For one thing, mock drafts often amount to nothing more than educated guesses (emphasis on the latter). For another, the No. 7 pick is wholly dependent on how the first six picks play out.
History indicates the Wolves should at least get a solid NBA player. If they get lucky, they could get a true star (like, um, the Warriors did in 2009 when Steph Curry fell into their laps at No. 7 after the Wolves took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn at 5 and 6).
One player in this year’s draft who has the potential to fall that far also has the potential to be a difference-maker: Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac. While there is hardly a mock draft consensus that Isaac will be the Wolves’ pick at No. 7, he does show up on more prominent mock drafts than any other name at that spot — including mocks done by ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
Isaac, a 6-11 freshman from Florida State, is athletic and can protect the rim while also possessing offensive skills. He’s a bit of a project, but he’s hardly raw.
Writes Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports: You can make an argument (as one NBA scout did to me) that Isaac has the highest upside in this entire draft. The scout said Isaac, if he adds muscle, could someday be spoken of in the same “physically off the chart” tier as LeBron or Paul George.
Chad Ford of ESPN (Insider) says: “While Isaac might be further away than some of the other prospects on the board, his ability to guard four, maybe five positions on the floor should be great for Minnesota.”
Those definitely sound like intriguing traits. I’ve contended that the Wolves’ biggest needs are a rim protector and a shooter. Isaac would check one of those boxes while having the potential to check the other.
Other names to watch include Arizona’s Lauri Markannen (a seven-footer projected by Draft Express to go to the Wolves and whom ESPN’s Ford says the Wolves like), Malik Monk (the Kentucky freshman shooting guard) and possibly even Dennis Smith (a point guard but a good value who shows up on NBADraft.net and HoopsHype mocks at No. 7 to the Wolves).
Then again, the Wolves could be making the No. 7 pick for someone else if they end up using that asset as part of a trade. If they keep it and Isaac is there at No. 7, it would be hard to imagine them passing him up.