ESPN’s Mike Schmitz compiled a list of five rookies from around the NBA who are most likely to outperform their draft slot. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro, who was selected No. 23 in the 2020 draft, made the cut.
Let’s take a look at some of the high points of Schmitz’s analysis on Bolmaro and his fit with the Wolves.
Minnesota Timberwolves’ Leandro Bolmaro is a potential ‘outperformer’
Schmitz’s article, which is only viewable for subscribers to ESPN+, references a quartet of somewhat surprising rookies from the 2020-21 campaign. This includes late first-round picks such as the Detroit Pistons’ Saddiq Bey (No. 19 pick), the New York Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley (No. 25), and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane (No. 30).
The Wolves, of course, had three selections in the 2020 NBA Draft: Anthony Edwards at N. 1 overall, Bolmaro at No. 23, and Jaden McDaniels at No. 28. (By the way, it’s not hard to argue that McDaniels should have been included on Schmitz’s list from last year.)
While Bolmaro was picked in 2020, he will be a rookie this year once he officially signs his NBA contract, which could come any day now.
Schmitz notes that he had ranked Bolmaro as a “fringe top-10 prospect” in last year’s class — remember, the Wolves were able to land him at No. 23. He touts Bolmaro’s defensive energy and offensive playmaking, which are two traits that the Wolves’ roster has largely lacked in recent memory.
It’s also important to point out that during last year’s Euroleague campaign, Bolmaro improved what had been a shaky jump shot in previous seasons, draining 44 percent of his long-range attempts.
Schmitz’s overall thought is that Bolmaro is an eventual starter at the NBA level, impacting the game on both ends of the floor.
As of now, it’s tough to see where, exactly, Bolmaro cracks the Wolves’ rotation, but it may not be long before he could eat into some of Josh Okogie’s bench minutes. If Bolmaro can prove to be a solid point-of-attack defender in the NBA, then he’ll add additional size and offensive ability to a bench unit that will otherwise rely heavily on Patrick Beverley and, if he isn’t starting, Jaden McDaniels, to be the straws that stir the drink more often than not.
Stay tuned for when Bolmaro officially signs and is introduced to fans, as it could come at any point in time. Even if the Wolves gradually ease him into game action this year, we could have a chance to see him suit up for the Iowa Wolves of the G League and be in the rotation by mid-season.