The Minnesota Timberwolves weaved back and forth on NBA Draft night, trading back to increase the number of picks, then reversing course and trading up to increase the talent level and fit of the player selected to eventually join their roster. From the outside looking in, it appeared to be a route of a distracted driver who is texting someone while they are trying to manage city traffic.
A lot of weaving, sudden stops, slowing down, and sudden accelerations left everyone wondering what their next move would be. No pattern or plan seemed to be the common theme. Was there a common theme?
To learn that, Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly agreed to an impromptu post-draft press conference to share his thoughts about the team’s overall outcome from the draft. Weary, but wearing a smile, the message was always going to be positive. But in his press conference, Connelly gave away more than a positive aura. He dropped some clues as well.
Such as who the Minnesota Timberwolves were looking for on this draft night.
"At 0:20 -“Who knows if this is a good or a great night? But we felt like, uh, we added some pieces that fit who we are culturally and hopefully can make us a better team.”At 1:50 -“We were looking for personality types. Certainly, we were looking for guys that we can grow with long-term. We don’t want to put too much expectation on their ability to contribute right away. When you have a team that had as much success as we did, it’s hard to put that on their shoulders. If you’re lucky enough to draft a couple of good players, that can be super impactful as they progress and grow into good NBA players.”- Tim Connelly via press conference"
Ultimately, I like how the Minnesota Timberwolves handled their NBA Draft because they sought specific positions and talent, but also had one eye on the overall fit with the team.
Anyone can draft the statistics. Anyone can draft the position. And with the prevalence of social media, anyone can vet players with some degree of certainty. But it takes far more effort to cycle through so many prospects and focus on those young men who fit the culture of the team.
After all is said and done, it’s that fit that decides who will succeed and who will not. I like the players chosen by the Timberwolves on draft night. But even more than that, I truly appreciate the reasons why they were chosen.