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) /
6 of 6
Minnesota Timberwolves,
Minnesota Timberwolves, /

Players Minnesota Timberwolves passed on in NBA Draft: DeMarcus Cousins

Syracuse. Wesley Johnson. player. Scouting Report. SG/SF. 86. Pick Analysis. 4

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Center. Kentucky. DeMarcus Cousins. 5. player. 84

DeMarcus Cousins, Center, 2014 NBA Draft

Prior to his injury struggles in recent years, DeMarcus Cousins was a premier NBA big.

Making four consecutive All-Star game appearances from 2015 to 2018, Cousins cemented himself as an undisputed star. During his time in Sacramento, Cousins carried several bad Sacramento teams, averaging as high as 27 points and 12.7 rebounds for the Kings.

Cousins carried his momentum to the New Orleans Pelicans in the middle in the 2016-17 season, averaging 25 points and 12.7 rebounds in two seasons alongside Anthony Davis. Cousins and Davis had Pelicans poised to make a serious run in the Western Conference until Cousins ruptured his Achilles in January 2018, which ended his season and ultimately ended his time in New Orleans.

Injuries aside, Cousins turned out to be a phenomenal player in the NBA. His physically dominant style of play set him apart from most centers in the NBA. However, at the time, the Wolves’ roster was littered with bigs, including Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, and Darko Milicic. Because of this, the Wolves decided to go a different route and draft Wesley Johnson, a wing out of Syracuse.

Simply put, Johnson never blossomed in the NBA. He put up decent numbers as a rookie in Minnesota, averaging nine points and two assists per game as a rotational player. However, despite starting all but one game in his sophomore campaign, he earned four fewer minutes per game and averaged just six points per contest.

He simply never earned the full trust of the coaching staff in Minnesota, and it ultimately led to his departure after only two seasons. Johnson would go on to stretch his NBA career to 10 years on five different teams, never averaging more than 10 points per game.

To be clear, it unfair to say that the Wolves should have chosen Cousins due to their existing frontcourt situation. Al Jefferson was playing at a near-All-Star level and Kevin Love’s development was accelerating rapidly.

However, it is certainly disappointing for Wolves fans to look back at a draft that saw both DeMarcus Cousins and Gordon Hayward come off the board less than 5 picks after Wesley Johnson.

More than anything, this article highlights the importance of the NBA Draft. One pick can drastically change a franchise, for better or for worse. Given their history, the Wolves certainly know what is at stake in this draft, and will do everything they can to make sure it’s not a miss.

Next. Wolves Draft Prospect Profile: LaMelo Ball. dark

The Wolves are officially on the clock!