The Minnesota Timberwolves hold three selections, including two first-rounders, in the upcoming NBA Draft. Here's where they would land if the season ended today.
The old "if-the-season-ended-today" exercise is somewhat tired and usually a stretch. But not anymore.
While we don't have any indication that the current NBA season is actually over -- and we sure hope it isn't -- there is a non-zero chance that the Minnesota Timberwolves have played their final game in the 2019-20 campaign.
If that's the case, then it's about time we take a step back and look at where their picks would fall in the NBA Draft.
Remember, the Wolves not only have their own draft pick, but they also hold the Brooklyn Nets' first-round selection, as long as the Nets don't miss the playoffs. The pick was acquired from the Atlanta Hawks as part of the massive four-teamer that also included the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets and sent Clint Capela to the Hawks, Robert Covington to the Rockets, and Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez to the Wolves, among other players.
If the season were to end today, the Wolves' own pick would be tied for the best odds at the No. 1 overall pick and be slotted third overall in the lottery.
The Nets pick is currently slotted at No. 16. Brooklyn has a half-game lead on the Orlando Magic for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. If the season were to resume and the Nets were caught by the Magic, the Wolves' selection would move up to No. 15.
if the Nets were to fall out of the playoff picture altogether, however, then the pick would not convey to the Wolves this season. That would be true through 2022, although next year's edition of Brooklyn with a healthy Kevin Durant and a healthy Kyrie Irving isn't likely to miss the playoffs.
On the one hand, it would be better for the Wolves if the Nets missed the playoffs and the pick didn't come over until next year. The 2021 draft class is supposed to be much better than this year's, and the Wolves already traded their own 2021 pick to Golden State as part of the Andrew Wiggins-D'Angelo Russell deal.
On the other hand, the Wolves now have two picks likely to fall in the top 16 this year, and they can potentially package them together as part of a trade or attach a pick to a player to make a move as well.
Additionally, the Wolves would currently slot in at the No. 33 overall pick as well, the third pick of the second round. With three of the first 33 picks in the draft, the Wolves will be in position to make some noise when the draft finally does happen.
Even if games pick back up, the Wolves aren't likely to move much out of the top three picks in either round. The main question is where the Nets end up, and if Wolves fans want to get back into the 2021 draft, then they need to root for a Brooklyn free-fall.