Warriors

Wolves exec explains why NBA draft class can't be called weak

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Much of the NBA draft narrative this year has centered on the lack of consensus on the top players and the group as a whole being considered weak.

But as Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas told NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh on "The Habershow," draft classes can't be accurately evaluated until those players all have been in the league for a few seasons.

“I’m a big believer [that] there’s talent in every draft, but you can’t grade a draft until at least three or four years out,” said Rosas, whose team holds the No. 1 overall pick. “That’s what makes our job so complicated. It’s not about just picking the right player. It’s about the player being picked into the right system, health, opportunity, and the execution or the maximization of that talent.

“The reality is we don’t know. Everybody has a quick narrative on certain drafts, and even this one in particular.”

Rosas also pointed out to Haberstroh that many lamented the 2013 NBA Draft class for not having much production out of the first five players picked, but some hidden gems turned out to be stars.

“People talk about, this is the Anthony Bennett draft all over again,” Rosas said. “And the reality is, the reigning MVP [Giannis Antetokounmpo] was taken in that draft. The responsibility falls on us. We’ve got to make the right selections. We’ve got to make the right choices and find the right players.”

 

While Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, didn’t come close to living up to his billing, Antetokounmpo was the No. 15 pick, and is the reigning NBA MVP and just recently was named this season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The man who won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award the two years before Giannis also was taken in the 2013 draft, as Rudy Gobert fell to the No. 27 pick before the Utah Jazz finally scooped him up.

Plenty of pressure rests on the shoulders of both Rosas and Warriors general manager Bob Myers, as players drafted in the top five enter the NBA with sky-high expectations. The Warriors, who own the No. 2 overall pick, reportedly will entertain trade offers for it, as they could acquire a more pro-ready player who can help the organization return to championship contention after a one-season respite from atop the league standings.

So whether the Warriors draft at No. 2, trade down closer to the middle of the first round or completely deal out, there is high-level NBA talent within this year’s draft class. It’s on decision-makers like Rosas and Myers to properly evaluate and identify it.