Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was certainly active in his first draft with the franchise since being hired last month. During the draft on Thursday night, Connelly completed four trades and drafted four intriguing prospects including Walker Kessler, Wendell Moore, Josh Minott, and Matteo Spagnolo.
While it was a rather busy night for the team, the outcome was a slow and steady infusion of young talented players into the team’s roster. The right itself was much like a thrilling trip on the roller coaster, up and down, with thrilling twists and turns. But in the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended up exactly where we expected them to.
Here are player comparisons for the newest additions to the team.
First up? Center Walker Kessler.
Pick 22: Walker Kessler (Auburn/C)
Player Comp: Myles Turner
After playing just 8.8 minutes per game as a freshman at North Carolina, Kessler transferred to Auburn and proceeded to become the best rim protector in the country and win SEC Defensive Player of the Year. The 7-foot-1 center racked up 155 blocks, most in the conference since Anthony Davis in 2012, and reminded me of Myles Turner at times. Kessler’s ability to play drop coverage at a high level should allow more flexibility with defensive rotations next season.
Now let’s turn our attention to wing Wendell Moore.
Pick 26: Wendell Moore (Duke/F)
Player Comp: Bruce Brown
Despite struggling to score consistently during his three years at Duke, Moore developed into a dynamic defender and quality shot creator. The 6-foot-5 forward flashed a lot of the same qualities that Bruce Brown brings to the court and should make an impact off the bench because of his athleticism, physicality, and vision. Moore drastically improved his perimeter shot last season and will have to continue working on that area to earn playing time.
Memphis forward Josh Minott is up next.
Pick 45: Josh Minott (Memphis/F)
Player Comp: Brandon Clarke
Even though Minott played only 14.6 minutes per game as a freshman at Memphis, it was clear why NBA teams would be interested in him. In addition to having elite athleticism and jumping ability, the Florida native stands at 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He showed glimpses of Brandon Clarke, attacking the offensive glass and finishing at the rim, with even more length. Although Minott isn’t a great defender right now, he definitely has the tools to become one.
Last but not least, Euroleague’s Matteo Spagnolo.
Pick 50: Matteo Spagnolo (Italy/G)
Player Comp: Rudy Fernandez
Connelly selected 6’6 shooting guard Matteo Spagnolo with the Timberwolves’ last draft pick in the second round. While the Italian prospect is expected to play at least one more season in Serie A, he could eventually turn into a quality rotation piece with a scoring punch similar to former Trail Blazers and Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez. Spagnolo shot an impressive 44.1 percent from beyond the arc last season but still needs to become a more reliable ball-handler, decision-maker, and defender.