Minnesota Timberwolves Draft: Onyeka Okongwu or Devin Vassell?

Devin Vassell of the Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Devin Vassell of the Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves Draft: Onyeka Okongwu or Devin Vassell?

Minnesota Timberwolves, Devin Vassell
Devin Vassell of the the Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

Overall Fit

For Okongwu, the fit is awkward.

With Juancho Hernangomez, James Johnson and Naz Reid expected to contribute in the frontcourt next year, Okongwu would be the only non-shooter. We’ve seen Ryan Saunders use the likes of Noah Vonleh and Jordan Bell in spot minutes, but it would be interesting to see how Okongwu is utilized with starter minutes.

The defensive side is easier to project. Okongwu could slide in as a defensive leader at the power forward spot and backup center to Towns, likely pushing Naz Reid down the depth chart.

Vassell would be added to the Wolves’ growing stable of young wings. He’d be an immediate contributor, and probably the most likely of the Culver-Okogie-Vassell trio to become a true 3-and-D threat.

Advantage: Vassell

Even though Vassell might be a better offensive prospect and a better overall fit, the Wolves would still have a very tough decision on their hands.

Right now, Okongwu is a defensive archetype that’s valuable but easy to find around the NBA. Nerlens Noel and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are both free agents this year who could be a comparable defensive presence for a much lesser price.

The deciding factor would be whether or not Okongwu can hit his offensive ceiling, and that could happen in two different ways…

If Okongwu develops into a Bam Adebayo-type playmaker, which is unlikely but possible, he’s an all-star. If he becomes a league-average 3-point shooter in addition to some playmaking chops, he’s an all-star.

However, it’s so hard to bet on those types of developments coming. Okongwu seems to have a good mentality, but shooting success is a combination of mentality in addition to pure talent and a few more factors.

Vassell has a bit of upside as well, comes from a good program, has the physical tools, has a solid shooting stroke, and is a great defensive prospect. If Minnesota lands a pick outside the top four or five, he might be the best option.

Overall advantage: Vassell

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Stay tuned for another draft comparison…