Minnesota Timberwolves passed on Jamal Murray in 2016 NBA Draft

The Minnesota Timberwolves are not the first team to make a draft mistake. However, they made a pretty big one in 2016.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were in search of a guard during the offseason of 2016. While, at the time, the draft was considered a two-player draft with the rest of the class all being viewed as somewhat equal in terms of talent, the Timberwolves selected Kris Dunn with the fifth overall selection.

Dunn was a four-year college player for Providence, and averaged 16 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals over the course of his senior season. Dunn was a consensus All-American in 2015-16, a multiple time defensive player of the year for the Big East, and had very exciting shooting splits of 45/37/70.

The Timberwolves taking Dunn was somewhat unexpected given the team passed on Jamal Murray, who was widely mocked to Minnesota. As a rookie, Dunn only averaged three points, two assists, and one steal per game (while also averaging one turnover and two fouls). He would be traded to Chicago after just one season in a package that netted the team Jimmy Butler.

The Minnesota Timberwolves passed on Jamal Murray with the fifth overall pick, and Murray, who was taken just two selections later, has averaged 19 points, four rebounds, and five assists for the third-seeded Nuggets this year. Murray has also been incredibly efficient, with splits of 46/35/88.

Things get worse when playoff numbers are taken into account, though. Murray is averaging 29 points, five rebounds, and six assists through nine playoff games in 2020 thus far. He willed his team to multiple wins against the Utah Jazz in the first round and led his team in both points and assists in a game two win against the Clippers on Saturday night.

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Typically, it is difficult to fault front offices for making big mistakes in the draft but selecting Dunn over Murray (despite Dunn eventually being a part of a Butler trade) was an undeniably bad mistake. The Timberwolves could have had an additional star, one that would be a perfect complement next to franchise center Karl-Anthony Towns.