The Minnesota Timberwolves were willing to part ways with four first-round draft picks and five players to acquire Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert. While many have expressed more than slight frustration over the value given for the player, let’s not ignore the fact that the Timberwolves roster continues to improve.
This team has invested a great deal into NBA veterans who are ready to win now, and whose careers have gathered a great deal of experience and wisdom that not only elevates their own game but can be passed on by mentoring younger players along the way. To that aim, the Timberwolves continue to fill out their roster with very talented but raw players who will benefit a great deal from being taken under the wing of an NBA mentor.
So who have the Timberwolves added over the past two seasons under the watchful eye of Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly? Let’s revisit the past five rookie selections to this team, and weigh in on how they may fit through the 2023-24 NBA season for the Timberwolves roster.
2022 NBA Draft: 26th overall pick – Duke SG/SF Wendell Moore
With the 26th overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected a 6-foot-5 215-pound wing out of Duke named Wendell Moore Jr.
It was clear from this addition that the Timberwolves front office was interested in bolstering their defensive capability, and Wendell Moore Jr. is a clear plus in that direction. He was given an opportunity to start a game in late November and early December 2022, and he was able to show up in a big way on the defensive end of the basketball court.
While playing defense is every bit as vital as playing offense, scoring points is going to earn young players the opportunity for their early rotations. Unfortunately, his perimeter shot was not quite ‘there,’ and he was sent back to the bench as he worked on more consistent offense between cleanup minutes on the Timberwolves roster, and a larger role with the Timberwolves G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.
Similar to the more seasoned veteran wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Moore is an option when the Timberwolves need to slow down opposing perimeter shooters. But even in the 2023 Summer League competition, he did not demonstrate that his offense is NBA-ready. He may be on the short end of playing time this season, necessitating more toggling between playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Iowa Wolves this season.