The Minnesota Timberwolves must be patient with their rebuild and follow the small-market teams that have come before them.
With the playoffs well underway, the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves, once again, on the outside looking in.
Many fans blame the lack of veterans for their ineptitude this season. As a result, many believe the Timberwolves should trade their draft pick for an experienced quality player.
While the idea has some merit, I think the franchise would be better off keeping it. Why? We don’t have to look any further than the Utah Jazz to answer that question.
These two teams have many similarities.
Both are small market teams operating within the same division in a brutal Western Conference.
However, the Jazz have been much more successful this season. They tied for the fourth-best record in the conference despite missing more players to injury this season than any other team.
They also find themselves on the brink of pulling an upset against the Clippers, the Rudy Gorbert-less win in L.A standing out in particular.
Utah’s breakout hasn’t come out of nowhere.
It took a few years of patience with their young core as they learned how to win.
More importantly, they did it by building through the draft and stocking up on young players with potential. Most of their major contributors were acquired in the draft as their patience has clearly paid off.
I know what many of you are thinking, they only made the playoffs after acquiring veterans to bolster their depth. While that may be true, they didn’t do so at the expense of coveted picks and neither should the Timberwolves. Especially not with a lottery pick.
With this draft being strong and deep, there is no better time to follow the Jazz rebuilding method.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves likely landing the number six pick, the possibilities are endless. They can double down on their raw athleticism by drafting Jonathan Isaac or bolster their shooting with Lauri Markkanen and many other options.
More importantly, they can do so while pursuing veterans in free agency.
You can never have too much potential on a roster and it should definitely never come at the expense of a win now trade, especially when the team’s window for success hasn’t even opened.
As the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder before them have shown: small market teams need to build through the draft. It is important for them to acquire value picks and be patient.
Now the Timberwolves must commit to this approach by valuing their pick and being patient with this rebuild. Only then can they optimize their potential.