On KFAN, Flip says Wolves tried to trade up


Flip Saunders, the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations, is making the media rounds Friday, explaining what happened last night in the 2013 NBA Draft.

In a nutshell: By the time the No. 9 pick came around, the long-distance shooting guards the Wolves had been coveting were taken by other teams.

Saunders selected Michigan point guard Trey Burke, but then dealt him to Utah, for the No. 14 and No. 21 picks. Those turned out to be UCLA small forward Shabazz Muhammad and Louisville center/shot-blocker Gorgui Dieng.

Saunders told KFAN-FM 100.3's Paul Allen that the Wolves tried to trade up with other teams, to perhaps select Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. But luck wasn't on the Wolves' side.

"The way the draft worked out your top three shooting guards were all taken before us," Saunders said. "What it took to move up was an All-Star player. The cost to move up was astronomical. We're not a team that's willing to do that."

As for the Muhammad pick, Saunders called him a "old school" great scorer with a high work ethic.

"He's either going to get fouled or he's going to score," Saunders said. "He's worked so hard on his shots. He was a main threat at UCLA."

But what about Muhammad's performance against the Gophers in the NCAA tournament -- a game Minnesota won by 20 points? A game in which he went 6-for-18 from the field and 0-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc?

Flip says forget about it.

"Some of the unrest in Minnesota has to do with that game," Saunders said. "You don't judge somebody on one game. For him, he's coming to the perfect situation. We have good players, but he has (Timberwolves coach) Rick Adelman to teach him. You really have someone who is a diamond in the rough."

As for that outside shooting threat, Saunders doesn't sound too worried:

"We have free agency, we have trades. As I said, everyone gets very excited about the draft. You can get people that can help you, but you (generally) don't get people with impact."

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