sat courtside, directly next to the WVU radio at the Mountaineers’ New Years Day game at Purdue, and their broadcast crew was not afraid to be frank off the air about his effort and desire.) Memphis’ Elliott Williams is another intriguing player, but we just weren’t that excited with his package of size and ball-handling. Basically, we think he needs another year or two to both develop his game and also get a little more size to his frame (weight room/cafeteria). We fell in love with Willie Warren during his freshman year, but quickly out of love this past season, when we expected him to take on the lionshare load of responsibility on the suddenly “Griffin(s)-less” Oklahoma team. He didn’t. We weren’t impressed. Although, we still think Warren could be one of the true great scorers to come from this Draft (we thought he was going to be one of the nation’s top scorers last year. Incorrect.) But, again, we want players, not specialized performers.
So after deciding to pass on this triumvirate of second-year players, we have decided to almost duplicate our mid-round pick of Damion James. (Remember, we are the team that drafted 18 point guards last year. We are stockpiling talent here, not position players. If we have “too much” talent and ability at each position than we are bound to be better. Right?)
With the 23rd pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select…
Quincy Pondexter from the University of Washington.
Like James, Pondexter was a four-year player on a team from a power conference, who not only contributed right away, but also improved each year. Like James, Pondexter has a pro-ready/grown man body and at 6-6, 220-pounds will able to defend NBA wings (and an occasional two-guard), right away. He is tough in the post on both sides of the ball, he can move well laterally and has a great understanding of both individual and team defense. He kind of reminds us a bit of Utah’s Wesley Matthews. No area is off-the-charts, but none is even average.
“Q” has one of the most underrated first-steps in the nation and can hurt his opponent with either a smooth pull-up mid-range game or by going all the way to the hole and getting to the line (he also improved his free-throw shooting almost 15 percent over his tenure in Seattle). Pondexter’s perimeter game is one that probably needs the most attention (he was a little inconsistent), but outside shooting is also an area we feel can be most easily developed as a professional. Especially when someone has a good starting point, but just has probably never put in the extensive time NEEDed to become a great shooter; it’s all repetition and muscle memory.
We were fans of Pondexter back in his prep days in Fresno playing alongside the Lopez twins; that hasn’t changed. He gives us exactly what we need right now. He will be able to pair with James and give us defense, rebounding and chip in with a basket or two. In a division that has players like Carmelo and Durant on the wing, we need to combat fire with water, not more fire. We aren’t going to find either of these two guys’ equal in this draft (or anytime soon) as these guys are “once-in-a-lifetime” talents. But we can stock up young, strong, rugid, defensive-minded players to make life difficult for them.
After reviewing how we did things in this first round, maybe we did address our NEED on the wing. Ryan Gomes is available now. Corey Brewer might need to focus more attention to defending quicker, shorter, two-guards. As a side note, to these selections, Wayne Ellington is a player who could really make the James-Pondexter duo a threat. If the second-year player can develop in to a true two-guard scorer, than our rookie tandem should have all kinds of room to fill in the spaces and get easy baskets.
We will be better next year and the year after that, too.
This year’s Draft will be a big reason as to why that will transpire.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Washington||John Wall||16||Minnesota||Damion James|
|2||Philadelphia||Evan Turner||17||Chicago||James Anderson|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami||Avery Bradley|
|4||Minnesota||DeMarcus Cousins||19||Boston||Jordan Crawford|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio||Hassan Whiteside|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC||Daniel Orton|
|7||Detroit||Ed Davis||22||Portland||Eric Bledsoe|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota||Quincy Pondexter|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|