Minnesota Timberwolves: What to do with the No. 11 overall pick

COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Nassir Little #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Nassir Little #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the No. 11 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. What players should they be considering drafting at that point in the first round?

Get ready. We’re still five weeks away from the 2019 NBA Draft, and the mock drafts will be coming fast and furious.

The Minnesota Timberwolves slid back from the No. 10 slot to No. 11 in Tuesday night’s draft lottery while the New Orleans Pelicans converted on a six-percent chance to draft first. They’ll have the first crack at Duke’s Zion Williamson while the Wolves will have the opportunity to select…

…Well, any number of players. It’s far too early to have a true grasp on what direction each team in the top 10 is leaning, but we can peruse the mock drafts and get a sense of who should be available.

If we’re looking strictly at need, point guard is the most obvious slot that the Timberwolves need to fill. Derrick Rose and Jerryd Bayless are both hitting unrestricted free agency this summer while Tyus Jones will be an unrestricted free agent. Jeff Teague and his $19 million are a trade candidate, but even if he isn’t moved he’ll be a free agent again next summer.

But this isn’t a deep point guard draft beyond a few guys who will easily go in the top 10. There’s a clear drop off to the next tier, and most mock drafts don’t show another run on point guards until a handful of combo guards late in the first round.

It would be a mild surprise for the Wolves to reach for a point guard at No. 11, and unless someone falls to them, they probably won’t go that direction in the draft and instead could try and address the position in free agency or via trade.

The next greatest need for the Wolves is shooting, and they’ll take it at any position.

They could grab Kevin Porter Jr., who shot 41.2 percent from beyond the arc in his lone season at USC but has some red flags and only played in 22 games for the Trojans, starting four.

Or, there’s Kentucky guard Tyler Herro, who shot just 35.5 percent from deep but came on strong late in the year and has a fairly well-rounded game. Or perhaps the twin towers approach, with Oregon 7-footer Bol Bol coming off a foot injury — and a season in which he shot 52 percent from beyond the arc, albeit in only nine games.

There are also projects with high upside, such as 18-year-old Sekou Doumbouya or North Carolina’s Nassir Little. One school of thought is that the Wolves need to win-now to appease Karl-Anthony Towns and keep fans interested, while the other is that they need to develop a true second-star to play alongside Towns now and take over when the All-Star big man inevitably skips town.

Perhaps the safest move would be an older prospect who could fit seamlessly on defense and in the half-court offense, such as Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke. The main downside there, of course, is that he isn’t a great shooter and will be 23 years old by fall.

At any rate, the Wolves are in a spot that they aren’t all that familiar with: a late-lottery pick, where they’ll have to decide whether to roll with upside, raw shooting ability, or immediate fit. It isn’t a top-five pick in which they simply should go with the best player available, or a later pick in which upside isn’t as much of a consideration as it might be earlier in the draft.

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Hopefully, things will become a bit more clear as we move through this week’s NBA Scouting Combine and draw closer to the one-month countdown to the draft.