The Minnesota Timberwolves caught the attention of some NBA Insiders, analysts, pundits, sports writers, and yes, even some oddsmakers with their willingness to make some high-profile, high-risk, and high-reward personnel transactions throughout the 2022 off-season. But like a stage magician, the challenge is not watching what the performer wants you to see on stage, but rather watching what is happening beyond the spotlight.
The Timberwolves may have made a headline NBA trade this off-season, but one of the under-the-radar moves that I find most intriguing is how the Timberwolves front office traded back from the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft with the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire the 22nd and 26th overall picks in the very same draft.
The Timberwolves selected Auburn center Walker Kessler at 22 and selected Duke wing, Wendell Moore Jr, at 26. The Timberwolves entered with one first-round pick, traded back, and selected twice in the first round.
While that seemed like a normal day at the office at the time, the true value of that exchange appeared when the team opted to trade their rookie center Walker Kessler to the Utah Jazz as part of the compensation package for veteran center Rudy Gobert.
In the words of rookie Wendell Moore Jr: “It’s gonna be a fun season.”
Coincidence? Blind luck? Or did the Timberwolves realize that they would be compelled to surrender one of 2022 rookies in any significant future trade, so the front office wisely broke a 19th overall pick into a 22nd overall and 26th overall pick?
However it played out, the Minnesota Timberwolves have added a promising 6-foot-5 213-pound wing who can get minutes at either the shooting guard or small forward position. His summer league performance was solid, hitting all of the marks for a rookie in a way that sustains the optimism.
I wouldn’t look for much playing time out of Moore early in the season. But he will be a very intriguing player on the roster as the season unfolds. I can see him entering games for an eight-ten minute segment on or about mid-season. Once he gets some time on the court, how many minutes he continues to play will be based on how well he performs.
Hopefully, he will earn more playing time.