Grading the NBA Fantasy League’s Minnesota Timberwolves GM

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 07: Cassius Stanley #2 of the Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 07: Cassius Stanley #2 of the Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jarrett Culver
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – NOVEMBER 20: Jarrett Culver #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Trade No. 1 – Jarrett Culver packs his bags, heads to New York City

The Knicks have had a rough time making trades over the last five years and, thankfully for Wolves fans, did nothing to change that in their dealings with Minnesota here.

What a heist for Tedoe and the Wolves.

Here, Minnesota gets the No. 2 pick, which solidifies an opportunity to draft a franchise cornerstone player that can make an immediate impact on the floor at Target Center alongside All-Star talents Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

With Anthony Edwards gone as the presumed No. 1 pick, Barflaan gave himself the opportunity to draft one of three excellent fits that he should consider with the second pick.

The first of these three is Onyeka Okongwu, who had a highly impactful freshman campaign at USC. He averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game while registering a 64.5 percent true shooting percentage, a mind-bogglingly high defensive box plus-minus of 8.0, and a Net Rating of 29.5. The final three metrics all topped a competitive Pac-12 this year.

Okongwu was a force to be reckoned with in the paint for Andy Enfield’s Trojans squad.

He ranked in the 94th percentile on points per possession (PPP) when he posted up, the 90th percentile on offensive rebounding and putbacks (he is an excellent second leaper), and the 78th percentile as the roll man in the pick-and-roll. While he can’t shoot threes, bringing in a guy with Okongwu’s defensive dominance and offensive energy would be an excellent complement to Towns, and a major shot in the arm for the Timberwolves.

LaMelo Ball is another prospect that should warrant strong consideration from Tedoe in the draft. He has incredible primary playmaking skills as a combo guard, a really fun bag of tricks with the ball in his hands, excellent range on the 3-ball, and an NBA-ready body that will allow him to battle from day one in the NBA.

While his time down under in the NBL didn’t exactly blow anyone away, he flashed all the skills that have made him a coveted prospect throughout the pre-draft process.

The third prospect is French point guard Killian Hayes. The 6-foot-5 phenom ran the show for Ratiopharm Ulm in the Eurocup, averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game on 45.5/39.0/90.9 shooting splits. Hayes is a lefty who possesses incredible passing accuracy, touch, and flair in the half-court, but especially in pick and roll with pocket passes, over the top lobs to slipping bigs, and cross-court lasers to the corners for open threes.

With a quickly-evolving arsenal of dribble combos and shots off the bounce, plus an excellent spot-up jumper, he could very easily run a second unit on offense, or play alongside incumbent backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin.

Additionally, they secure a solid second-round pick at #38, which allows them to get a player they can send to Iowa and develop under the tutelage of the Iowa Wolves development staff. In a draft full of potential role players that draft experts are all over the place on, Tedoe could end up drafting a player who turns into a steal three or four years down the line.

The final inbound asset Wolves take on is a flip-able contract in Julius Randle as the cost of doing business for getting off Culver and acquiring the #2 pick. While Randle is intriguing as a rebounder, screen-setter, and cutter, he does not play well on the perimeter, is very inefficient for a post-centric 4, and does not bring much value to a team who needs an athletic 4 that can space the floor and defend multiple positions.

The only real plus out of this deal for the Knicks is Jarrett Culver, but only if he fixes a very, very questionable jump shot. If it never materializes, this trade quickly becomes a disaster for them. However, moving off Julius Randle’s contract in exchange for an expiring James Johnson (who will be a free agent in 2021) could soften the blow of the trade blowing up in the organization’s face.