The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be evaluated.
Two years removed from ending the longest playoff drought in the NBA, the Timberwolves are back at the bottom of the barrel, to the point where they received the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. This sounds like excellent news, yet it is more complicated this year, as March Madness was cancelled due to COVID-19. So lottery teams for the first time are having to draft solely on regular season performances.
Their roster underwent extreme changes in Ryan Saunders’ first year as (non-interim) head coach. The team acquired D’Angelo Russell, Robert Covington and Jordan Bell. They also lost franchise stalwarts such as Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins. Roster and rotation shuffling was the theme of their season, other than losing games.
However, with a new regime in place on the floor and in the front office and players such as Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns still on the team, the future could look bright if Minnesota strikes big on at least two of their three picks in 2020.
The Timberwolves have three picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
First Round: Picks No. 1, 17
Second Round: Pick No. 33
Pair for D’Angelo Russell- Russell can score and he can pass. This much he proved in his time with Brooklyn. But pressure needs to be taken off of him for the Wolves to really maximize his talent. A shooting guard would be best, but drafting a point guard and letting Russell play at the two position would be fine, too.
Three point/field goal shooting- Ranking 28th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage and field goal percentage in this day and age is simply not going to get it done, plain and simple. What makes the problem worse is the fact that the Wolves shot the third most threes and the most field goals last season. They need a player who can line it up and knock it down.
Defense- According to NBA.com, the Timberwolves’ defensive rating of 111.6 was only good for 20th in the NBA. If Minnesota is going to miss shots, as mentioned above, they need to make sure the team they are playing is missing them too. Apart from their steal numbers (fourth in the NBA), the Wolves have a lot of work to do.
First Round, Pick No. 1: Anthony Edwards, SG (Georgia)
The Timberwolves cannot really go wrong with the number one pick, as long as they take a player in the top-tier of talent. The problem is, they cannot quite hit a home run here, either.
James Wiseman or Obi Toppin would make sense if the Wolves wanted to create a “Twin Towers” front court. LaMelo Ball would make sense if they want to shift D’Angelo Russell to a scorers’ role. However, the upside of Anthony Edwards coupled with their needs makes him the most likely choice for Minnesota.
Normally, teams want a sure thing rather than a project when they are choosing in the top 10. But Edwards’ scoring prowess coupled with his already decent defensive efforts make him tantalizing to pair with Russell.
He will absolutely need to work on his three-pointer, and will need to show the same commitment to rebounding and turning the ball over as he did in college. And it may take a few years to know for sure whether or not Minnesota made the right choice by selecting him. If the coaching staff can iron out the kinks, though, Edwards can be an All-Star in short order.
First Round, Pick No. 17: Patrick Williams, PF (Florida St.)
Williams’ numbers in his only year at Florida State do not jump off of the page. Yet, it still may be wishful thinking that he will be available at pick 17.
Another project, Williams does not score at a huge clip, but he does do a bit of everything well. That could be the reason to pick him. Pairing a 6’11” power forward with Karl-Anthony Towns will allow Towns to space the floor, while Williams can learn on the fly from one of the league’s best centers.
Many teams will have their eyes on Williams, but if his numbers scare them and he does fall a bit farther than projected, the Timberwolves should swoop him up without a second thought.
Second Round, Pick No. 33: Jordan Nwora, SF (Louisville)
From wishful thinking to what most would consider a reach, Jordan Nwora would fit well with the Timberwolves. He comes from a winning organization that puts a premium on effort on both sides of the floor and will sub in well for Josh Okogie.
Without a doubt Louisville’s best player, those who have watched Nwora cannot help but notice his commitment on both ends of the floor. His scoring and rebounding skyrocketed when he became a full time player, and he plays a fine brand of defense. Some fear that will not translate to the NBA, but his numbers suggest he can surge if given enough minutes.
Even so, if the above picks are to be believed, the Wolves will have taken a guard and a de-facto center, so why not cap it off with a forward?
Featured Image courtesy of Minnesota Timberwolves
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