From one of the best front office brain trust ensembles in the NBA to the admission of making ‘informed mistakes,’ the Minnesota Timberwolves are really broadcasting mixed signals as the team takes aim at the 2022 NBA Draft. Or, are they?
Even as the team regroups after a solid 2021-22 season in which the team played to a 46-36 record, and a playoff series where they, as the seventh-seed, pushed the second seed Memphis Grizzlies to a 2-2 tie before losing the series 4-2, the Minnesota Timberwolves are flirting with two different roster-building strategies. While either can build a championship roster, the timeline for the two options is much different.
The Timberwolves can restructure their roster in a more immediate fashion, by dealing for players in a fashion that creates a ‘win now’ roster. That strategy would require trades of younger players and draft picks, with an eye to building a roster of eight to nine key contributors who could handle the pressure of win-or-go-home NBA Playoff series. The downside? If unsuccessful, the team will regress quickly, and the next window of opportunity may be years down the road.
The alternative is to build through the draft. That strategy is a slower, more deliberate, method that allows corrective actions in the roster even as younger players develop. The downside of that strategy is the time required to build an NBA Championship roster is frequently too long, forcing teams to guess at the development of young players. And in the meantime, established veterans grow impatient and seek success elsewhere.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves front office staff now including Matt Lloyd, Sachin Gupta, and Tim Connelly, the NBA Draft seems like the most likely route for the Timberwolves to travel this year. And with four picks, the likelihood of finding one solid starter is pretty good. Two, while less likely, would be even better.
Matt Lloyd’s history:
What has Matt Lloyd done in the previous drafts?
2013: 1st – Victor Oladipo
2014: 4th – Aaron Gordon
2017: 6th – Johnathan Issac
2018: 6th – Mo Bamba
2019: 16th – Chuma Okeke
2020: 15th – Cole Anthony
2021: 5th – Jalen Suggs
2021: 8th – Franz Wagner
The Timberwolves have multiple picks, at 19, 40, 48, and 50
If the opportunity presents itself, the team could be willing to trade up in this draft. While the team could use a solid backup center, the team is not likely to find one readily in this draft. Most of the talent is believed to be in the backcourt, where the Timberwolves are in better shape.
Still, talent is talent. If the Timberwolves improve the talent on the overall roster, that simply increases their chances to win games in 2022. For now, it appears that the 2022 NBA Draft may be very important for the team.