Saying hello to Ricky and Hasheem…?

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 – 5:50 PM
By Jerry Zgoda

The Wolves are working today to set up at least meetings or interviews with Ricky Rubio and Hasheem Thabeet as they continue to explore options for Thursday’s draft.

Sounds like the Wolves are next on Rubio’s list of teams to talk to after he leaves a workout in Sacramento this afternoon. Not sure if that means in person or not.

David Kahn has been doing more background checks on Thabeet as well and earlier today was trying to set up something with agent Bill Duffy but they were playing phone tag.

Anything could still happen between now and Thursday. Heck, anything could happen on Thursday night. After Blake Griffin goes first to the Clippers, this could be the most unpredictable draft in years.

If the Wolves somehow could get that second pick from Memphis, not sure which guy they’d prefer. The national buzz is for Rubio, but I’ll lean toward the big fella.

Rubio would give them the dynamic playmaker who will sell tickets and perhaps that trumps everything, but Thabeet would be a pretty formidable bookend to place next to Al Jefferson.

Heck, as high as David Kahn apparently is aiming, maybe he’ll try to get both of ‘em…

Both players are in California for one more day and then will head to New York City for an arrival there Wednesday to do media stuff for Thursday’s big night.

Kahn said both players’ representatives have asked him not to disclose the team’s plans for meeting with each guy. When I just texted him, Kahn said he is still in town, but Minneapolis is on the way from California to New York, so it’s possible one or both guys could stop here on their way East.

They also could do something by phone just to make themselves feel better.

Now I’m wondering if there’s a chance that Rubio could fall to the Wolves at No. 6 without them having to move up to get him. He’ll likely have worked out some kind of compromise on that buyout with his Spanish team by Thursday night.

Talked to original Timberwolf Scott Roth today for a story I’ll write for Thursday’s paper that will focus on Rubio and Thabeet as the guys who will determine how this draft falls. He has worked out Thabeet for the past month or more in preparation for the draft.

Roth helped develop Pau Gasol and Shane Battier when he was at Memphis. In a nutshell, here’s what he said:

Doesn’t worry that he’ll be an NBA bust. Says it’s exactly the opposite and calls him one of the few guys in the draft with a legitimate high upside.

Can get much stronger, never really did any core strengthening until trainers got ahold of him here in pre-draft workouts. Has more of an offensive game than people think, can shoot it to 16-17 feet and can be a pick and pop guy in the pros.

Says the advantage he has is most rookies struggle defensively when they enter the league, but he believes Thabeet will be a shot-blocking presence immediately.

Thinks he’ll be a better offensive player than Dikembe Mutombo, to whom Thabeet is often compared, but not as dominant defensively as the big finger wagger.

UPDATE: I was mistakenly under the impression in this original post that Thabeet’s representatives had hired Scott Roth to work out  their client for the past month or more.  Scott just sent me a message to say he has done so to help out Bill Duffy during the down time after Roth’s NBA D League team in Bakersfield, Calif., folded and said he won’t receive a penny for his work. I stand corrected. So does the original copy.

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