The Minnesota Timberwolves should trade their 1st Round Pick

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing a frustrating first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Minnesota Timberwolves will have the 19th pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft.  And with that pick, the team will have plenty of options open to them. Use that pick? Trade that pick? If the team trades the pick, should it be to trade up? Trade back? Trade back to 2023? Or trade the pick(s) for a player?

While the 2021-22 season should be looked at as a general success for the Wolves, the end of the season brought up some glaring needs for this team to improve going forward.

First and foremost, these Minnesota Timberwolves need a true backup center. The roster has a general need for size, but the Wolves’ inability to consistently rebound was utterly exploited in the playoffs. Current backup center Naz Reid, who undoubtedly has shown upside, is simply not an answer as a backup center.

His rebounding and defensive weaknesses make him difficult to play at the 5 in crucial parts of a game, especially when Karl-Anthony Towns finds himself in foul trouble. Reid is likely better suited as a small-ball 5 or a hybrid 4 rather than a true center. The Wolves need an established center that can rebound and defend, especially when KAT is off the floor.

Aside from their biggest need, the Wolves need what every team needs: shooting, playmaking, defending.

Guard against a guard-heavy draft

Though new POBO Tim Connelly has a track record of finding gems later in the draft, finding a meaningful rotation player at 19 will be difficult for the Wolves. After the top five selections, this draft gets guard-heavy pretty quickly, so there will be few options for the Wolves to upgrade their interior with size and rebounding. On top of that, the last thing the Timberwolves’ front office would want is a first-round salary for a non-contributor eating away at their cap sheet (à la Josh Okogie).

The current roster has needs, but the current Wolves rotation will be tough for any rookie available late in the first round to crack. With that said, the Wolves should trade their first-round pick in a package for a more immediate contributor.

This isn’t to suggest the Wolves should go into ‘win-now’ mode. The Wolves are still a step or two away from being true contenders, with one of those steps being an improvement in rebounding and interior defense. Unless Mark Williams (Center – Duke) is available at 19, this need will be pretty tough to fill in the draft.

The roster needs immediate improvements after a first-round playoff exit because the Western Conference will be better next season with the presumable improvements of teams like the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and New Orleans Pelicans. Making the playoffs this season was a success, but the Wolves cannot afford to be complacent this offseason. Packaging their 19th overall pick in a trade this season makes a ton of sense for the Timberwolves.

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