Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 NBA Draft Big Board 1.0

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans acknowledges the crowd after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 57-48 at Galen Center on February 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans acknowledges the crowd after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 57-48 at Galen Center on February 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /

1. LaMelo Ball, Guard, USA

LaMelo Ball is a pass-first lengthy point guard that has an extremely high floor. While his defensive awareness and shot selection can improve, he has the frame and shooting ability to hone in on both of those skills.

Being a six-foot-eight point guard is nothing to just gloss over, and Ball could literally be one of the best passers in the game as a rookie. That is, perhaps, one of the most translatable skills. You know that in drafting him, you are, at worst, getting someone that can run an offense.

Ball would be an interesting fit next to D’Angelo Russell and, for the most part, would allow him to focus mostly on scoring. Having two players in the backcourt that can both score and playmake would be an exciting combination, especially with 6-foot-6-plus size for each player.

2. Killian Hayes, Guard, France

While Killian Hayes has been somewhat underrated by NBA scouts in general, he brings a very fluid, smart, and complementary skill set to the table. He has great defense, can finish at the rim, and is an excellent facilitator.

This past year, while Hayes wasn’t the best shooter, he showed significant improvement: spiking beyond the arc from a sub-30% shooter to someone that averaged 40-percent-plus in the EuroCup this past season.

Hayes is another big point guard that would fit well with D’Angelo Russell. While he favors his left hand and needs to improve his range even more, he could be a smart, pass-first guard that, like LaMelo Ball, would further unlock Russell’s scoring ability.

3. Onyeka Okongwu, Big, Southern California

Onyeka Okongwu is a defense-first big with lots of upside as a two-way player. He can create for himself in the post, is mobile enough to have a (limited) perimeter role offensively, can switch onto almost anyone from three to five, and is an elite rim protector.

For bigs, a top draft choice has to be someone whose skill set cannot be replicated. Okongwu’s certainly cannot. He is an excellent defender with upside as a stretch big. He would be a perfect fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns from a defensive perspective and would almost certainly improve the overall floor of the defense that the Timberwolves could put on the floor. Not only this, but he also fits with a variety of players expected to be back on the Timberwolves’ roster this coming season (James Johnson, Juan Hernangomez).

4. Tyrese Haliburton, Guard, Iowa State

Tyrese Haliburton is another player that, from a team-building perspective, fits what the Timberwolves want to do. He is a smart, pass-first player (there seems to be a common theme among guards in the top-4) that can shoot and defend multiple positions. While he can struggle to beat players off of the dribble, Haliburton did show enough separation ability to be a consistent offensive player.

Haliburton fits exactly what the Timberwolves need in a backcourt-mate with Russell. He is, again, a player that can help take much of the facilitation along with providing switchable defense. While he may not ever be a star, it is hard to imagine Haliburton is not a longtime NBA player.

5. Anthony Edwards, Guard/Wing, Georgia

Anthony Edwards is a score-first guard with tons of athleticism and finishing ability. He is, by definition, a volume scorer through and through. He has incredible contact balance and should be a good three-level scorer. I have the utmost confidence in him being able to score at the next level.

That said, there are some concerns about if he will be able to affect winning at the NBA level. Edwards was largely a good-stats-bad-team guy at Georgia and when he was not locked in, just was not a good player. There were some stretches where he was nonexistent. Additionally, he is not the greatest fit on the Timberwolves. Edwards is slightly undersized for a two-guard and does not bring much defensively or in the passing game to a Russell-led backcourt.