2017 and 2018 – Justin Patton, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop
It’s perhaps a bit harsh to judge Patton after his two total minutes of NBA action, so we’ll leave him to continue recovering from his injuries and turn our attention to the most recent draft. Patton has tons of potential, but his consistent foot issues have put a solid cap on his development to this point.
While Josh Okogie has seen plenty of playing time (more on him in a moment), Keita Bates-Diop has hardly received any opportunities to prove himself at the NBA level. Bates-Diop was projected as high as a late first-round pick in a lot of mock drafts, but has seen just six short stints of NBA action since arriving in Minnesota.
Bates-Diop is averaging just 5.7 minutes per game in those appearances, but with decent performances in the G League, the question must be asked: what is keeping him out of the lineup on a team that only has a prayer of making the playoffs as of mid-February.
A player with enough talent to be a consensus late first-round or early second-round pick should develop nicely in the pros, so it will be interesting to see what former Timberwolf John Lucas III, the team’s player development coach, and the rest of the staff are able to get out of Bates-Diop, who was the 2017-18 Big Ten Player of the Year.
Okogie, on the other hand, has seemed to develop quite nicely in front of our eyes, but I’m questioning just how good he could be if the Wolves continue their track record of struggling to develop the potential of their young players.
The opportunity has been great for Okogie, but his ball-handling and jump-shooting need to improve drastically — especially if he’s going to remain a key part of the rotation moving forward.
It’s all a lot to think about: are the Timberwolves’ really holding back their own young players through a lack of proper development?
Timberwolves fans have suffered enough the last decade and more, so here’s hoping the team can sort its own internal issues out and get to winning games on the court.