Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Profile: Nassir Little

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Seventh Woods #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels pushes teammate Nassir Little #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round against the Auburn Tigers in the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Seventh Woods #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels pushes teammate Nassir Little #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round against the Auburn Tigers in the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) /
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Nassir Little didn’t have a strong freshman season at the University of North Carolina, but his potential should be intriguing to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The next player on our list of draft profiles for the Minnesota Timberwolves is Nassir Little.

Little played one season at the University of North Carolina and, put simply, didn’t have the year he would have liked. Coming into the season, he was viewed as lottery pick who might crack the top 10 selections.

Now, he might find his way on the outside of the top 10 looking in, although a strong showing to this point of the pre-draft process has likely vaulted him back into the lottery.

Going into the year, Little was pegged as the sixth-best recruit in the class of 2018 according to ESPN‘s Top 100. It’s not hard to see why scouts fell in love with him, as he has a prototypical NBA frame at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds.

It’s a frame that should allow him to take the ball inside with his pure athleticism and defend the ball against bigger forwards. But that didn’t happen on a consistent bass in his lone year as a Tar Heel.

At UNC, Little averaged 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.5 blocks and steals per game. His strong suites remain his athleticism and ability to defend the ball.

This video here shows some highlights of it on full display, including a tidbit of his 7-foot-1 wingspan. Entering the league, Little should have no difficulties playing defense, providing energy plays and getting to the rim.

However, his shooting was not so great and therefore will hurt his stock as well, although he’s reportedly shot the ball better during workouts, as noted here by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Little shot 48 percent from the field and just 26.9 percent from 3-point range at UNC, and those numbers are a big part of what caused Little’s initial slide down mock draft boards.

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Little could provide a role like rookie Josh Okogie did for the Timberwolves this season: a guy with a high motor who makes athletic plays and competes on defense. His potential is as good as nearly anyone in the draft, but it’s up to him to show that his year at UNC was a learning experience.