Timberwolves

What Will the Minnesota Timberwolves Do If They Get The No. 1 Pick?

Photo credit: Brad Penner (USA TODAY Sports)

As I write this, there is a man working on our air conditioner and someone on Facebook Marketplace is messaging me about a “vintage door” that I’m selling for $25.

Spoiler alert: I don’t actually think it’s a vintage door! I just think it’s a normal door that has had better days.

Welcome to owning a house, baby!

Also, Facebook Marketplace is the weirdest place on earth and 70% of the time people do not show up to pick up the item you are selling. This is a new world for me.

This article isn’t about houses, though, or odd people on Facebook Marketplace. This is about #SPORTS.

I haven’t had much time to think or read about sports lately, and I guess that’s probably the same for everyone. But we’re getting closer! The MLB starts later this week. The WNBA starts over the weekend and the NBA starts in 10 days.

When it comes to Minnesota Timberwolves’ news, there’s really not a lot going on. The main talker is whether or not the Brooklyn Nets can win a game or two in Orlando to ensure the Wolves keep the first-round pick they acquired at the trade deadline. While we love Jamal Crawford, that’s not super riveting.

The Timberwolves have another first-round pick, though. One that is much more valuable: Their own pick!

The Wolves collect lottery picks the way college kids collect empty bottles of cheap vodka. And just like those bottles of cheap vodka, it’s mostly sadness after the initial misguided joy.

Just in the last seven seasons, the Timberwolves have qualified for the lottery six times. While that has netted them Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and Lauri Markkanen (although he was never really a Timberwolf), it’s been the same song and dance for the Timberwolves. Once again, the Wolves find themselves with the highest odds (along with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers) to land the No. 1 pick at 14%.

The Timberwolves have had the No. 1 pick once in franchise history, and that was in 2015 when they took Towns. I’m not here for the “empty stats” debate. Towns is the best player in that draft class and it’s not particularly close. That hasn’t equaled winning, though.

There’s no Towns or clear-cut franchise player in this draft.

So, if the Timberwolves do end up with the No. 1 pick, what will they do with it?

Trade It!

If you polled 100 Timberwolves’ fans, I’m guessing 80 of them would push for a trade with this pick. A lot has to do with the talent in the draft class, but even more is about the talent that could be available on the trade market. If we’ve learned anything about Gersson Rosas so far it’s that he’s not afraid to shake things up. And by shake things up I mean drench the room in gasoline before lighting a match and watching it all burn down.

Could the Timberwolves trade James Johnson, the No. 1 pick and Malik Beasley to the Suns for Devin Booker? What about that same trade for Bradley Beal? I haven’t started the trade machine (shoutout to you, Sachin Gupta!) and I’m not sure if these salaries match up, but these seem like deals that could be on the table, especially if Booker or Beal demand a trade.

With Booker, you’d basically be forfeiting ever becoming a good defensive team, but if you score 180 points per game, who cares?

What about the Stepien Rule, you ask, which forbids teams from trading back-to-back first-round picks? The Timberwolves don’t have their 2021 first-round pick, which went to the Warriors along with Andrew Wiggins as part of the D’Angelo Russell deal. But if the Timberwolves end up getting the Nets’ first-round pick, that offsets and the Stepien Rule doesn’t come into play.

These are the two players to watch as Rosas goes star-hunting this summer. If the Wolves end up getting the No. 1 pick in the lottery, that puts them in a very good position to land another big-time player to star with Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

Double Down On Size

More and more mock drafts have James Wiseman going first overall. What does that mean? I don’t know! There’s really no pre-draft process right now, so there’s not the “this guy is picking up steam” storyline.

Wiseman only played in three games with Memphis before being ruled ineligible.

If the Wolves think Wiseman is the best player in the draft, they should take him and worry about the rest later, even with having Towns on the roster. Wiseman is 7’1″ and would lessen the burden defensively for Towns. The problem, however, would be when teams decide to go small against the Wolves. How do you keep two seven-footers on the floor at the same time? This is 2020 not 1990.

The Houston Rockets, a team trying to contend for a championship, don’t have a player over 6’8″ in their rotation. Golden State made small ball famous and rode it to three championships.

Offensively, Wiseman is a player with plenty of potential, but he’s not a floor stretcher just yet. Defensively, he offers more rim protection than Towns. This would seemingly be a move against modern basketball, which is something Rosas and Ryan Saunders have preached they wanted to bring to Minnesota. This would be the opposite of that, but again, if Wiseman becomes a 10-time All-Star, none of that really matters.

Anthony Edwards

As far as position fit is concerned, Edwards is a good option.

He would join a wing group of Beasley, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver. That’s a solid group and a group that is relatively affordable right now.

As a freshman at Georgia, Edwards averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

It feels like fans are higher than they should be on Edwards. When you say, “athletic shooting guard” that sounds fun for this team, but the legend of Edwards is more impressive than him as an actual player. Edwards shot just 40.2% from the field and 29.4% from the 3-point line.

I’m not as high on Edwards as others are. If he falls and you can get him at five, great. If he’s your No. 1 pick, that probably says more about the class than it says about Edwards.

The good news is that Edwards is still 18, so there’s a lot of growing left to do. We’ve seen other players have tough shooting seasons in college who later turned into solid pros. They just normally didn’t become No. 1 picks.

None Of The Above

There are plenty of other intriguing prospects in the draft and it feels like none of them are getting the attention they deserve right now. The good news is that we’ve still got more than two months before the draft, so we have time!

You’ve heard of LaMelo Ball, and there’s a pretty decent chance he’ll be better than his brother, who is turning into a very solid point guard. The younger Ball can also do cool things like this which will help him 0% at the next level, but it’s 100% fun to watch.

Killian Hayes is the great unknown out of France and could make a GM look really smart, or lose a GM his job. And then there’s someone like USC’s Onyeka Okongwu who in theory could be Minnesota’s starting power forward to start the 2020-21 season, whenever that will be.

Then again, there’s an 86% chance the Timberwolves won’t be picking first overall. Maybe this article was a waste of time. But we made it this far, so maybe not.

Stay safe and as always, thanks for reading. We’ll chat next week.

Timberwolves
Your Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 Offseason Guide
By Kyle Ratke - Oct 20, 2020
Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves Mailbag: They’ve Got the No. 1 Pick. What’s Next?
By Kyle Ratke - Aug 25, 2020
ad_space
ad_space
Timberwolves

What the Wolves Can't, Shouldn't and Definitely Shouldn't Do with the No. 1 Pick

Photo credit: Brad Penner (USA TODAY Sports)

When the Timberwolves won the lottery this year I was ecstatic. The moment Mark Tatum flipped that final card and revealed our Wolves, I leapt out of […]

Continue Reading