5 NBA-ready prospects the Timberwolves should target in the second round

These are five prospects who can contribute right away that Minnesota can draft with their second-round pick.
Kansas v Baylor
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Before we begin, let it be known that there's a decent chance at least one of these prospects will be off the board before the Minnesota Timberwolves are on the clock in the second round.

The Wolves possess the 27th pick in the first round, and the 37th in round two. Regardless of who's available, both spots in the draft offer a prime position to select a win-now prospect. After years of NCAA hoopers leaving college early to earn an income in the NBA, players are more willing to stay in college and develop their games—thanks to Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).

Now, as opposed to a plethora of younger, high-upside prospects in the second round, teams can target multiple win-now prospects with their second-round selections. In the 2023 NBA Draft, nearly half the second-round draftees (13) were upperclassmen. This time around, expect that number to increase.

Below, we've identified five plug-and-play prospects the Wolves should target with their 37th overall selection considering the sheer amount of experienced talent available in this year's draft pool.

5. Jalen Bridges

A personal favorite in the 2024 NBA Draft, Baylor's Jalen Bridges is an ideal NBA prospect. He's your prototypical low-usage, 3-and-D wing—perfect for any NBA offense. While his collegiate fit isn't as clean, his professional fit is easy to imagine.

The former West Virginia Mountaineer appeared in 130 games and made 121 starts. After an extremely low-usage freshman season, and an inefficient sophomore campaign, the 6-foot-7 wing transferred to Baylor. Bridges started every game and averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 three-pointers, 1.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game in Waco.

Bridges is one of the safest prospects in the draft due to his high floor. It's unlikely the Baylor wing ever adapts an off-the-dribble game, but that won't be necessary in the NBA. Over his two seasons playing for the Bears, Bridges only recorded 85 assists—or an average of 1.2 per contest.

Despite limited creation ability, Bridges has shown he can attack closeouts. He won't wow you with any dribble moves, but he's a proficient straight-line driver who excels at finishing around the rim. Also, rather than driving past a scrambling defender, Bridges does a fine job of sidestepping a closeout to get off a clean look.

His consistent base and release make the 3-and-D wing's three-point shot so translatable. Bridges' form looks poised to land him in a three-point contest. His base is shoulder-width apart, his release is quick, and his lift is minimal.

As for his defense, Bridges is a good athlete who measured 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan at the NBA Combine. He's equally as talented a defender on-ball as he is off-ball. Bridges posted a steal and block percentage of 2.0 percent this past season. He's both a sound team defender and an impressive defensive playmaker.