There is no doubt one of the most important days on the NBA calendar is Draft Lottery day. With the rolling of a few ping pong balls, the futures of multiple franchises can be changed forever. On Tuesday night, that was exactly what happened when the 14 teams that failed to make the playoffs gathered in Chicago.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves having qualified for the playoffs for a second consecutive season, no representatives from the franchise were present at the Draft Lottery. Even with no picks in the first round of the draft this season, the Timberwolves have to feel good about the direction of their team.
When the event concluded, it was the San Antonio Spurs that jumped two spots and secured the right to draft a generational prospect in Victor Wembanyama. Of course, this means the Spurs will likely be a more formidable opponent for Minnesota in the coming years. However, there are other, more far-reaching effects of this outcome on the Timberwolves as well.
The NBA Lottery may have opened up new trade possibilities for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
When trying to decide between two similarly talented prospects in the draft, there are typically two routes NBA teams take. One involves drafting the best talent available regardless of fit, while the other is selecting a player only if they make sense with the team’s current roster.
After the results of the 2023 Lottery, it appears that is the dilemma the Charlotte Hornets will be facing when making their selection at No. 2 overall. The near-consensus pick at that spot is Scoot Henderson, but it is unclear how Scoot would fit in Charlotte given how established LaMelo Ball is in the starting lineup.
Drafting players based on fit tends to be a much riskier move, as it can lead teams to miss out on special talents just because they were not needed on that team’s roster positionally. Ironically, this tactic is how the Warriors ended up with James Wiseman instead of LaMelo Ball in the 2020 Draft.
The Timberwolves could try to trade for a high-end talent in this year’s draft.
If the Hornets or even the Blazers decide to draft Scoot, they would suddenly have movable pieces on their hands they did not have previously. Both those teams could hypothetically look to subsequently move Henderson or their starting point guards, and Minnesota could look to capitalize.
Whether or not you believe it is a good idea for the Timberwolves to consider trading Karl-Anthony Towns or not does not change the fact that it will be a hot-button topic all offseason regardless. For a team like Portland, Towns could be an attractive piece to dangle in exchange for a high draft pick. With the Blazers doing everything they can to win now, they may be more willing to bite on a deal than others.
It is something of a long shot, but if Minnesota wants to shift their winning timeline more towards the younger Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, acquiring a player like Scoot Henderson could be a grand slam move. In any case, the Wolves will be keeping their ears open for any teams willing to make an overpay on draft night. After several lottery teams were let down on Tuesday, executives will be scrambling looking to make up for it.