What about those wonderful Wolves?
We know that any comparison of the roster of the Minnesota Timberwolves to the roster of the Utah Jazz is truly a comparison of a watermelon to a banana, but we need to perform this exercise to truly appreciate how effectively the Minnesota Timberwolves have drafted. After all, there is a lot of negativity to the fact that the Timberwolves parted ways with such a valuable package to acquire Rudy Gobert.
But here is why that was worth it.
We know that the Minnesota Timberwolves are set in terms of their starting five. In fact, when you factor in the presence of PF Taurean Prince, PF Kyle Anderson, and SG Wendell Moore Jr., you have the makings of a playoff-ready core. Yes, the Timberwolves have outstanding free agents to re-sign, including backup center Naz Reid, backup wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and more.
The thing is, the Utah Jazz are trying to fast-track becoming an NBA Playoff team, which has accelerated their timeline from the moment that they agreed to trade Rudy Gobert. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves have truly slowed down the pace of developing players. This is a roster that is ready to compete this season. That means that rookies added to the team have a longer time to develop.
Minnesota Timberwolves Draft
- Pick Player Position Projection
What did the Timberwolves do in this draft? Here is where those timelines truly make a difference, and why I am thrilled with the Timberwolves strategy.
With Leonard Miller, the Minnesota Timberwolves landed a frontcourt player who can play center or power forward, but who has the ball-handling skills of a point guard. Let that sink in for just a moment longer. Imagine the ability to send out a frontcourt of Rudy Gobert, Leonard Miller, and Jaden McDaniels. Or Gobert, Miller, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Miller is not ready to compete just yet, but the upside of the Timberwolves’ rotations when he can do so promises to be impressive.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have taken a chance on Jaylen Clark, the best defender in this draft and a surefire lottery prospect before he suffered an Achilles Tendon injury. Of course, the Timberwolves are taking a risk with his restoration to a defensive-savant after his recovery, but there are many reasons for that type of optimism.
If Clark can deliver that level of defense that he promises so far, then the Minnesota Timberwolves will have one of the strongest defensive options with Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels, Jaylen Clark, Anthony Edwards, and Mike Conley Jr.