Best players remaining for the Timberwolves after NBA Draft Day 1

The opening day of the 2024 NBA Draft is complete, and these are the best players left on the board the Timberwolves can select.
NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite
NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft has come to a close. The Minnesota Timberwolves held a first-round selection and added another by trading with the San Antonio Spurs. The Wolves selected Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham with the eighth pick and Illinois' Terrence Shannon Jr. with the 27th selection.

After a lack of on-ball creation was evident in the Timberwolves' Western Conference Finals loss, the Minnesota front office felt it was best to add two of the draft's best scorers. Dillingham averaged 15.2 points in only 23.3 minutes of action while Shannon Jr. placed second in the Big 10 in points per game at 23.0.

In addition to their scoring prowess, both players will suit up in the backcourt—Dillingham at the one and Shannon Jr. at the two. Now with the reserve backcourt in place, the frontcourt will take precedence. Below, we've listed five of the best players remaining from this year's crop of draft prospects.

Kyle Filipowski

Duke's Kyle Filipowski certainly isn't a seamless fit. But if he were still available come Minnesota's second-round pick, he'd be a terrific value. The sophomore big man earned an NBA Green Room invite which generally guarantees he'll be drafted in the first round. Yet here we are, a versatile offensive talent awaits to hear his name called.

The 20-year-old averaged 16.4 points and drilled 39 three-points in his second season in Durham. Although he's nearly a 7-footer, Filipowski is a skilled shotmaker. The former Blue Devil can score effectively both on and off the ball. He was used in the pick-and-roll, in the mid-post, and as a spot-up scorer.

Despite Filipowski's subpar wingspan, he's a quality defender. The power forward averaged 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game this past season. He's a high-effort player who consistently boxes out his man and rotates to the correct spot.

Tyler Kolek

An initial target of the Timberwolves, Marquette's Tyler Kolek likely won't come to Minnesota after all. The Wolves drafted two guards prior, dismissing the need for Kolek's services. The former Golden Eagle is best used as a primary ball handler.

This past season, the senior guard led the Big East in assists per game. Kolek averaged 7.7 dimes after also clearing seven the season before. The lefty guard is a preternatural passer. He's extraordinarily crafty as a pick-and-roll ball handler.

Kolek's scoring and defense are more difficult to project in the NBA. He averaged 15.3 points per game, but he's not an above-the-rim finisher nor a shot-creator. Kolek is more so a slithery driver and spot-up shooter. On defense, his size will always be a disadvantage at 6-foot-1.

Tyler Smith

One player I projected to go much earlier—Tyler Smith. The former G-League Ignite forward embodies the NBA's size and shooting movement. He's a 6-foot-9 tweener who shot 36.4 percent on 4.0 three-point attempts per game.

Smith is another well-versed offensive scorer, like Filipowski. He averaged 13.4 points while shooting just 9.9 field goal attempts per contest. Aside from his spot-up shooting ability, he can score in the post and as a roll-man.

The 19-year-old's drop was likely due to his iffy defensive potential. Smith has good size and he's a plus-athlete, but he lacked a strong defensive IQ playing for the Ignite. As opposed to several of the other prospects on the list, Smith fit is easy to project in Minnesota and his upside is higher than most.

Johnny Furphy

The prospect originally pegged to Minnesota in my second mock draft, Kansas' Johnny Furphy should be first on the Wolves' wish list. The 19-year-old forward would make for a perfect Kyle Anderson replacement.

Furphy is a skilled shooter who's fantastic in transition. He led the Jayhawks and three-point makes this past season, nailing 35.2 percent of his looks from beyond the arc. And if he's not cashing in a three, he's likely throwing down an emphatic jam.

The Kansas product is another high-upside prospect worth targeting. At 19, his defense isn't all there, but playing for the Wolves hides poor defenders. It's not Furphy's size or IQ causing his limitations—it's his lack of agility.

Kevin McCullar Jr.

Lastly, Furphy's collegiate teammate Kevin McCullar Jr. The 6-foot-5 wing is an experienced, NBA-ready talent. McCullar Jr. spent five seasons playing in the NCAA—splitting his time between Lubbock and Lawrence.

His best season came as a fifth-year senior. Following several mediocre scoring campaigns, McCullar Jr. averaged a career-high 18.3 points per game. To go along with his points production, the former Jayhawk averaged 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

While he's shown proficiency on offense, McCullar Jr. can immediately contribute as a defender. Over his time in Lawrence, he averaged 1.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. McCullar Jr. is a defensive playmaker who is also a valiant point-of-attack defender. He can guard as many as three positions in the NBA.