Mock: Klay Thompson, No. 20

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
Pick Team Player Pick Team Player
1 Cavs Kyrie Irving 16 76ers Markieff Morris
2 TWolves Derrick Williams 17 Knicks Nikola Vucevic
3 Jazz Brandon Knight 18 Wizards Jordan Hamilton
4 Cavs Enes Kanter 19 Bobcats Marshon Brooks
5 Raptors Bismack Biyombo 20 TWolves Klay Thompson
6 Wizards Jan Vesely 21 Blazers
7 Kings Kemba Walker 22 Nuggets
8 Pistons Kawhi Leonard 23 Rockets
9 Bobcats Jonas Valanciunas 24 Thunder
10 Bucks Alec Burks 25 Celtics
11 Warriors Marcus Morris 26 Mavs
12 Jazz Tobias Harris 27 Nets
13 Suns Jimmer Fredette 28 Bulls
14 Rockets Chris Singleton 29 Spurs
15 Pacers Tristan Thompson 30 Bulls