Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 5/30/13
MINNEAPOLIS Kentavious Caldwell-Pope spent at least a few moments absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of downtown Minneapolis on Thursday. The former Georgia shooting guard, highly regarded as a potential Minnesota Timberwolves top pick, attempts to get at least a superficial feel for any city he might land in. "Whatever team's drafting you, you have to think about how would you fit in," said Caldwell-Pope, the coaches' and Associated Press' Southeastern Conference player of the year as a sophomore. "Just thinking about that and going through their offense, just going through the workout, thinking about how you would fit in with this team." The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder did just that for two hours Thursday inside the Target Center Lifetime Fitness center, joining five other prospects in a private group session his first workout since the NBA pre-draft combine in mid-May. While team president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said he didn't learn anything new about Caldwell-Pope, he certainly fits the bill of Minnesota's desires at the shooting guard spot. "Nothing we didn't know about him just what the scouting report says: He can shoot the ball, has good size, good quickness," said Saunders, who directed and took in drills alongside coach Rick Adelman. "Very, very good player in the SEC, so the things that people said about him, those are the things that he does, and that's kind of what you like about him." KCP, as he's called, averaged 18.5 points per game and shot 37.3 percent in a pretty weak league. What scouts like most is his ability to create and convert uncontested shots; according to Synergy Sports, he shot about 42 percent on pull-up jumpers this past season for the Bulldogs. Most mock drafts have him going in the first round. CBSsports.com's Matt Moore predicts he'll end up with the Wolves with the 26th overall pick. But Minnesota owns the No. 9 selection, too, and has a deep pool to evaluate in filling its gaping outside shooting hole. "A lot goes based on your reputation, but I really think there's probably six or seven quality twos," Saunders said. "I really believe that probably the two spot probably has the most depth of any other spot in the draft." Three other off-guard hopefuls joined Caldwell-Pope on Thursday: Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr., California's Allen Crabbe, and Providence's Ricky Ledo. That quartet and Lehigh product C.J. McCollum whom Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has going to Minnesota at nine appear frontrunners to wind up in the Twin Cities should the Timberwolves indeed draft a shooting guard or two. And they're full aware. "We all fighting just to move up in the draft," Caldwell-Pope said. "There's a lot of shooting guards in this draft competing against one another, so we've just got to come out, show that we've improved and try to move up." Hardaway Jr.'s one that's definitely on the upswing. The son of five-time NBA all-star Tim Hardaway, the 6-6, 205-pound sharpshooter performed well enough at the combine to rank as a low lottery to high second-round prospect. He's got the same 3-point percentage as Caldwell-Pope but did it against arguably the best defensive conference in the country. And the pedigree doesn't hurt, either. "I believe this: Most of those guys that have come up, because of the pressure that they've been under, when they started out in fourth grade and every time they stepped on the floor they were the kids of the father and everyone wanted to (say): I'm gonna show how good I am because I'm gonna be able to play against him and destroy him,'" Saunders said. "So in many times, they come up (and) they're a lot tougher. Because they have people that have been through, no matter how good they play, they've always said they're not good enough." One advantage to taking Caldwell-Pope or Hardaway over McCollum is a matter of measurement; at 6-foot-3, McCollum's two inches shorter than Caldwell Pope and three inches shorter than Hardaway. If Minnesota decides to address its other primary need, a backup center, with the No. 9 pick, there's a chance Hardaway could be available at No. 26. The same goes for Crabbe, a lesser-discussed potential Timberwolves player who earned Pac-12 player of the year accolades and scored 18.4 points per game as a junior for the Golden Bears. An even wilder card is Ledo, who practiced but didn't play at Providence after being ruled a partial qualifier. A highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, draft workouts like Thursday's are his only ticket to hearing his named called on draft day. "He doesn't have a work of art," Saunders said. "He doesn't have a picture you can look at and see what he did this past year." Said Ledo: "You got to work seven days a week, but you don't get your paycheck."Creighton center Gregory Echenique and Villanova forwardcenter Mouphtaou Yarou both went through drills in Minnesota on Thursday, too. Both big men grade out as fringe, low-second round picks that are likely destined for rookie free agency. More individual workouts are tentatively scheduled for June 12-17, after Saunders returns from scouting talent at Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. The reported list includes centers Steven Adams and Jeff Withey and guards Jamaal Franklin and Reggie Bullock. Saunders also will travel to Las Vegas on Friday for a camp put on by ASM Sports, an agency that represents a host of NBA players. Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter
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