By inverting Timberwolves 22nd and 26th picks, Connelly’s draft shines

(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the 2022 NBA Draft with four picks and emerged from the 2022 NBA Draft with four players. However, the order of those selections has been a bit… unraveling for some members of the Timberwolves fan base.

The problem that seems to be a recurring theme is not about who was taken, but in which order the players were selected. After all the dust settles, the team emerged from the 2022 NBA Draft with Auburn center Walker Kessler, Duke shooting guard/small forward Wendell Moore, Memphis small forward/power forward Josh Minott (a two-way contract candidate), and Euroleague point guard Matteo Spagnolo (a draft and stash candidate for one or two more seasons).

For the entire draft activity, this list details all of the picks touched by the Minnesota Timberwolves at one point during the draft.

Pick 19 – Traded to the Memphis Grizzlies (plus future 2nd) for picks 22 and 29
Pick 22 – (from Grizzlies) Selected Auburn C Walker Kessler
Pick 26 – Acquired from Houston Rockets (via Dallas) – Selected Duke SG/SF Wendell Moore
Pick 29 – (From Grizzlies) Traded to the Houston Rockets (plus future 2nd)
Pick 40 – Traded to Charlotte Hornets
Pick 45 – (From Hornets plus 2023 2nd from NYK) – Selected Memphis F Josh Minott
Pick 48 – Traded to Indiana Pacers for 2026 2nd rounder plus cash
Pick 50 – Selected Euroleague PG Matteo Spagnolo

Let’s be clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted two rookies who could prove to be significant players for the team. But the Timberwolves have graduated from rebuilding the roster to restocking the roster. That means that both Walker Kessler and Wendell Moore may have bright futures ahead, but will not be pulling huge amounts of playing minutes this year. That’s to be expected when drafting players late in the first:

Moore was a deliberate addition. He has a history of playing on the same basketball court as Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. That is a huge jumpstart to getting Wendell Moore into the rotation this year.

I love to get the reactions of family and players when their name is called out, and the reactions of Wendell Moore’s family and friends are priceless.

But I have to say, I am completely in the minority with loving what the Timberwolves did at 22. Auburn center Walker Kessler is just what the Timberwolves were looking for as well, and he is going to be a huge addition to the rotation.

While neither player will deliver out of the gates, I can see both players working on improving their minutes and performance over the course of the season.

I recommend not judging the draft by individual players selected, or when they were chosen. The Minnesota Timberwolves had goals to accomplish, and the first blush appears that the team hit the bullseye. If you are unhappy with the team choosing Walker Kessler at 22, invert the picks and pretend that Wendell Moore was chosen at 22.

The Timberwolves’ new season is off and running. I, for one, am very encouraged by what they’ve done so far.

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