Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Corner: Power Forward Edition

Obi Toppin of the Dayton Flyers. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Obi Toppin of the Dayton Flyers. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Welcome back to another edition to the Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Corner. It’s time to look at the power forward position in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will have a remodeled roster by the start of the 2020 season, and the power forward position is definitely a position of interest to strengthen up their frontcourt.

After the trade deadline, most of the minutes at the 4 went to Hernangomez and James Johnson. While they both made the most of their minutes, there is plenty of improvement to be made at that position. That said, the Timberwolves are slotted to have a top lottery pick in this year’s draft and there is plenty of talent, whether it be in the lottery or with the Brooklyn Nets pick that they own that currently sits at No. 16.

Let’s dive into the power forward prospects and how they would impact the Wolves roster going forward.

Jaden McDaniels, Washington Huskies

NBA Comparison: Jonathon Isaac

Jaden McDaniels is a raw, 6-foot-9 forward out of Washington. Not a lot of people are talking about the freshman, but if the Timberwolves select a guard with their top pick, there could be great value in taking McDaniels with the No. 16 selection.

During his freshman year, he averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He also shot 40.5 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from deep. Out of high school, the 5-star recruit turned down Kentucky and took his talents to Washington. He was projected a top-10 pick before his freshman campaign at Washington.

McDaniels is 6-foot-9 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, which makes him a problem for opposing frontcourts on both sides of the ball.

The primary reason why some aren’t sold on McDaniels is because of his relative lack of production at Washington. However, if the Timberwolves pair Karl-Anthony Towns with McDaniels, the 19-year-old would grow. And don’t discount the help of veteran James Johnson, either.

Obi Toppin, Dayton Flyers

NBA Comparison: Shawn Marion

Toppin burst on to the scene this year, winning the Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year while leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record. He is arguably the best dunker in college basketball; Toppin finished the 2019-20 season with 83 dunks.

During his sophomore year, he posted a line of 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1 steal, and 1.2 blocks per game. He also shot an insane 63.3 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. Toppin has the ability to be an elite NBA player because of his size and all-around style of play.

Minnesota is in need of a power forward to pair with Towns for years to come. Toppin would also be able to match-up well against opposing 2s and 3s, which has been a problem for the Timberwolves in the past. While there are certainly defensive question marks, Toppin has the size and athleticism to grow into solid defense at the next level.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC Trojans

NBA Comparison: Bam Adebayo

Okungwu is a freshman from USC and is the best shot-blocker in the draft. He stands 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and while he’s more center than power forward, he could hold his own at both spots.

Okongwu’s current NBA comp is Bam Adebayo, and quite frankly because they have the same height and wingspan and both can play the 4 and the 5 with ease because of their athleticism and length.

During his freshman year at USC, he averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game all while shooting 61.6 percent from the field and 72 percent from the line. To help with some perspective on just how good of a shot-blocker Okongwu is, he averaged 5.1 blocks per 100 possessions at USC.

If the Wolves were to take Okongwu, he would most likely be in a starting role, playing the forward position alongside KAT. That said Okongwu would add some needed depth to the center position as well, and with his limited shooting range, that more closely suits his current offensive skillset.

Draft Corner: PF Edition

Toppin and Okungwu are the top two power forwards in this year’s draft, and both could add great value to the new-look Minnesota Timberwolves.

Toppin could bring his playmaking and athleticism to pair alongside Towns’ scoring ability and rebounding. On the flip side, Okongwu is the best interior defender in the draft. Both would strengthen the Wolves’ frontcourt for years to come.

Next. Timberwolves Mock Draft 1.0. dark

Look for the Minnesota Timberwolves to target the 4, whether it ends up being early in the lottery or later in the first round.