There are quite a few teams in the higher reaches of the 2013 NBA draft that could make good use of a great shooter, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope might be the best in this class. Still, the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the 12th pick, are hoping he slips a little bit lower than current predictions so they can land him.
Caldwell-Pope spent only two seasons with Georgia, averaging 18.3 points during his Sophomore year, hitting 37.3% of his three point shots. He isn’t going to have a problem with NBA-range because he takes plenty of shots from that deep, and has a very quick release which also is something deadly college shooters struggle with when making the transition.
At the moment, it looks like the Minnesota Timberwolves will be the team that grabs him. Minnesota really need a shooter, and Caldwell-Pope, at 6’6, provides a very unique swingman addition, being able to play both shooting guard and small forward, that Minnesota will find very hard to pass up.
Who are the Thunder, according to the Mocks, ending up with? Right now it’s Steven Adams, the center out of Pittsburgh. There’s no doubt the Thunder need an NBA-ready big man on the bench, but they’re not too sure Adams is someone who can contribute right away. For a lottery pick the Thunder happened to end up with thanks to their trading, it would be a slight waste if there were better options out there.
Trading up right now isn’t an option, so it’s about simply hoping Minnesota pick someone else. It’s rumored that the Timberwolves are still considering Shabazz Muhammad as well for their ninth pick, but his draft stock is plummeting since the College season ended, and despite being regarded as a more talented natural scorer than Caldwell-Pope, he isn’t as good a shooter, and specialists without much of a downside are a hot trend these days.
Another player the Thunder are hoping interests teams ahead of them is Sergey Karasev, the 19 year old Russian, and Minnesota have a thing for European playuers. Karasev is an excellent shooter, playing the Small Forward position, but there’s a good chance he’ll prefer to stay in Europe for another year or two, and the Timberwolves, who need to succeed now, don’t have the luxury of waiting two years for another European player.
Again, there are other names OKC might be interested in, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he’s another raw talent that’s going to need some time before contributing significantly, and teams like the Thunder, built and geared to win now and soon, need to keep their fingers crossed that Caldwell-Pope finds his way down during draft night, and lands a little lower than the late top 10 most draft experts are predicting for him now.