Timberwolves emerge as biggest winners of NBA Draft so far: Grades for round one

At the conclusion of the first night of the 2024 NBA Draft, it was clear the Minnesota Timberwolves came away as massive winners.
Rob Dillingham
Rob Dillingham / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday with some pretty clear problems in need of addressing. Namely, they were in search of more bench scoring. Their defense was one of the most unstoppable forces in basketball all season long, but they clearly needed more bucket-getters.

Additionally, the Wolves had gotten into a process of selecting long-term projects with their draft picks in recent years. The top-heavy nature of their roster allowed them the luxury of doing so, but this past year's playoffs showed them they needed some players with the ability to contribute now.

Compounding that situation was the reality that Minnesota was dealing with some heavy financial restraints that would make adding legitimate role players this summer hard. As such, one of their best paths forward was to take NBA-ready players in the draft, and that is exactly what they ended up doing.

Grading Robert Dillingham:

Coming into night one of the draft with just one first-round selection at pick number 27, the Timberwolves were going to have to dig deep to find a high-impact player. But knowing the genius of President Tim Connelly, it is no surprise he ended up coming to a conclusion.

Trading up to take the San Antonio Spurs' eighth-overall pick came at a steep price: two future first-round picks. But it was more than worth it, as the Timberwolves acquired a player many had as a top five pick throughout the pre-draft process in Rob Dillingham.

Rob's unique brand of scoring power is precisely what Minnesota is in need of. His lightning-quick first step, top-level handles and playmaking ability will be a massive lift to a Wolves offense that can struggle at times. This was likely one of the best (if not the best) moves of the entire first round by any team.

Grade: A+

Grading Terrence Shannon:

Believe it or not, Terrence Shannon may not have even been the Timberwolves' top choice before it was time to make their pick at 27. According to one source, the Denver Nuggets traded up from pick 28 because they were afraid Minnesota would take DaRon Holmes at 27.

The pure anticipation from the Nuggets that Tim Connelly would be one step ahead of them feels like a win on the Timberwolves' part. When Minnesota selected Terrence Shannon instead, they got an all-around wing that should be able to be comfortable in the league immediately due to his age and physical style of play.

Shannon is relentless in driving the lane and is an excellent passer and defender. He has the physical and mental tools to be successful at the next level and has a ton of upside on both sides of the ball. There was a lot to like about Terrence headed into the draft, and getting him as a backup wing that can likely find a spot in the rotation in short order feels like another big win.

Grade: A