Minnesota Timberwolves select Jaylen Nowell in second round

COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Jaylen Nowell #5 of the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Jaylen Nowell #5 of the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves capped off their draft night by selecting Jaylen Nowell from the University of Washington in the second round.

After trading up from No. 11 to the No. 6 pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves landed a second wing player later in the night.

The Timberwolves shipped Dario Saric to the Phoenix Suns along with the No. 11 pick and received the No. 6 pick in return. The Wolves then picked Texas Tech’s Jarett Culver sixth, leaving them with the No. 43 pick at their disposal.

The Wolves stayed put this time and doubled down on wing help, selecting the University of Washington’s Jaylen Nowell a No. 43.

Nowell was the PAC-12 Player of the Year after his second consecutive impressive season with the Huskies. This time around, Nowell put up 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He also shot 50.2 percent from the floor, including 44 percent from 3-point range and 77.9 percent from the free thrown.

Nowell improved in virtually every category from his freshman to sophomore campaigns and is still only about to turn 20 years old in a couple of weeks. His 6-foot-4 frame and 6-foot-7-1/4 inch wingspan are solid, although not spectacular. Clearly, he’s going to be guarding 1s and 2s at the next level and won’t be big enough to handle some bigger wings.

For a second-round prospect, Nowell is a fairly well-rounded player. (For what it’s worth, Timberwolves broadcaster Jim Petersen seems to love the pick.) The only true concern is that he almost exclusively played defense as part of a zone scheme in college. While Wolves first-round pick Jarrett Culver is a fantastic defender who was asked to do all kinds of things on defense in college, Nowell was basically a cog in a zone machine at Washington.

Especially given his size, which is more point guard than shooting guard, the Wolves must project him out as a tough defender who can lock down plenty of 1s from around the league.

In a perfect world, Nowell will spend much of his rookie season in the G League, as the Wolves will add a couple of point guards via free agency and already have the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Josh Okogie, Robert Covington, and Culver on the wing — all of whom can play shooting guard.

Next. 3 reasons to love Jarrett Culver for the Wolves. dark

If nothing else, the Wolves found a well-rounded, high-upside player with the No. 43 pick in the draft. And it’s hard to complain about that.