Minnesota Timberwolves draft picks of the last 10 years: Where are they now?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 21: Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 21: Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Flip Saunders, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng
Flip Saunders presented Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng with their Timberwolves jerseys during an introduction press conference. (Photo By Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images) /

2013 Draft

The 2013 draft was Flip Saunders’ first after he rejoined the Timberwolves organization as the president of basketball operations. Rick Adelman was still the coach, so there was a new and somewhat interesting convergence of two successful NBA coaches in two separate roles.

Saunders went into the draft with the No. 9 and No. 26 draft picks, plus a pair of late second-round selections. It was a lot of pressure for a guy who hadn’t been in an NBA front office for several years, and as it turned out, a split-second decision was indeed needed on draft night.

The Wolves were rumored to have had their sights set on Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but he was picked No. 8 by Detroit. Saunders selected Michigan’s Trey Burke, but with Ricky Rubio already on the roster, he turned around and flipped Burke to Utah for the No. 14 and No. 20 selections.

One of the players who was rumored to be completely off of some team’s draft boards was UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, who at one time had been considered the top high school recruit in the country but had some red flags entering the draft. Saunders felt differently, however, and picked him at No. 14.

At No. 20, he picked up Gorgui Dieng, a national champion at Louisville and a 24-year-old rookie, but his college numbers and playing style appeared to be an immediate fit at the NBA level.

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In the second round, Saunders grabbed Lorenzo Brown, a pass-first, defensive-minded point guard somewhat resembling a poor man’s Rubio, and Bojan Dubljevic, a Euro-stash who was just shipped to Portland in the Jake Layman sign-and-trade in July of 2019.

Muhammad didn’t play much as a rookie but showed flashes in his second and third NBA seasons of being a viable regular in the rotation. He never quite figured out the defensive end of the floor, however, and that kept him from reaching his ceiling in the league.

Shabazz reportedly turned down an extension offer from the Wolves following the 2016-17 season, opting instead to become a free agent. A worthy offer never came around, however, and he returned to Minnesota under a modest deal for the 2017-18 campaign. He fell out of Thibodeau’s rotation by spring and was waived, playing the rest of the season and playoffs with the Milwaukee Bucks. Muhammad was waived in the fall of 2018 and played the season in China, not appearing stateside at all during the 2018-19 campaign.

Dieng, of course, is still on the roster as of August 2019 and figures to provide depth in the frontcourt for Ryan Saunders’ 2019-20 squad. He was given a four-year, $64 million extension by Thibodeau prior in fall of 2016 but immediately saw his role diminish. Gorgui’s best season was as a starting power forward next to Towns, but has seen the vast majority of his minutes at backup center over the past couple of seasons.

With the additions of Jordan Bell and Noah Vonleh, it certainly appears as though Dieng could see his role shrink further over the final two years of his contract. He’s absolutely a trade candidate as the calendar moves closer to summer of 2020 as a useful big man with an expiring contract.

Brown was waived by the Wolves and appeared in 26 games as a rookie for Philadelphia but found his way back to Minnesota the following season. Since then, he’s appeared for Phoenix and Toronto, although he was waived in January of 2019 and missed the Raptors’ playoff run.

Burke, on the other hand, has been a major disappointment and bounced from Utah to Washington to New York to Dallas. All things considered, the Burke trade was a positive one for the Wolves, although Dieng’s contract extension was a mistake that has contributed to the Wolves’ tight cap situation.