The Minnesota Timberwolves did it.
Nobody believed in them. Some said it wasn’t possible.
Not you. You believed. We believed!
After never moving up in the lottery in team history (which is saying something!), the Timberwolves secured the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.
To say Minnesota moved up in the draft isn’t entirely accurate considering they had a 14% chance, which tied Golden State and Cleveland for the top odds in the draft. Regardless, this is a big moment! I wrote about it a bit earlier this week, but had the Wolves fallen to six or seven, we’re not even paying attention. Instead, this is a huge boost to not only what the Timberwolves do on the court, but what they are doing off the court on the business side.
Is it very Timberwolves-y that the team won the lottery in what’s considered the worst draft class since 2013? Indeed it is. The basketball gods have a sense of humor. But even so, the draft class is going to have some studs. There will be All-Stars and Hall of Famers. It’s up to Gersson Rosas and his staff to find that person.
The Wolves also have the 17th pick and the 33rd pick, though it’d be a surprise if the team left draft night with three rookies.
We have more than a month to discuss who the Wolves will take first overall, if they indeed keep it. The early favorites are James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. Each player has a unique question to face with the Timberwolves’ roster.
With Wiseman, can you double down on size with he and Karl-Anthony Towns? In 1996, that wouldn’t be a problem. But it’s 2020. Robert Covington is playing center. I saw T.J. McConnell and Aaron Holiday on the floor at the same time in the playoffs. Size in the NBA isn’t what it used to be.
With Edwards, the Wolves would be loaded at wing, assuming they bring back Malik Beasley. But what does that mean for someone like Jarrett Culver? Is there enough room for last year’s No. 6 pick to continue to grow? Do you just give up on him? Do you trade him? We’ll talk about Edwards in a later piece. I’m not as high on him as others are.
And then with Ball, you have to wonder what Minnesota’s defense will look like if he, D’Angelo Russell and Towns are on the floor at the same time. Do you just let the other team score 140 points and hope you can score 141?
The Wolves could trade the pick. I would guess that would be the fan-favorite choice.
The amount of Devin Booker to the Wolves content from Wolves Twitter is hot stock right now. But I have some bad news for you: The Suns aren’t about to trade Booker after going 8-0 in the bubble. Optimism is high in the desert. I would like to think Minnesota has a higher ceiling than Phoenix longterm, but history isn’t exactly on the Wolves’ side here.
Could Minnesota try to use the pick to pry Bradley Beal from Washington? If I’m the Wizards, I gamble on another season of Beal and a healthy John Wall and see what happens. What about Ben Simmons and the 76ers? That seems like the longest shot. Why would Philadelphia move on from one of the best defenders in the league for an unknown pick and a bunch of spare parts?
With that being said, I’d be shocked if the Wolves kept both first-round picks. If they trade the first pick, it better be for a star. The 17th pick could be traded for a rotational player or, best-case scenario, for a 2021 pick. It’s been well-documented that the 2021 draft class is stacked.
Having the first pick is just the start of a crazy offseason. Minnesota can also be a huge player in free-agency. Maybe not with the top free agents, but taking care of someone like Beasley will be a huge storyline. Juan Hernangomez and fan-favorite Jordan McLaughlin are also players to keep an eye on.
But the biggest storyline outside of the draft is the ownership of the team. We know that Glen Taylor is trying to sell the team. Does winning the lottery improve the value of the team? If so, by how much? I don’t know the answer to that. Once we get into the billions, my brain stops doing math and just turns to mush.
If Taylor sells the team to Kevin Garnett, is this the greatest offseason ever for the Wolves? From a marketing standpoint, I’m not sure if there would be anything better for a team that needs it. The Wolves have tons of talented people working behind the scenes, but a lot of time their work goes unnoticed because the team is constantly losing. That’s kind of how it goes. I can’t begin to tell you how many unwritten stories are saved on the backend of the Timberwolves’ website. RIP.
But the Wolves won on Thursday night. Fans deserve to celebrate. For the next month-plus, we all get to watch videos and debate who the Wolves should take first overall. We’ll all monitor the Booker/Beal/Simmons situations. Maybe a disgruntled star or two will pop up between now and late October. We can all cheers with pumpkin spiced lattes and Oktoberfest.
Enjoy your weekend. Spend it reading mock drafts, watching highlights and putting together fake trades. You deserve it.