Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Rewind: Profiling Towns and Russell

Karl-Anthony Towns poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, D'Angelo Russell
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 25: D’Angelo Russell poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted second overall. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Part three of our draft look-back series is all about the two stars on the Minnesota Timberwolves and what the experts said at the time of their draft.

While we don’t yet have a new date for the 2020 NBA Draft, it still feels like a good time to take a look at how current Minnesota Timberwolves were viewed heading into their drafts.

The first part of this series took a look at the talent of the young Wolves. Part two featured Minnesota’s role players. Now, we’ll look at the stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, and how they were viewed heading into the 2015 NBA Draft.

The goal is to see what draft analysts were saying when our Timberwolves players were entering the NBA and how their careers look in contrast to their NBA comps. Make sure to check out part one to get a full explanation of the exercise.

All draft information was once again taken from nbadraft.net with all stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the two picks from the 2015 NBA Draft picks and current Minnesota Timberwolves star players.

D’Angelo Russell

Drafted:  2015, No. 2 Overall

NBA Comparison: Penny Hardaway/Brandon Roy

NBA Outlook Analysis

Heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell had a rare combination of quickness, length, and passing ability. The Ohio State freshman was nearly impossible to keep out of the paint and had the creativity and smarts to score in a multitude of ways or find an open teammate once he was in the lane.

His size for a point guard paired with his body and ball control allowed him to create space for himself when there appears to be none.

To go with his scoring, Russell is one of the best passers in the draft, a terrific floor general with feel for the game and great vision. D-Lo has always been confident and battles hard, but most of his work needs to take on the defensive side of the ball. He is not a top-notch athlete, so it was clear that he would always be a bit handicapped trying to defend the top point guards in the NBA.

Offensively, Russell had room to improve in regards to finishing at the rim, especially in transition, and bringing a change of speed.

D-Lo was seen as a top-notch offensive point guard who had the opportunity to be a game-changer in the NBA. He still has a lot to learn defensively, but he doesn’t back down to anyone and can use his length to make a difference on this side of the ball.

Overall, his skillset and size made him a lock to be a top-5 pick in the 2015 draft class, which is exactly what happened.