Coming into the 2023 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves had only one second-round pick, at the 53rd position, with plenty of options to choose from. We could’ve gone with a solid 3-and-D wing, another backup point guard for the future and to replace veteran PG Mike Conley Jr. eventually, or even a big man off the bench to offset the absence of center Naz Reid in the case he does walk in free agency.
Considering the needs and the fact that big names were dropping, like Cam Whitmore to the 20th spot (Houston Rockets), and Nick Smith Jr to the 27th spot (Charlotte Hornets), Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Conelly knew that he had an opportunity to get some talented players in this year’s draft.
He even hinted before the draft that trades were certainly on the menu, as he tried all night to move up on the draft board. But the plan was not simply to draft sooner, but to draft more often. That would mean that Connelly would select two of his guys, instead of just one, in a draft with no guarantees that his target would be there when the Timberwolves stepped up to the draft podium.
Well, he did just that.
After converting one late second-round pick into two promising young players with high potential and likeliness to contribute straight away, we have a chance to pause and catch our breath.
Let’s take a deeper dive at these selections and grade them according to need, fit, and overall drafting, considering the names still on the board.