Minnesota Timberwolves: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the NBA Draft Lottery

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, Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates after being drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the First Round of the 2015 NBA Draft. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a long and sordid history with the NBA Draft Lottery but are hoping it changes this year.

In the weirdest season in NBA history, the Minnesota Timberwolves are heading into familiar territory: the NBA Draft Lottery.

The lottery, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 20, will mark the 23rd time in 31 seasons that the Timberwolves have participated in the lottery.

The Wolves ended the COVID-19 shortened season with a dismal record of 19-45, the third-worst mark in the league. Because of changes to the lottery that were put in place before the 2019 draft, the Wolves are tied with the Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers for the best odds at winning the lottery (14 percent) and obtaining the first pick in the draft.

The good news is that the Wolves can’t fall any lower than the No. 7 pick in the draft.

Historically, Minnesota hasn’t had the best of luck in the lottery. In the 22 draft lotteries in which the Wolves have participated thus far, the Wolves have kept the same draft position 10 times when the ping-pong balls began to fly. Minnesota has ended the day with a worse draft position in the other 12 years.

Never have the Wolves improved their draft position through the lottery.

In 22 lotteries, the Wolves have only won the No. 1-overall pick in 2015. They’ve had the highest odds of picking first on three separate occasions in franchise history. The first time was 1992 when the Wolves went from first to third and missed out on the opportunity to draft Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning and had to settle for Christian Laettner at No. 3.

The next time came in 2011, when they missed out on Kyrie Irving, and ended up drafting Derrick Williams with the second pick. The third time was the charm for the Wolves in 2015, when they stayed pat at No. 1 and selected Karl-Anthony Towns first overall.

That’s amazingly bad luck for a team desperate for a franchise-changing draft pick this season. This season could be different though as there is no consensus No. 1 pick.

Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Killian Hayes, and several other high-level prospects are being talked about as potential top picks in 2020. If the Wolves don’t nab the first pick, there should still be some talented players ready to snatch later in the lottery.

The historical numbers don’t give fans a lot of confidence that lottery luck will change anytime soon, but the Wolves have hit some home-runs with a few lottery picks in the past.

Names like Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love (acquired via a draft-night trade) should give fans hope that, at least every once in a while, the Wolves don’t screw things up. Then again, other names like Felton Spencer, Corey Brewer, and Kris Dunn should make Wolves fans skeptical that things will improve this season.

Historically, the bad outweighs the good, but there are enough good years to keep fans interested year after year.

Lets now go through and break down some of the best, worst, and disastrous lottery years in Minnesota Timberwolves history.