The best players the Minnesota Timberwolves passed on in the NBA Draft

Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA Draft (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA Draft (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves,
Minnesota Timberwolves, /

Players Minnesota Timberwolves passed on in NBA Draft: Tim Hardaway

Pick Analysis. player. 86. Pooh Richardson. 10. Scouting Report. Guard. UCLA

41. Pick Analysis. Texas-El Paso. Tim Hardaway. player. 14. Scouting Report. Guard

Tim Hardaway, Guard, 1989 NBA Draft

This one shouldn’t hurt Wolves fans as much, but this was a missed opportunity for a young NBA franchise like the Timberwolves to add a true All-Star to their team.

Tim Hardaway had a borderline Hall-of-Fame career, averaging 17.7 points and 8.2 assists over the entirety of his 15 years in the league.

Hardaway was an immediate impact player for the Warriors, averaging 14.7 points in his rookie season for a mediocre team. From there, Hardaway was an All-Star for the next three seasons for Golden State, leading his team to the conference semis in 1991. Hardaway would go on to make five All-Star appearances for both the Warriors and Heat.

Instead of drafting Hardaway, the Timberwolves selected Pooh Richardson out of UCLA. Richardson was by no means the caliber of player that Hardaway was, but he wasn’t a bad player either. Richardson was a staple for the Wolves for three years after being drafted. Though he was a part of three bad Wolves teams, he managed to start all 82 games each of his last three seasons in Minnesota, averaging 17.1 points and 9.0 assists in his 1990-91 campaign.

Richardson’s best years of his career were with the Wolves, as his scoring and assist numbers sharply deteriorated once he departed Minneapolis. Overall, Richardson was a nice player but did not have Hall-of-Fame star power that Hardaway had.

The Richardson pick was not as much of an era-definer as the 2009 picks were for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In other words, it is unfair to assume that Tim Hardaway would have been able to make Richardson’s bad Wolves teams perform much better. However, Hardaway led a quick turnaround in Golden State, going from a lottery team to a consistent playoff contender in a matter of one year, which does leave Wolves fans with a few ‘what-ifs’ regarding the possibility of Tim Hardaway playing in Minnesota.