Hopes of a playoff appearance are gone for the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the focus shifting towards the offseason, let’s talk about draft picks.
Despite another playoffs miss, the Minnesota Timberwolves have an impressive roster that was unfortunately marred by injury throughout the season.\n
Chances are, without several of their mid-season injuries, the Wolves would’ve had a shot at the playoffs this season. Just how far they could progress is anyone’s guess, but over the last few seasons the front office has been building a strong team in Minnesota.
And that brings us to the 2019 NBA Draft.
The big stories of course are the likes of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, who will be long gone by the time the Timberwolves are on the board. And that’s the problem. The Minnesota Timberwolves do not need another pick in the middle of the first round.
While rookie Josh Okogie has proven to be a strong contributor thus far, the Wolves would be better off working a trade around the pick for one of two options:
- Package a pick and a player to move up into the top 6
- Send the pick (and possibly a player) away for a 3-and-D veteran
Both of these options would be viable for the Wolves, and could solidify the Timberwolves as a force in the Western Conference for seasons to come.
In terms of players to ship off, the Wolves’ roster will be looking a little thin once free agency rolls around. With players like Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Tyus Jones hitting the market, the Wolves will only have eight players under contract, plus Jeff Teague and his player option.
The Timberwolves would likely love to move Gorgui Dieng‘s contract, but they’ve been unable to do so for the last few seasons. Andrew Wiggins‘ max salary would also be a big ask for any team to take on.
As things stand, the Wolves would be roughly in line for the No. 11 pick in the draft. That number could, of course, move up or down over the remainder of the season, but chances are Wolves will be picking in the low double-digits.
While there’s still plenty of talent available at that point of the draft, if the Timberwolves want a real difference-maker, they’d be better off moving into a higher position.
The Timberwolves already have a number of young talents developing. From the likes of Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop and Cameron Reynolds on the roster, the Wolves may decide another young talent isn’t exactly what they want.
With the option of either moving down, or perhaps forfeiting their draft pick altogether, the Timberwolves may be able to secure a veteran player ready to contribute straight away, bringing their experience to stabilize a team that may be losing valuable experience in both Rose and Gibson.
While the Timberwolves will likely pursue a number of veteran players throughout free agency, trading for a player currently on another team’s roster may be a better option if the front office have their eyes on anyone in particularly.
A player like Avery Bradley may fill that role, and Memphis may be looking to stockpile draft picks during their current rebuilding. But the Timberwolves’ intentions are currently unknown, and it remains a bit murky looking ahead without a head coach officially in the fold.
I think both scenarios are worth exploring for the Timberwolves, and I would prefer seeing them pursue either than to take a player somewhere around their current projected pick. The Timberwolves are a solid team, in need of a solid boost straight away, not another project player waiting to blossom in the coming seasons.
We have the remainder of the season to get an idea of how things will play out for the Timberwolves in the upcoming draft, before they need to consider their options to ensure next season isn’t a repeat of the current situation.