The Minnesota Timberwolves have three draft picks in 2020. Elijah Hughes, a quick wing with two-way abilities, may be on their radar in the second round.
There are three traits that almost always translate well to the NBA: passing, shooting, and defense. Elijah Hughes has two of those traits. As a 6-foot-6 wing with lots of length, Hughes was a first-team All-ACC selection this past year after averaging 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists along with a steal and block per game.
Hughes was one of the most consistent players in the country this past season. There were only two games in which he had less than ten points: one was the final game of the regular season and the other was due to an injury. Hughes played all 40 minutes in 16 games of his final year at Syracuse.
That consistency is exactly what most teams are looking for, especially when they have Hughes’ two-way ability.
Despite playing in a zone scheme in college, Hughes was always aware and made a habit of being opportunistic when it came to forcing turnovers. He had great timing and was great at recovering when he did make mistakes. Hughes’ athleticism allows him to make plays all over the floor.
As far as his shot, Hughes has smooth form and a high release point. He wasn’t incredible from long-distance his final year at Syracuse but his volume and FT-percentage indicate he is both confident in his shot and that it will continue to progress as he goes to the NBA level.
Hughes does come with his flaws, though. His shot selection could be spotty at times, he often took bad looks in the midrange. Syracuse’s defense, being a zone, also may cover up possible weaknesses in his game — we simply have not seen Hughes switch or play in a man scheme in general.
Fit with the Timberwolves
Elijah Hughes would be a solid flier for the Timberwolves to take in the second round. He has a high floor and almost certainly will not be a complete bust in the NBA (unless his shooting simply does not come around).
The Timberwolves could use 3-and-D players, and Hughes could become one with time. He isn’t a perfect prospect by any means, but if the Timberwolves want spacing and defensive upside, he could be one of the better picks, especially from the wing position.
Hughes could play next to D’Angelo Russell and would also compliment Josh Okogie’s offensive woes as well. He is a complimentary basketball player and, in the second round, that is all you can really ask for.
The goal for any draft pick is for them to be as good as possible. Hughes is exactly the type of player that usually hits in the second round (overall plus on both sides of the ball with shooting upside).
Surrounding Karl-Anthony Towns with two-way players that can stretch the floor is the end goal. If you can find a player that can play legitimate playoff minutes at the next level (maybe not as a rookie), that player is well worth the pick — and Hughes might be that.