NBA Draft Lottery: Minnesota Timberwolves lotto luck since 2015

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been lucky in the past with the NBA Draft lottery – and they will have to hope the balls once again fly in their favor this year – with their draft pick only being top-3 protected.

This year, in 2021, the Minnesota Timberwolves only have about a 27-percent chance of keeping their draft pick. It just is not very likely. That said, it would not be surprising to see Wolves general manager Gersson Rosas trade for a draft pick – especially with how he has gone about constructing the roster in the past.

2015 NBA Draft Lottery

Starting back in 2015, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a 25-percent chance of obtaining the first overall pick – and to reiterate, the NBA flattened the lottery odds in 2019 to disincentivize tanking.

Minnesota ended up keeping the pick (despite having a 75-percent chance of dropping to picks 2, 3, or 4). It worked out pretty well, as the Timberwolves ended up selected franchise cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns. The only other player that most considered to be a possibility (albeit not a very large possibility) was Jahlil Okafor.

And, well, let’s just be glad that did not happen.

2016 NBA Draft Lottery

In 2016, the Timberwolves were slightly better – led by their young core that consisted of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They had the 5th-best odds in the lottery, with about a 27-percent chance at obtaining a top-3 selection (same odds as this year, ironically).

They ended up staying put in the lottery with the fifth overall selection and would go on to select Providence guard Kris Dunn – who is now on his third NBA team. This pick didn’t quite work out – and the Timberwolves passed on current Nuggets guard Jamal Murray with this selection – even though he was widely predicted to go to Minnesota in many mock drafts.

2017 NBA Draft Lottery

Back in 2017, the Minnesota Timberwolves had the 6th-best odds to move up into the top-3, but ultimately would be picking 7th after the Kings jumped in front of them. Minnesota had about an 18-percent chance of moving within the top-3 picks, but ultimately wouldn’t.

The Timberwolves would go on to trade that pick in combination with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine for Jimmy Butler and the 16th pick in the 2017 Draft (Justin Patton), which netted them a single playoff series, of which they won a single game. Jimmy Butler would be traded soon thereafter during a very public outburst in practice (well, you know the story).

2019 NBA Draft Lottery

2019 was the first year that the NBA had flattened the lottery odds, making it easier for teams in the late lottery to jump up. They also changed the amount of picks at stake in the lottery from the top-3 to the top-4. Minnesota had about a 14-percent chance to jump into the top-4, but ended up dropping from the 10th pick to the 11th pick after the Lakers were awarded the fourth selection.

Being the first draft with Gersson Rosas at the helm, the Timberwolves would trade up to the 6th pick, giving up Dario Saric to the Suns in the process. Presumably, this was to select a point guard – but after Darius Garland was taken with the fifth pick, the Timberwolves pivoted to Jarrett Culver – who has struggled early in his career.

2020 NBA Draft Lottery

The Minnesota Timberwolves were tied with the Warriors and Cavaliers odds for the top selection. They would, in fact, end up with the first overall pick, followed by the Warriors, Hornets, and Bulls rounding out the top-4 picks.

The Timberwolves would end up picking Anthony Edwards with the top selection, and so far in his career, he has proven that he was worth the selection – although again, every rookie season should be taken with a grain of salt.

NBA Mock Draft 4.0. dark. Next

That brings us to this year, which the Timberwolves have a 27-percent chance of keeping their draft pick. It’s unlikely, but lightning has struck more than once for the Timberwolves. And if it strikes once again, the Timberwolves will have one of the best young cores in the league.