How an early end to college basketball affects the Minnesota Timberwolves

Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

College basketball is over for the season, and far earlier than expected. How does that impact the Minnesota Timberwolves?

By now, you’ve heard that all conference basketball tournaments and NCAA March Madness has been canceled. Basically all basketball, worldwide, has been shut down.

This just might lead to one of the most uninformed drafts in recent NBA history. This makes things interesting for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have two first-round picks and a high second-round pick.

Imagine having to find a potential key player for your hypothetical job but only getting half of everyone’s resume.  That’s basically what every NBA team will be doing in the NBA draft this year.  To make matters worse, many key players have either missed time, played in various overseas leagues, or both.

To be clear: this isn’t a slam the NCAA article. I fully support putting the health of the players, fans, and everyone else ahead of amateur basketball games. But a lack of games played is notable nonetheless.

To give you an idea of how many games everyone’s played, take a look at last year’s top prospects. Zion Williamson played in 33 games at Duke while teammate RJ Barrett played in 38 games, as did Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver.

Here’s the total games played by some potential lottery picks in 2020:

  • James Wiseman: 3 games
  • LaMelo Ball: 12 games
  • Onyeka Okongwu: 28 games
  • Cole Anthony: 22 games
  • Deni Avdija: 26 games (eight games last season)
  • Killian Hayes: 10 games (33 games last season, nine the previous year)

Those range anywhere from almost half as many games to a quarter fewer games played than the typical prospects from years prior.

It also removes the opportunity for the Timberwolves, and all other teams, to watch the players on their radars during March Madness. The time of the year where many players have their stocks fall or skyrocket. Missing the tournament makes it harder to assess what the players can do in a playoff level environment too.

It may be a frivolous sounding concept but some players live for that spot light and they’re the ones you’d want as your top guy. Some guys also totally disappear and that could raise some red flags, especially for a team like the Wolves that is looking for the last pieces to make a playoff run.

There could be a good chance that due to the lack of information that this draft could lead to more busts/underwhelming players drafted in the lottery and a lot of late round steals with some potential awesome undrafted free agents that didn’t get their 15 seconds of fame in the tournament.

Next. Wolves Mailbag: What will this summer look like?. dark

Thankfully, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas has shown a superior talent for finding contributors in that area.  Hopefully they find the right guys regardless of where the find them.