The Minnesota Timberwolves and the history of the next pick, Part Two

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors defends against Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors defends against Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Welcome to Part Two of the series examining the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ draft history in light of the selections made immediately after the Wolves’ picks.

Throughout franchise history, the Wolves have had an inordinate amount of misfortune regarding the players picked one after Minnesota. For the entire explanation and criteria, check out Part One.

When it comes to 2000 through 2010, the Wolves had a lot fewer picks due to the Joe Smith Scandal stripping the Timberwolves of first-round picks in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. With the picks the Wolves did retain, however, they didn’t exactly have success.

Let’s jump into it.

2002 NBA Draft: Wolves pick Marcus Taylor over Rasual Butler

With the No. 52 pick, the only one the Timberwolves had, they selected guard Marcus Taylor. He never made the roster.

With the No. 53 pick, the Heat selected Rasual Butler. He played for 13 seasons and appeared in 809 games, averaging 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Butler’s best season brought averages of 11.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.

No, Butler was not a star by any means, but he was a solid player who would have helped a team that was trying to field a competitive roster without many first-round picks.

2003 NBA Draft: Wolves take Ndudi Ebi, Memphis gets Kendrick Perkins

The league decided to give the Timberwolves their 2003 first-rounder back, but they didn’t have much luck with it. Minnesota took high-schooler Ndudi Ebi with the No. 26 pick, and he appeared in only 19 total NBA games for the Wolves and the Dallas Mavericks.

The following pick belonged to the Grizzlies, who took center Kendrick Perkins. He had a 14-year career and appeared in 782 games, averaging 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game. Perkins’ best season was 10.1 points 7.6 rebounds 1.7 blocks 1.0 assists per game, and he was a major part of the Celtics’ championship squad in 2008.

2008 NBA Draft: Wolves select OJ Mayo, Sonics get Russell Westbrook

With the third pick in the draft, the Timberwolves selected shooting guard OJ Mayo, who they traded for Kevin Love. Mayo made the All-Rookie team and averaged 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in his first season. But his numbers declined as his career went on. Over eight seasons, Mayo appeared in 547 games, averaging 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.

The Seattle SuperSonics picked No. 4, and they took guard Russell Westbrook. He has played in 13 seasons so far, appearing in 923 games. Westbrook is averaging 23.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game for his career. He made the All-Rookie team, has won an MVP, been selected to nine All-Star games, two All-NBA First Teams, five All-NBA Second Teams, two All-NBA Third Teams, has led the league in points and assists twice.

The selections worked out for the Wolves, as Mayo was traded for Love on the night of the draft.

Next, the Timberwolves had the No. 34 pick. They selected point guard Mario Chalmers, who was immediately sent to Miami and made the All-Rookie First team with the Heat. Chalmers had a nine-year career and appeared in 646 games, averaging 8.9 points, 3.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.

But, with the next pick, the Clippers selected center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan has played in 12 seasons and has appeared in 921 career games to this point. For his career, he is averaging 9.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. Jordan is a one-time All-Star, one-time All-NBA First Team member, two-time All-NBA Third Team member, two-time All-Defensive First Team, and twice led the league in rebounds.

2009 NBA Draft: Wolves pick Jonny Flynn over Steph Curry

With the No. 6 pick, the Timberwolves selected dynamic guard Jonny Flynn out of Syracuse.  He was a three-year player in the NBA, appearing in 163 games and averaging 9.2 points, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 rebounds per game. Flynn made the All-Rookie Second Team, and his best season featured averages of 13.5 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game.

Of course, with the No. 7 pick, the one that will haunt Wolves fans forever, the Golden State Warriors selected Stephen Curry. Curry has played in 12 seasons and has appeared in 744 games. He is averaging 23.9 points, 6.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.

Curry made the All-Rookie First Team, won MVP twice, has been named an All-Star seven times, was selected to the All-NBA First Team three times, the All-NBA Second Team twice, the All-NBA Third Team once, has led the league in scoring and steals once apiece, is part of the 50-40-90 club (field goal, 3-point, and free throw shooting percentages).

That was not the end of the Wolves’ woes in 2009, as the Timberwolves selected and then traded point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson played for nine seasons and appeared in 551 games, averaging 12.7 points, 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. Lawson’s best season was a mark of 17.6 points, 8.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in 2013-14.

But, with the next pick, the Hawks selected Jeff Teague, who has played for 12 seasons and has appeared in 810 games so far. Teague is averaging 12.3 points, 5.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. He is a one-time All-Star, putting up 16.5 points, 6.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game in his best campaign. With just the accolade and years separating these two, they are very similar. But, Teague made an All-Star team and is currently still playing, while Lawson last played in the NBA in 2017.

In the second round, the Timberwolves selected and traded Nick Calathes. He played for two seasons and appeared in 129 games, averaging 4.6 points, 2.7 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and a steal per game.

With the next pick, Cleveland selected Danny Green, who has played in 12 seasons and has appeared in 740 games. He’s still playing, of course, and for his career has averaged 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Green has made the NBA All-Defense Second Team and has been part of three different championship teams.

2010 NBA Draft: Wolves pick Wesley Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins

The Wolves once again picked near the top of the draft and selected Wesley Johnson with the fourth pick. Johnson had a nine-year career and appeared in 609 games, averaging 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Johnson made the NBA All-Rookie second team, and wore a jersey that I begged for but didn’t get — I guess parents really do know best.

Making matters worse, with the No. 5 pick, the Kings selected big man DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has played for 10 years and has appeared in 592 games. He is averaging 20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game in his career thus far.

Cousins has made the All-Star game four times, the All-NBA Second Team twice, and was on the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Cousins’ best season saw him put up averages of 27.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game.

It’s easy to forget how dominant he was before his injury issues. Currently, he’s attempting to bounce back with the Clippers.

Recapping the Minnesota Timberwolves’ drafts of the 2000s

Over these 11 seasons, the Timberwolves made five selections that had better careers than the next player: Loren Woods in 2001, Corey Brewer in 2007, Nikola Pekovic in 2008,  Wayne Ellington in 2009, and Nemanja Bjelica in 2010.

Still, they made eight selections where the next player had a better career.

The Wolves had two selections that could be considered even, picking Luke Babbit and Trevor Booker in 2010, and 12 selections that neither player had a successful career. All but two of those 12 came in the second round.

Two selections did not fit the criteria, being that Minnesota had consecutive picks: Craig Smith in 2006 and Ricky  Rubio in 2009.

During this stretch, the Timberwolves also managed to complete a terrible draft-day trade, sending Brandon Roy to the Blazers on draft night in 2008 in exchange for Randy Foye. This selection did not fit the criteria either.

3 Wolves players with the most to play for. dark. Next

We’ll wrap up the series with Part Three. Stay tuned.