Even as the Minnesota Timberwolves girded themselves for an all-too-important 2022 NBA Draft, the team has obvious stretch goals. There are plenty of gotta-dos on the plate of President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, and we’d taken some time to discuss the five-step plan for a perfect offseason for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While some steps are still pending, we can determinedly check one of the boxes for now.
Step two was pretty straightforward: Land two key prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Trading back with the Memphis Grizzlies to land two first-round picks was the turning point for the Timberwolves’ draft. Selecting Auburn center Walker Kessler with the 22nd overall pick was a solid get. But by trading back up to select Duke wing Wendell Moore at 26th was inspired.
The Minnesota Timberwolves would have struggled mightily to land a second key prospect if they had stayed put at 19, 40, 48, and 50. The only player who was still on the board at 40 and who moved the needle in my view was Ohio State forward E.J. Liddle. And the fact that the Timberwolves bypassed him twice already tells me that their front office did not value his potential as much as I do.
Subtle strong prospects
While there are no standing ovations among NBA Insiders, analysts, or pundits for what the Timberwolves did in the 2022 NBA Draft, there is a subtle smoldering positive feeling in emerging with two first-round prospects. They may not have been the consensus stars of the draft, but I’ll put my money on the Timberwolves front office who added a number of draft experts this offseason.
And to tell you the truth, when a team executive openly admits that neither he nor his staff guarantees the future of their selected players, I’m far more willing to believe them. If nothing else, you can tell that there have been multiple conversations about the risks, downsides, and vulnerabilities of the players who were selected.