2023 NBA Draft: Timberwolves focus on a trio of rookies

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Draft Jalen Slawson Timberwolves Draft
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A promising Paladin

An intriguing candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the 53rd overall pick is Furman small forward Jalen Slawson. Standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 218 pounds, Slawson is a solid size for an NBA player. Better still, his five-year NCAA basketball career shows that trend that I believe is so very important, a steady and positive trend of improvement.

Two areas of note where Slawson has realized noticeable and significant improvements are his perimeter shooting (at 39.4 percent in his senior season) and his defensive chops. He has that Stretch Armstrong wingspan that lets him reach in to lift the basketball from his opponent, and that ability to get tall and block the shots of shooters as they pull up and take aim at the basket.

The Timberwolves do love some defense, and I have to say that Slawson is as good as the brochure. And Slawson does more than just frustrate opposing players. Much like a Kyle Anderson or a Jaden McDaniels, it’s that defense that acts like the catalyst that gets everything else jump-started.

Slawson has a sweet ability to distribute the basketball to the open shooter, he has a perceptive basketball IQ that proves itself constantly during the flow of the game. Best of all, his production is across the spectrum of basketball attributes, from scoring to rebounding to creating turnovers and making defensive stops, he pretty much brings all of it to the table.

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He is a well-rounded prospect who is considered one of this draft’s best sleepers. Is that enough to ensure he will be chosen by the Timberwolves? Perhaps not, but it’s a great place to start.