Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors is scheduled to workout today and the Wolves still hope to convince Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins to visit before the June 24 draft.
The Wolves hold selection Nos. 4, 16 and 23 in the first round of the draft, and team president David Kahn is working hard on the trade front that could significantly change where they sit on the draft board.
“We’re out there. We’re very active,” assistant GM Tony Ronzone said. “We’re going to get better in Minnesota.”
The team continued its preparation Wednesday with Florida State center Solomon Alabi, Russian forward/center Artem Zabelin and Duke center Brian Zoubek working out in front of coach Kurt Rambis and several assistants. All three big men are considered possibilities for the 16th pick or lower.
Everyone is waiting on Favors, the super-athletic power forward who spent one season with the Yellow Jackets and is widely considered the top prospect in the draft behind Kentucky point guard John Wall and Ohio State swingman Evan Turner.
“He’s tough,” said Zoubek, who played against Favors in the ACC. “If he developed a little more polish and some go-to moves, he could be dominant. He’s unbelievably athletic. He plays hard. He has a good eye for the ball. It was tough playing against him.”
If the Wolves want a shot at Favors, they may have to swing a deal with New Jersey to get the No. 3 pick. Ever since the Timberwolves finished the season with just 15 wins, Kahn has said he will consider all options to get things turned around as quickly as possible, including trading Al Jefferson or Kevin Love.
The Wolves would also like to see Cousins in person before they make a decision. His agent has told the team Cousins will not workout for the Wolves because he believes there is not enough room in the frontcourt to ensure enough playing time. Cousins’ agent also thinks that the Wolves have settled on Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson, who worked out on Tuesday.
Kahn said that no decisions have been made and has told that to the Cousins camp.
“I think he’s been assured that over the last 24 hours there could well be an opportunity here because, as I’ve said publicly, this is a very fluid situation this summer,” Kahn said Tuesday. “And I don’t have quite an idea yet how it all will materialize.”
Cousins’ stance so far will not hold much bearing on whether he is drafted by the Wolves, Ronzone said.
“At the end of the day, I’ve seen DeMarcus Cousins,” he said. “Our staff has seen him. We know DeMarcus Cousins. We’d just like to get him in. These workouts are more for our coaches, see how they coach, see what they pick up. That’s huge.”
Minnesota forward Damian Johnson also worked out Wednesday, a late fill-in after Kentucky forward Daniel Orton canceled. The 6-foot-6 Johnson was overmatched during the session, but he will get a chance to compete against players more his size on Friday when he is scheduled to return for a workout with Xavier Henry of Kansas and Jordan Crawford of Xavier.
Johnson doesn’t expect to be drafted next week. He’s hoping to earn a spot on a summer league team to catch someone’s eye.
“That’s what I’m pretty much shooting for,” Johnson said.