Minnesota Timberwolves: Will the Wolves draft the best player available?

NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Onyeka Okongwu
Potential Minnesota Timberwolves draft prospect Onyeka Okongwu. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves: Would the Wolves draft Onyeka Okongwu?

Onyeka Okongwu

Onyeka Okongwu is the best defensive big man in this draft. As it turns out, the Wolves need defense, and it doesn’t really matter at what position. Every spot needs upgrading on that end of the floor.

While he’s only 6-foot-9, Okongwu’s 7-foot-1 wingspan and adequate strength, combined with his intelligence and quickness, are enough to almost certainly make him a top six or seven pick in the draft.

Okongwu can score in the post and in the paint with either hand and should be a positive contributor on offense at the NBA level, but his style of play doesn’t exactly mesh with what president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and head coach Ryan Saunders want to do.

There is no real jump shot in Okongwu’s repertoire, and he won’t be a 3-point shooter anytime soon. That’s an issue when it comes to the Wolves’ desire to play sets with four or five players on the perimeter.

Okongwu could fit in the way that Taj Gibson did for two years in Minnesota: the defense would improve and it would probably work overall to some extent, but the offensive spacing would suffer. Okongwu would be a fine backup for Towns or a swing big man to use situationally, but that’s not typically what teams want to do with a top-six pick in the draft.

If yours truly were running the Wolves, I’d consider Okongwu if he fell into my lap and there wasn’t a trade-down opportunity of value. However, it seems unlikely that Rosas and Saunders would target him in this draft. Perhaps if the value is there, but Okongwu feels more like a Tom Thibodeau-era selection than a Rosas-era pick.

Maybe he’ll end up on the Knicks…