The Minnesota Timberwolves currently sit at No. 9 in the Western Conference with a record of 16-18. While the Wolves are seemingly on a trajectory towards a fringe playoff season, which would theoretically land them a mid-first-round pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
Let’s take a look at a few potential draft options.
Minnesota Timberwolves: An early look at the 2022 NBA Draft
It’s admittedly a definite possibility that the Wolves trade their first-round pick at this year’s trade deadline.
The Wolves have a handful of young assets and expiring contracts that teams will certainly be interested in, and it’s entirely plausible that the Wolves could use their first-round pick to acquire an established player like Myles Turner or Ben Simmons.
However, assuming the Wolves end up keeping their first-round pick, let’s take a look at some early mock drafts on the internet to see what may be available in the mid-first round in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Timberwolves select Patrick Baldwin | SF/PF | WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE
NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft has the Timberwolves selecting Patrick Baldwin, a combo forward out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Baldwin has averaged 15 points and seven rebounds through seven games this year as a freshman and has plenty of room to grow as a player. At 6-foot-9 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, it’s easy to envision Baldwin growing into the 4 spot, and frontcourt help is something the Wolves need badly.
With the ability to stretch the floor as a shooter while also using his size inside, Baldwin would have no problem finding a role in the Wolves rotation. He isn’t a shot creator, but Baldwin has been praised by scouts for his ability to play off the ball, which is a very valuable asset when ball-dominant players like D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns share the floor.
Baldwin makes a lot of sense for the Wolves depending on where they could get him.
Timberwolves select JD Davidson | PG | ALABAMA
Bleacher Report’s latest mock draft has the Timberwolves selecting JD Davidson, a point guard from Alabama.
Davidson’s 6-foot-3 size is a great advantage as a point guard. He is mostly known for his elite athleticism and playmaking potential. Through 13 games, Davidson has averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 assists, including seven assists per 40 minutes.
Davidson’s height and athleticism give him the ability to make plays above the rim. His explosiveness would be a nice asset to the Wolves backcourt, especially as a point guard. Given the uncertainty of the futures of Patrick Beverley and Jordan McLaughlin at this time, adding an explosive, playmaking backup point guard would be a strong addition to the Wolves’ second unit.
Davidson needs to improve his shooting, but he is only a freshman with plenty of room for growth. An explosive point guard like Davidson would be a nice pickup for the Wolves, though their need for size would bring into question why the Wolves would use a first-round pick on a backup point guard.
Timberwolves select Keegan Murray | PF/SF | IOWA
NbaDraftRoom.com’s latest mock draft has the Timberwolves selecting Keegan Murray, a combo forward out of Iowa.
Murray stands at 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and is an extremely versatile player. Through 12 games this season, Murray has averaged 23.7 points on 58.7 percent shooting from the field, suggesting that Murray can be an extremely efficient player.
Another forward who plays well off the ball, Murray doesn’t need to be high usage to be effective, which would make him another great fit alongside the Wolves’ big three. Murray is also a versatile defender who rebounds hard, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game this season.
Murray checks a lot of boxes for the power forward position for the Wolves: he’s low usage, high efficiency, strong rebounder, and a versatile defender. Murray would be a home run for the Wolves to get in the mid-first round.
Though the draft isn’t until June, it’s important for the Timberwolves to evaluate what kind of talent will be available, especially when considering whether or not to trade their 2022 first-round pick. If the Wolves hang onto their pick, this should be a relatively attractive draft in which to make a selection.