Every Marquette fan was ecstatic to see Lazar Hayward drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. At the same time, not many of us know all that much about 'Zar's new team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Obviously, you need only look at the T-wolves record -- 15-67 in 2009-'10 -- to know that Hayward isn't walking into the type of great situation that Wes Matthews found last year with the Jazz. But it looks like there's some talent in Minnesota, and maybe an opportunity for 'Zar to play himself into a consistent role.
To get a better idea of what 'Zar can expect next year, we talked with SBN's excellent Timberwolves-devoted blog, Canis Hoopus. As is our custom, the next time the team from Canis Hoopus is in Milwaukee, the first round of Jagermeister is on us.
Our questions, their answers ... right now!
AE: First off: how you doin'? You seemed a little bummed last night.
CH: Last night could have definitely gone better. They still have enough resources to make something good happen but it will be tough. They don't have much room for error at this point. David Kahn is really going to have to get good value from the Al Jefferson trade that is seemingly inevitable. They're also going to have to hope that they can find a free agent to buy into whatever it is they are selling.
AE: Minnesota GM David Kahn created a stir last year when he drafted point guards Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio with back-to-back lottery selections. This year, the Wolves took Wesley Johnson, who's a 6'6"-ish small forward type, and then 'Zar, who's also a 6'6"-ish small forward type. Did you not have any other 3s on your roster? What's up with this habit of doubling up on players at the same position?
CH: The Wolves have not had a good wing player in a long, long time. They got a good year out of Spree, but we're probably talking about going back to the Wally days before we can start talking about good, consistent long term wing players in Minny. This team is in desperate need of solid wing players. It kills them every year. Take a look at 82games.com for the positional splits and you will see that there's probably not another team in the league that gets worked as much as the Wolves out on the perimeter.
A few more questions and a few more answers, after the jump.
AE: To follow up: Kahn took a lot of heat in the local and national press for the Draft choices last year, and the moves he made in the Draft this year are already coming under fire. Marquette fans were very happy to see Hayward drafted in the first round, since he's a terrific kid who played out of position -- and without complaint -- for four years. Please reassure us that Kahn drafting 'Zar at No. 30 isn't the basketball equivalent of Al Davis reaching for a third-round talent in the first round of the NFL Draft.
CH: The only thing that kind of bugs me about the Hayward pick is that they took him with the worst pick in the NBA draft: the 30th pick. It's a guaranteed deal and they better be right about his ability to fit in at the next level and contribute because he's on the books for at least 3 years.
AE: It seems there's been some handwringing over the decision to trade Ryan Gomes and the 16th pick to Portland for Martell Webster. Does the concern stem from the player you're getting in return (I'm not really familiar with Martell's work), or what you gave up to get him? Gomes seems like a good kid who worked hard and had a favorable contract. 'Zar could fill that role nicely (except that his money will be guaranteed).
CH: The concern with Gomes is that he has a weird contract where he can be bought out before July 1st and the team would save a bunch of money while only owing about a million against the 2010 cap. This contract is a valuable asset in a league where teams are racing to clear their books. It would have been nice to see them use it in the week leading up to free agency rather than on a guy that no one else seemed to be after and who could have been had in a lopsided trade after July 1st.
AE: There's a long ways to go before the season starts, obviously, but, at this point, assuming Al Jefferson isn't dealt, what does the Wolves' starting line-up look like? Who's the first guy off the bench?
CH: I honestly think there is no way to tell what the Wolves' starting lineup will be at the beginning of next year. They are going to sign Darko Milicic and, probably, Nikola Pekovic. They will almost certainly trade Al Jefferson and make a run at a B-level free agent. They have big plans and I'm somewhat cynical about them reaching their goals, but we'll just have to wait and see. I literally have no idea who will start at any of their 5 positions. It could go in any direction at this point.