Timberwolves

Rob Dillingham Looks A Lot Like A Player Who Tortured the Wolves In the Playoffs

Photo Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Draft picks don’t always work out. The Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t actually know what Andrew Wiggins would become after they effectively selected him first in the 2014 draft. Would they eventually have a perennial All-Star wing complete with outside shooting, defense, and playmaking in Wiggins?

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman saw familiarities between Wiggins and Tracy McGrady. They moved with similar grace and bounce, but Wiggins obviously didn’t quite pan out like McGrady.

Rob Dillingham wasn’t the first overall pick like Wiggins, and while that means he won’t enter the season with the same expectations as Wiggins did, fans may still be interested in knowing what he could look like on the court. Which established player is the best comparison for him?

Draft pundits have compared him to Darius Garland, Bones Hyland, Kemba Walker, Coby White, and Lou Williams. Still, there’s a hint of another player the Wolves saw plenty of in the Western Conference Finals.

Kyrie Irving.

Dillingham is by no means the same level of prospect as Irving, who was the first overall selection in 2011. Irving facilitated offense akin to Chris Paul, was slightly more efficient, and even got compliments for his defensive motor and ability to stay in front of his man.

In college, Dillingham put up a similar base stat line to Irving (15-3-4 compared to 18-3-4). However, he doesn’t have the same defensive energy and playmaking ability. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to get excited watching Irving-esque pull-ups and off-hand finishes. Dillingham’s highlight tape is full of these:

A master of the mid-range, Dillingham won’t be afraid to fade away on a jumper after penetrating:

Dillingham can shoot from any spot in any situation. He’ll dribble into pull-up threes much the way Irving did against Minnesota:

Though the ability to use both hands may have prompted some Irving comparisons, Dillingham’s touch is evident with his stellar right hand. Irving shows much the same thing, finishing wacky plays with an automatic right hand:

Dillingham can share the floor with Anthony Edwards and Mike Conley like Irving does with Luka Dončić. He can knock down jumpers off the catch from anywhere, and he has the savvy to know where to find space without the ball. Who knows, he could be doing plenty of this:

Although he hasn’t received as much praise for his playmaking as Irving, many scouts have highlighted Dillingham’s ability to operate in the pick-and-roll. He knows when to blow past screens to finish at the rim and when to play slowly and kick out. He and dunk fiend Rudy Gobert may coexist nicely the way Irving and Dallas’s big men do:

Dillingham may not become the next Kyrie Irving; he’s more similar to players like Garland, Hyland, and Walker, which is exactly what Minnesota needs. Dillingham can flat-out score, and it’ll come in ways familiar to the Wolves.

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