What Should the Wolves Do With the #1 Pick?
For the first time since Karl Anthony-Towns was drafted in 2015, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. Since then, they have drafted Kris Dunn (2016), Justin Patton (2017), Josh Okogie (2018), and Jarrett Culver (2019). Not great, right? President of Basketball Operations, Gersson Rosas will look to find the right piece to put with the duo of Towns and D’Angelo Russell whether that means drafting a young talent or possibly trading the pick altogether. Here are a few of their best options:
- Draft Anthony Edwards (Georgia):
Anthony Edwards is a 6’4 combo guard out of Georgia that has tremendous athleticism and slashing ability. Edwards averaged 19 points and 5 rebounds as a Bulldog. Although he has a quick trigger, he struggled shooting from the outside, only making 29% of his three-point attempts in college. He has a tendency to force shots and doesn’t have great court awareness at times. The Wolves have drafted guards in his positions the last few years taking Okogie and Culver in back to backdrafts. After Culver struggled greatly in his rookie season, the Wolves may take Edwards in hopes that he can do the opposite. Edwards would fit well with D’Angelo Russell and could shape into one of the best young backcourts in the league if he lives up to the hype. This is a very safe pick for the Wolves.
NBA Comparisons: Donovan Mitchell, Andrew Wiggins, Victor Oladipo
- Draft LaMelo Ball (Illawarra Hawks):
Before you stereotype Ball into being a spoiled, rich brat with an annoying dad, don’t. The kid has matured and has the potential to be the best player in the draft. Ball has had a road to the NBA like no other. After dropping out of Chino Hills High School and losing college eligibility, Ball has tested the professional waters in Lithuania and Australia, last averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL in Australia. He is a dynamic, playmaking point guard who has elite court awareness and a high basketball IQ. Ball has great size (6’7) for his position and does a great job of controlling the offense. One thing Ball struggles with is finding consistency with his jump shot. His range is limitless and although it may not fall at a consistent rate all the time, it keeps the defense honest and stretches the floor so he can capitalize on his slashing/playmaking skills. The defense is also something that Ball will need to get better at while transitioning to the NBA. The ball could fit in well with the Wolves roster as he has shooters to work with. The pick/pop offense with him and Towns could be the Wolves bread and butter with shooters to potentially kick out to in Russell and Malik Beasley. This is a low-risk high reward pick for the Wolves and business would boom with the celebrity-like vibe he would bring to Minneapolis. This would be a great pick not only in basketball terms but for publicity and national attention that the Wolves have been seeking since the Garnett days.
NBA Comparisons: Jason Williams, Lonzo Ball, Penny Hardaway
- Draft Somebody Else
Although this draft isn’t top-heavy, there are a number of solid players that can make immediate contributions to the Wolves right away. Prospects such as Obi Toppin of Dayton, James Wiseman of Memphis, Onyeka Okongwu of USC, and even Deni Avdija of Israel are all realistic options for the Wolves at #1. Toppin is a dynamic, athletic freak that is a versatile player and can fill the need at the forward position for Minnesota. Wiseman is a skilled big man whose season was cut short due to NCAA allegations. The talent is there for Wiseman, but this position is not an immediate need for the Wolves. Onyeka Okongwu is a do-it-all big man out of USC who is a great defender and can switch onto guards with no problems. Avdija is a versatile wing that has the playmaking ability of a point guard. Finding a consistent jump shot for him will be the key to his success in the NBA. This is a crucial pick for the Wolves that they can absolutely not mess up if they want to keep Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell happy.
- Trade the Pick
After it was confirmed that the Timberwolves have won the lottery, there was a lot of talk of them possibly trading the pick. Devin Booker was a name that popped up often, but after the performance, Booker and the Suns put up in the bubble, there is no way Phoenix would willingly give up the young star. The only way Booker could be on the market is if he pulls an Anthony Davis and tells the Suns he demands a trade. In other words, sorry Wolves fans, it’s not happening this year. The Knicks have made it very public about wanting Lamelo Ball in New York. If the Knicks get desperate, the Wolves could collect a great number of assets from New York that could become tradeable in the future. I anticipate that Minnesota will keep the first pick, but the fun part about the NBA is that you truly never know what could happen.