2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

A place to discuss the MN Timberwolves
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witljon
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by witljon » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:16 pm

jodaman01 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:07 pm
I believe Rosas is out to trade the pick somehow.

GO WOLVES!! :thumbsup:
What makes you think that?

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somuchyummy
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by somuchyummy » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:15 pm

so in hopes that he trades the pick for some PF who already is showing some good stuff in the nba, who would that be? and can we get their first rounder along with said PF? i don't want an old guy, not in exchange for a high pick - even in a weak draft. but who are the young - pretty good but expendable - PFs that teams might be willing to move in order to get into the top 3? it would have to be someone i think in the last half of the first round for it to make sense to give up that pick and that asset - so no intra-lottery swaps.

here are some ideas off the top of my head - i apologize in advance if they are crazy as fuck. dallas sends us maxi kleber and their 18th for our 3rd. seems a little steep, no? but kleber's pretty cool - great shot blocker, plays hard, hits the three, young. and if we had that 21st, maybe then we could package it with our 16 and move back somewhere into the lottery - grab vassell or okoro.

another one in the same vein - but again seems on the surface to be too steep a price for us is brooklyn's 19th pick and nic claxton. they are soooooper high on claxton, so maybe they won't - but on the other hand it seems too steep for us to lose a 3 for a 19 and a guy picked just last year in the second round. he's cool though - athletic as hell, guard skills, can hit the three, loads of potential that i wished back then we had grabbed. and again, we take that 19 and package it with our 16 to move back into the lottery - somewhere 8 to 11.

kleber or claxton and vassell or okoro - i could get excited about a draft night like that. and as usual, just tossing the shit bag around, guys.

another option - but more expensive - is jerami grant. i'm not as high on him as others here - but you look at that squad and the options they have on board at PF/SF not including grant, and it's pretty thick - michael porter jr, bol bol, will barton, paul millsap, torrey craig, KBD. it's not like there aren't other guys to get his minutes, should he depart. what they IMO are weak in are plain old shooting guards. gary harris has foundered as he's aged - not the player he'd shown the promise to be - they might really like the opportunity to get high in the draft and maybe get edwards or ball, maybe hayes to pair with murray in the backcourt. anyway, that deal would be the nuggets 21st pick plus grant for our 3rd. we'd probably need to add layman to make the money work. i'm not as big on this deal because i see grant mostly as a SF - so we'd still have to snag a good PF in the draft. it's possible. maybe if we could pair the 21st pick from them with our 16th pick, we could move up high enough to insure that we get achiuwa late lottery. and a draft night haul of jerami grant and precious achiuwa IMO sounds cool.

i'm throwing this out there btw simply because i don't see any surefire dynamo game changer in the lottery for us - so why not see if we can add a young vet plus a highish pick, just not a top 3 pick?
Last edited by somuchyummy on Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:15 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by jodaman01 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:21 pm

witljon wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:16 pm
jodaman01 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:07 pm
I believe Rosas is out to trade the pick somehow.

GO WOLVES!! :thumbsup:
What makes you think that?
The biggest talk so far is that Rosas is open with the pick. The players that the wolves journalists have linked the Wolves being in contact with that have been posted here are players they could likely get with the Nets pick.

There hasn’t been anything I have seen from local beat guys linking the the Wolves to any of the top picks, or any of the guys that posters here are discussing here in the draft.

Now they could be in a situation like Culver where the Wolves never worked him out and secretly contacted him late in the game. That worked out so well for Rosas and the Wolves, that everybody here should be hoping that unfortunate situation never repeats itself.

Rosas is good at making trades, his best asset to make a move is his top pick.....I’m just connecting dots and making a guess.

GO WOLVES!! :thumbsup:

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:41 am

jodaman01 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:21 pm
witljon wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:16 pm
jodaman01 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:07 pm
I believe Rosas is out to trade the pick somehow.

GO WOLVES!! :thumbsup:
What makes you think that?
The biggest talk so far is that Rosas is open with the pick. The players that the wolves journalists have linked the Wolves being in contact with that have been posted here are players they could likely get with the Nets pick.

There hasn’t been anything I have seen from local beat guys linking the the Wolves to any of the top picks, or any of the guys that posters here are discussing here in the draft.

Now they could be in a situation like Culver where the Wolves never worked him out and secretly contacted him late in the game. That worked out so well for Rosas and the Wolves, that everybody here should be hoping that unfortunate situation never repeats itself.

Rosas is good at making trades, his best asset to make a move is his top pick.....I’m just connecting dots and making a guess.

GO WOLVES!! :thumbsup:
:lol: Holy fuck. He's best at making trades? He traded up to get a guy who wasn't there and did it 3 hours early because he was so smart that he knew he would be there. OOOOooooooooppppsssssss. Then he took a guy we didn't ever work out or even talk to and is the exact opposite of the kind of player the dipshit wants because.........................why? Because he thought he was the most highly rated player and he could just.....................TRADE him later. And he couldn't. He traded equal value players in Russell/Wigs and had to add a 1st and take back the shitty Evan's contract and a good player in Spellman who he won't let play. Then Dieng and Roco gone and get back Hurmanmunster who's not nearly as good as Dieng and Beasley who I love but who knows if he'd pay him. Oh, and as a contract and took back JJ and he ended up being our best 4. Not because he was unreal but because the idiot won't draft or trade for one.............that he will play.

What he's best at is signing street FA's. And you think he knew who Naz and JMac were? If he did he wouldn't have had to scramble to get Naz on a long deal and wouldn't have just matching rights on Mac. So it's what he's luckiest at.

Don't know why you are trying so hard to like the idiot. You should be praying the sale is complete by September so we can have actual basketball people running the show.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by somuchyummy » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:20 am

if the sale happens by september i still see rosas being the GM. but there will be no loyalty and no fucks given by mgmt if they deem later in the year to replace him. glen is tied to rosas because he REALLY wants him to succeed - so glen doesn't look like an idiot again for signing the wrong GM. new owners won't have that to cloud the issue. i also see new mgmt being more proactive about how the draft/FA/trade season is carried out. if they see something about to go down that makes zero sense to how they want the team built, i would think they'd call rosas out and veto it. right now rosas kind of has carte blanche - and new ownership would be the end of that. i would bet anything that gerssh is sweating bullets right now.
2020 Froobchat NBA Draft - Los Angeles Clippers

PG - Kyle Lowry / Terry Rozier
SG - Khris Middleton / Shake Milton
SF - Jayson Tatum / Lonnie Walker IV
PF - Christian Wood / Larry Nance Jr.
C - Jusuf Nurkic / Robert Williams III

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Style
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Style » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:40 am

https://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/ ... nerstones

Anyone with insider willing to share?

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by SO_MONEY » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:52 am

somuchyummy wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:20 am
if the sale happens by september i still see rosas being the GM. but there will be no loyalty and no fucks given by mgmt if they deem later in the year to replace him. glen is tied to rosas because he REALLY wants him to succeed - so glen doesn't look like an idiot again for signing the wrong GM. new owners won't have that to cloud the issue. i also see new mgmt being more proactive about how the draft/FA/trade season is carried out. if they see something about to go down that makes zero sense to how they want the team built, i would think they'd call rosas out and veto it. right now rosas kind of has carte blanche - and new ownership would be the end of that. i would bet anything that gerssh is sweating bullets right now.
WTF? No. Not even close. Rosas is highly regarded and frankly only an idiot would think there is any chance he would be let go.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:12 am

SO_MONEY wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:52 am
somuchyummy wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:20 am
if the sale happens by september i still see rosas being the GM. but there will be no loyalty and no fucks given by mgmt if they deem later in the year to replace him. glen is tied to rosas because he REALLY wants him to succeed - so glen doesn't look like an idiot again for signing the wrong GM. new owners won't have that to cloud the issue. i also see new mgmt being more proactive about how the draft/FA/trade season is carried out. if they see something about to go down that makes zero sense to how they want the team built, i would think they'd call rosas out and veto it. right now rosas kind of has carte blanche - and new ownership would be the end of that. i would bet anything that gerssh is sweating bullets right now.
WTF? No. Not even close. Rosas is highly regarded and frankly only an idiot would think there is any chance he would be let go.
:lol: Highly regarded by who? He absolutely fucked his 1st draft and it was reported on the broadcast as it happened and he rightfully took shit for it. Think all those teams that took advantage of him respect him? Ever watch any of the ESPN basketball shows? How about TNT? They do not respect him at all. We took as much shit as the Knicks. Oh, Glen Taylor respects him. What a ringing endorsement. Think the best organization in basketball GS respects him? They traded a guy they didn't want and everyone knew they didn't want and got the exact same value player and a top 3 protected 1st. And they made us take the shit Evans deal and the good throw in Spellman the idiot won't even have on the active roster because he's too tall to play his idiot mandate.

Name me another GM who thinks his job is to build a system not a roster? Who thinks players should change the way they play to fit him? One who only understands one way because he's just copying his boss from his prior job? He is a clown and that is how he is thought of. You think a KG group gets the team he's still there? You think other groups don't have guys in mind to run the show? They have no basketball people talking to them about the roster they are acquiring? You think those basketball people are talking up Rosas? Better hope not or our new owners are going to be Taylor level stupid.

Frankly only an idiot would think he is highly regarded.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by memyworld » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:32 am

Style wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:40 am
https://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/ ... nerstones

Anyone with insider willing to share?
I, too, would like to read this.

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somuchyummy
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by somuchyummy » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:33 am

i think new ownership would give rosas a year, but nothing more. if we continue to founder, he'd be out in the trash with the kitty litter.
2020 Froobchat NBA Draft - Los Angeles Clippers

PG - Kyle Lowry / Terry Rozier
SG - Khris Middleton / Shake Milton
SF - Jayson Tatum / Lonnie Walker IV
PF - Christian Wood / Larry Nance Jr.
C - Jusuf Nurkic / Robert Williams III

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:43 am

somuchyummy wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:33 am
i think new ownership would give rosas a year, but nothing more. if we continue to founder, he'd be out in the trash with the kitty litter.
When do new owners keep the previous organization? Especially when it a fully disfunctional one?

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Philo Beddoe » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:49 pm

Its funny, its 2020 and we are still talking about Centers, Power Forwards, Small Forwards and Shooting Guards.

There are only two positions left in the NBA, Point Guards and everyone else.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:22 pm

Philo Beddoe wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:49 pm
Its funny, its 2020 and we are still talking about Centers, Power Forwards, Small Forwards and Shooting Guards.

There are only two positions left in the NBA, Point Guards and everyone else.
On lottery teams maybe.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by somuchyummy » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:21 pm

Thrillkill wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:22 pm
Philo Beddoe wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:49 pm
Its funny, its 2020 and we are still talking about Centers, Power Forwards, Small Forwards and Shooting Guards.

There are only two positions left in the NBA, Point Guards and everyone else.
On lottery teams maybe.
too simplified. portland's looking pretty solid - and we're seeing loads of nurkic, collins and whiteside - definitely not positionless players. more than one way to skin a cat, and there always will be.
2020 Froobchat NBA Draft - Los Angeles Clippers

PG - Kyle Lowry / Terry Rozier
SG - Khris Middleton / Shake Milton
SF - Jayson Tatum / Lonnie Walker IV
PF - Christian Wood / Larry Nance Jr.
C - Jusuf Nurkic / Robert Williams III

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by memyworld » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:13 am

Looks like The Athletic created a pretty comprehensive offseason piece if anyone has a subscription to share:

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by populousample » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:59 am

Could 17+JJ+___ for a sign and trade for Derozan?
Last edited by populousample on Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by SO_MONEY » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:03 am

populousample wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:59 am
Could 17+JJ+___ get a year of Derozan and the chance to resign?
Maybe, but why?

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by populousample » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:06 am

SO_MONEY wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:03 am
populousample wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:59 am
Could 17+JJ+___ get a year of Derozan and the chance to resign?
Maybe, but why?
I edited my last post, thinking he’s a FA already, can’t keep the COVID season years straight.... but the thought was add some marquee talent without using the #1 in a win mode now. His 3% is low but he’s a solid go to with a few years left on the tires.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by SO_MONEY » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:51 am

populousample wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:06 am
SO_MONEY wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:03 am
populousample wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:59 am
Could 17+JJ+___ get a year of Derozan and the chance to resign?
Maybe, but why?
I edited my last post, thinking he’s a FA already, can’t keep the COVID season years straight.... but the thought was add some marquee talent without using the #1 in a win mode now. His 3% is low but he’s a solid go to with a few years left on the tires.
I don't think we would be interested.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by irishman89 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:46 pm

DeRozan is the ultimate mid-range guy, and always has been, so there's no way Latino Heat would want him here.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:21 pm

irishman89 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:46 pm
DeRozan is the ultimate mid-range guy, and always has been, so there's no way Latino Heat would want him here.
Maybe you should have clued him in on Kat's circle jerk buddy who is a sub par 3 shooter and a mid range killer. Or you know, his genius trade up 1st round pick last year?

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by irishman89 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:11 pm

Thrillkill wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:21 pm
irishman89 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:46 pm
DeRozan is the ultimate mid-range guy, and always has been, so there's no way Latino Heat would want him here.
Maybe you should have clued him in on Kat's circle jerk buddy who is a sub par 3 shooter and a mid range killer. Or you know, his genius trade up 1st round pick last year?
Hold on. Can you go over for me what happened during the draft again? It's a little foggy.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:14 pm

irishman89 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:11 pm
Thrillkill wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:21 pm
irishman89 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:46 pm
DeRozan is the ultimate mid-range guy, and always has been, so there's no way Latino Heat would want him here.
Maybe you should have clued him in on Kat's circle jerk buddy who is a sub par 3 shooter and a mid range killer. Or you know, his genius trade up 1st round pick last year?
Hold on. Can you go over for me what happened during the draft again? It's a little foggy.
Embrace the fog.

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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by flexbuffchest » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:23 pm

memyworld wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:13 am
Looks like The Athletic created a pretty comprehensive offseason piece if anyone has a subscription to share:
There’s no better place to start this series than with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves were the lucky winners of the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday with the NBA Draft Lottery. Having said that, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has a complicated offseason ahead of him — and one that will have very real long-term ramifications.

Indeed, things have gotten hairy for Rosas in a hurry because of some of the choices he’s made. He hasn’t made bad choices; rather, he’s just made choices that begat further upcoming moves and put the team’s front office directly into the spotlight. There is already some real pressure on him to make tough decisions following the D’Angelo Russell trade, that saw the Timberwolves — in all likelihood — move out of a terrific 2021 NBA Draft.

He has two complicated restricted free agency calls, the No. 1 overall pick in a draft that no one thinks is particularly good at the top, an obscenely difficult Western Conference to deal with, and a flawed roster construction that has some very real defensive questions to answer in the next few months around its star offensive centerpieces, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Oh, and by the way, the clock has started ticking on Towns’ rookie extension, meaning the clock is ticking on Minnesota’s need to contend in the window that they have him under contract. And he has to make some of these decisions in an uncertain NBA ecosystem caused by a global pandemic that no one could have seen coming when Rosas took the job back in mid-2019. None of this is Rosas’ fault, it’s just a reality that this offseason is going to be arguably the most critical one in shaping the future of the Wolves because of the optionality they have at their disposal.

Good luck, Gersson. Here’s a rundown of everything Minnesota has to deal with this summer. From there, we’ll run through the players who matter on the roster, a salary cap overview and then four other critical questions the team has to find answers to this summer.

The big on-court offseason question to answer before the offseason starts
How can Minnesota build a competent defense around a Towns/Russell core?

This is the number one issue for Minnesota as it builds this roster for the next few years. Offensively, this group should be fine. But where do they get the defense? Assistant coach David Vanterpool’s hire last summer was considered a coup for the Wolves, as he’s widely respected around the NBA for his acumen on the defensive end of the floor. Particularly, he is the architect of the drop coverage scheme that Portland used to improve to eighth defensively in 2017-18 and 15th in 2018-19 after the organization struggled so substantially in the three years previously due to awkwardly-fitting personnel. Then without him this year, Portland fell off of a cliff to No. 28 defensively (although they certainly dealt with injuries and more ill-fitting personnel). In the years since 2018, we’ve seen a greater prevalence of teams playing a system where they drop the big man in pick-and-roll, with Milwaukee having arguably more success with the scheme than anyone league-wide.

A drop style pick-and-roll scheme is the best one for a team building around a center like Towns, whose short-area quickness and length is strong but whose strides over longer areas make him a bit of a liability out in space. It’s easier on him in terms of reads and reactions. The scheme feeds drivers and lead guards into centers, who have to use that quickness and length to contest at the rim. Unsurprisingly given that context, on a per game basis, Towns contested the sixth-most shots in the league. He wasn’t a major deterrent, but he wasn’t a disaster, allowing opponents to shoot about one percent worse than expected based off of his shots contested, according to Second Spectrum data. Having said that, because this defense filters everything toward the middle, he does need to act as an anchor. It’s a double-edged sword. It’s the best situation for him to succeed, but it also puts more pressure on him to succeed because he’ll be involved in contesting even more shots in the paint. He needs to be able to use his verticality and length to force opponents into worse shots. But more than that, he also needs to improve his understanding of gaps that he leaves available for those guards. He can’t drop too far back, or the midrange jumper and floater is available. But he can’t come too far out, or else he risks a blow-by and not being able to wall off the paint in the way the defense calls for. I would bet Towns will be better defensively this season after another year’s worth of experience. But we need to start seeing it to believe it with him.

There are two other parts, specifically, that make this defense work well, though. First, guards have to be willing to fight over the top of screens and get back into the play contesting from behind. The best guy in the league at this, for my money, is Eric Bledsoe in Milwaukee. When Bledsoe aggressively gets over and pressures offensive players from behind and from the side in recovery, it gives them less time to make choices and makes it easier on the big. Milwaukee has multiple guys who do it well, too. Donte DiVincenzo fights over well. Khris Middleton is good at avoiding contact. In Minnesota this past year, opposing lead guards didn’t feel that pressure. Josh Okogie is good on wings, but can struggle with some of the higher-end, creative guards in the league (Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Russell, and Bradley Beal actually kind of tagged him this past season, whereas his work rate on bigger guys like Luka Doncic, Paul George, and Brandon Ingram was stronger). At the point, Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier provided little resistance prior to the trade deadline. The more concerning issue going forward is that Russell has never been a particularly engaged ball-screen defender. For this scheme to work, Russell has to take a similar jump to the one that Damian Lillard has over the course of the last three seasons. He doesn’t have to become a plus defender. He just needs to fight on defense.

Given that teams are going to start their game plans thinking that they can attack the Russell and Towns pick-and-roll combination given their prior issues on that end of the floor — and given that Saunders can’t take them off the floor given the team’s investment in them — it’s really just on Russell and Towns to improve. There isn’t a roster-based answer here beyond telling them that they need to get better, and by giving them the coaching to make that leap. I have faith in Towns figuring it out. He has the tools necessarily to perform his role. Russell, I have less faith in because he just might not have the athleticism to perform his duty in this scheme, given his lack of explosiveness. One plan could be to hope Okogie gets better on guards and then try to hide Russell on the weakest perimeter link. I’d imagine that will be a real part of their game plan. But teams are still going to try to hunt the Russell mismatch, and I have real worries about Minnesota’s defensive upside if Russell can’t become passable in these situations. And it makes it really hard to play another non-defender in the backcourt next to him.

Beyond that, the other part of this defense is having a second, roving back-line defender who can protect the rim from the weak-side of the action, as well as close out hard onto shooters. Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to win a Defensive Player of the Year award this year playing this role in Milwaukee, but a better encapsulation of what I’m talking about might come in Vanterpool’s former stomping ground in Portland, where Zach Collins plays this role. When Collins is out on the floor, Portland’s defense is much better. His recognition of gap defense is terrific, he’s big mobile enough to rotate and protect the weak side of the rim, and he does a great job closing out to the corner to contest open 3s. The difference between how Portland’s defense works when he’s out there versus when someone like Wenyen Gabriel or Hassan Whiteside is next to Jusuf Nurkic is substantial. Nurkic can feel comfortable playing higher up the floor in drop coverage, knowing that he has help capable of cleaning up and contesting if he gets beat.

This is the role that Robert Covington played for Minnesota, but they haven’t replaced him since the team sent him to Houston in its deadline deal. Someone who can block shots, be mobile enough to play on the perimeter, and hopefully can make shots on offense is a tough skillset to find. They might not need to find all three in the same guy, but finding two of those skills would be enormous for this team’s success.

The Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 NBA Draft Big Board
The draft is first up for the Wolves before free agency, so let’s dive into what I’d look at for them at No. 1, then give five names each for the No. 17 and No. 33 picks.

Six Options at No. 1
1. Trade: The best thing the Timberwolves could do is trade this pick. Either move down or out of this draft. Why? There isn’t exactly an ideal option out there on the board that fits from an upside and fit perspective with the rest of this roster. And the players in this class aren’t quite good enough to not worry about fit and developmental situation. LaMelo Ball and D’Angelo Russell have very real overlap in how much they each like to handle the ball, and Ball is a terrible defender. Similarly, I’m terrified by putting Anthony Edwards’ lack of defensive energy level with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Obi Toppin also has defensive questions, although his are more in regard to hip flexibility. James Wiseman is a center, and taking another center to play next to Karl-Anthony Towns shouldn’t even really be an option. The other guys don’t really scream potential No. 1 overall picks to me, although I may make a case for one of them being a particular fit on this roster momentarily.

That makes this pick ripe for a trade. Rosas is one of the most aggressive general managers in the league. Sources around the league already expect that he’ll work the phones over the next couple of months at least to see what’s out there on the market. The consensus around the league is that this will simply be a value play for Rosas, not necessarily one based upon a specific timeline they want to adhere to. Remember: Rosas and executive vice president Sachin Gupta come from the Houston school of thought under Daryl Morey, where they think of most assets in regard to trade value. If they decide an offer is good enough, the thought is he’ll take whatever he thinks is the most valuable for the organization long-term, versus the one that will help them win this year. Maybe it’s player capital, maybe it’s additional draft capital in a trade down. One thing most teams want to do league-wide is potentially expand their draft capital in the much stronger 2021 draft, so may it’s a trade out involving a big offer. Maybe they do just stand pat. But the Wolves are absolutely going to explore what’s available.

The way this will be handled is thusly. Rosas will get a handle on what he thinks each player in this draft is worth. Then, he’ll value the No. 1 overall position, value each subsequent draft slot, and then go out and see what offers come in. If a deal comes in that exceeds the value of that No. 1 spot, the pick will likely get moved after he fields offers from numerous front offices as we get closer to the draft. If he doesn’t get what he’s looking for, he’ll use the pick. Wolves’ fans can feel comfortable knowing that this front office is smart in regard to its decision-making, and undertakes the right processes. It’s a bit early to guess on what the value could be from other teams, but I would bet that one team out there values this pick more than I think Minnesota should value it. They should feel reasonably confident moving all the way down to No. 7 or so, and feeling like they’re getting a player of similar quality in regard to how that player helps their future goals.

2. LaMelo Ball, guard, Illawarra Hawks (NBL): I have Ball as the No. 1 player on my board, and actually in a tier by himself. That doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily an elite-level prospect; rather, it just means he’s the guy that I think has the best upside by a fair sizable amount. But would he be actualized in Minnesota? He and Russell would be going back and forth playing in ball-screens. Ball isn’t a good enough shooter yet to play off the ball. I think he showcases real touch as a shooter, and will improve as body fills out and he gets stronger. But he’s not there yet, and might not be there as a shooter for a couple of years.

And defensively, his selection would be resigning the Wolves to an indifferent defense for years to come. To say Ball is a carefree defender is an understatement. He regularly does not pay attention away from the ball, and hasn’t been held accountable to do so in years. It’s going to be a major process getting him to a passable level on defense. He has reasonable instincts because he’s an incredibly smart player, he just doesn’t use them often enough. But if you put the ball in his hands, I trust him to be able to make high-level reads and plays with his live-dribble passing ability and talent for breaking down defenders. And in a pick-and-roll-heavy scheme with an elite pick-and-pop big, this is a pretty awesome situation if Russell and Ball could share nicely together. Ultimately, I see Ball’s upside as that of an all-star, not necessarily a top-10 guy in the league if he gets into the right situation. Scheme-wise, this fits. But it would exacerbate some real issues with the core. Again though, I’d envision that this front office sees things from a value perspective as opposed to fitting pieces together on this roster for next year, when the whole roster is just so fluid still. So I think Ball would be most likely to be No. 1 on their board, as well.

3. Anthony Edwards, guard, Georgia: I have Edwards at No. 2. Picking Edwards when you’re already building around Russell and Towns creates too many defensive questions for me. All too often, Edwards was absolutely awful on defense this year. He just didn’t even give effort outside of late-game settings. In those late-game settings, he was good. But he turned it to the off switch typically for the first 35 minutes of each game, and that’s not quite good enough for what this roster needs. Having said that, I do think there is a real case for him. He’s a terrific scoring option as a 2-guard who fits the best from a roster perspective among the high-upside players in this class. He theoretically has the skillset to play both on or off the ball, which would go well with Russell.

Edwards averaged 19.1 points this year, but did so on pretty terrible efficiency because his shot quality and shot selection was very poor. He was all too happy to pull-up from distance. On one hand, those shots will be essential his development in the NBA, and he looks incredibly fluid getting to those pull-ups. On the other hand, he’s still not a good enough shooter at them for that to be an effective look. So where you fall on Edwards largely has to do with what you think of him as a shooter. He’s not a bad passer, and he’s a good finisher when he plays aggressively and drives to the rim. He could genuinely develop into a 25-point-per-game scorer and it wouldn’t stun me. The upside is probably something similar to Bradley Beal, the median outcome is maybe Zach LaVine, and the downside is Dion Waiters if the shot doesn’t improve and he decides not to care on defense. The tools are outrageous, but it’s incumbent upon Edwards now to make the most of them.

One other thing worth noting: Minnesota will have as good an insight into Edwards’ habits as nearly any organization. Georgia Director of Basketball Strategy and Video Dice Yoshimoto worked for the Timberwolves for three years prior to taking the job with the Bulldogs. There are plenty of people still in the Wolves’ front office who worked with Yoshimoto, and will be able to give him a call.

4. Onyeka Okongwu, big, USC: Taking Okongwu at No. 1 probably shouldn’t be on the table. But man, I think this is a perfect move for the Wolves. Ask any coach in the Pac-12, and they’ll tell you how awesome Okongwu was defensively, and how his motor set the tone for the Wolves this year. Ask sources at USC, and they’ll tell you that from the moment he stepped on the court for them, he was a no-nonsense leader for a team that needed it. Whatever Okongwu’s ceiling is, he’ll get there. The big question is just how high that ceiling really is.

Okongwu is the kind of rim-running, defensive big man that could play both next to Towns in lineups, as well as behind him as a backup center. He’s mobile enough to play on the perimeter and switch onto guards, while also being an elite level rim protector from the weak side. He’d fill that role perfectly. Having said that, it’s hard to take a non-shooting, non-shot-creating big man very high in the draft. Based off of what we’ve seen so far from Okongwu, that’s where the comparisons to Bam Adebayo fall apart. Bam showed some real creativity with the ball at lower AAU levels that Okongwu hasn’t shown yet. He’ll finish extremely well at the rim, make the right reads, and at some point could maybe knock down a 15 footer from the short corner. But I think it’s much more likely that he’s a dirty work combo big man as opposed to someone who develops into initiating sets like Adebayo does. Still, he can play a very valuable role doing that in Minnesota, and his shooting would be less of an issue next to Towns in the frontcourt. If the Wolves decide to trade down into the 3 through 6 range, I think he would be my target.

5. Obi Toppin, big, Dayton: Toppin was my pick for national player of the year, a 6-foot-9 offensive dynamo who is everything that teams look for in a modern big. He can shoot, sky far above the rim and finish at an exceedingly high level. He can pass on the move out of short rolls, and he can pass from a standstill on the block. He can attack closeouts with his game off the dribble. Basically, anything you need a big man to do in the modern NBA offensively, Toppin is capable of doing it. The defensive side of the floor is a bigger question though, and it’s why I probably would not have Toppin particularly high on my option list for the Wolves despite the fact that he plays a position of need at the 4 and was my pick for National Player of the Year in college hoops. He’s not a particularly quick-footed guy, and his hip flexibility isn’t awesome when trying to stay in front of guards. He’s a reasonable weak-side rim protector, but I don’t know that I trust him to be a full-stop backline guy. So even though I have Toppin at No. 3 on my personal board, and he fills a need, I think I’d go a different direction unless I traded down and he was there around No. 7 or so.

6. Deni Avdija, wing/forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv: I’m not quite as high on Avdija as many are, having him at No. 7 on my personal board. But he does fit from a needs perspective as a creative 3/4 point forward who can both take pick-and-rolls as a ballhandler and as a screener who can then short roll into advantageous situations. He’d be an interesting secondary ballhandler next to Russell because he plays an unselfish, high IQ brand of basketball that allows him to make reads and plays for others as a passer. Avdija’s career will come down to what level he gets to as a shooter. This season, he shot 33.3 percent from 3 and he’s never been all that good of a foul shooter. The mechanics actually look pretty clean, but the results just haven’t been there consistently. If Avdija hits shots, I think he’ll be a good starting-quality player in the NBA. But the returns will diminish relatively quickly if that doesn’t happen. I think I’d bet on him getting to a league-average level as a shooter, but I don’t know that I think he’ll be a high-level one. For Wolves fans, think of him as something of a more athletic Dario Saric who can be a better defender and make a few more plays out in transition, but he’ll likely be a secondary ballhandler in the halfcourt often resigned to spotting up. I’d probably rather have that guy in the back half of the lottery, but he’ll get somewhere in the top-six in this draft, in my view.

Five Guys for No. 17
Devin Vassell, wing, Florida State; Saddiq Bey, wing, Villanova; Aaron Nesmith, wing, Vanderbilt: My assumption is that all three of these players will be off the board. There are too many teams ahead of the Wolves at No. 17 that need a wing to assume that one of these guys falls. Any of Phoenix at No. 10, San Antonio at No. 11, Sacramento at No. 12, New Orleans at No. 13, Orlando at No. 15, or Portland at No. 16 have real, genuine need on the wing for guys who can knock down shots at defend. But if any of these guys are there, Minnesota should run to the virtual podium. Vassell is my favorite of this group, as he’s a great shooter who is also an elite defender both on and off the ball. He’s also the best pull-up shooter of the group because he’s the best athlete of the trio, although I do have some concerns about how long his release takes to get off.

Bey is the most positionally versatile of the group defensively. He can defend guards and 4s at 6-foot-8, and he hit 45 percent from 3 this season with almost all of those shots coming in spot-ups directly off the catch. He has a bit less shooting versatility than the others, but might be the best passer of the trio. Nesmith is the best and most versatile shooter, having played in a pro-style offense at Vanderbilt that ran him off of a series of intricate screening actions into catch-and-shoot jumpers. He also has good size at 6-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, but his feet are a bit slower on defense laterally. I’d order these guys in the order they’re listed above for Minnesota, largely because of the defensive prowess of the first two.

Patrick Williams, wing/forward, Florida State: I’d actually place Williams above Nesmith as well, but below the other two. I’ve listed him separately because he’s something of a different player as more of a 4-sized player. He’s absolutely enormous. Saying he’s 6-foot-8 with a 6-11 wingspan doesn’t do it justice. His shoulders are boulders on top of his body, his torso is enormous. He’s easily going to get up to 240 pounds without sacrificing any athleticism. This year, Williams looked a bit raw. He didn’t have a huge role in Florida State’s offense. His jumper was a bit all over the place in terms of release point. But he’s already a good defender, has touch, and has shown off some ability as a passer and playmaker at lower levels. If the Wolves want to take on more of a project, longer-term upside guy at No. 17, this is the project to take on, in my opinion. He fits what they need, and is physically ready to play at the NBA level sooner rather than later. If the skills catch up, he has a real shot to be awesome.

Jalen Smith, big, Maryland: Remember what I wrote about with Okongwu up there? The same goes for Smith defensively. He’s a terrific rim protector from the weakside who has great springs in his legs and timing swatting shots. He’s a good athlete who can finish above the rim. And unlike Okongwu, he can really actually shoot it from distance at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot wingspan. That would allow Minnesota to still potentially play 5-out while maintaining real size on the court with Smith and Towns. So where is the worry here after Smith averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game? His body mechanics aren’t particularly fluid, and don’t lend themselves to defending on the perimeter. He might be more of a tweener than a true 4. He’s very still and doesn’t really get good bend, and could get blown by with relative ease if teams aren’t able to improve his flexibility. But if they can, this is a great spot for Smith to land in Minnesota because he’d fill a lot of different roles well.

Five Guys for No. 33
Malachi Flynn, lead guard, San Diego State: I know that Flynn is a point guard and doesn’t necessarily fit from a need perspective, but he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Fred VanVleet since VanVleet entered the league. He’s tough, and the background regarding his work ethic is extremely strong. He’s a terrific defender who fights over screens despite his size. That would really help this team in their scheme. He can get buckets off the pull-up and knock down shots in those situations. His passing and playmaking out of pick-and-roll is insane. He might be just a backup guard, but he’s going to play in the NBA for a while and would be a strong fit in what is already poised to be an extremely pick-and-roll heavy scheme.

Xavier Tillman, big, Michigan State: Tillman is an undersized center who was one of the absolute best defenders in college basketball last season. He’s also one of the best screen-setters in the draft, and someone who could theoretically work extremely well in what will be a pick-and-roll-heavy scheme. He’d be a strong backup for Towns on a team that could use one. It also wouldn’t be totally out of the question for him to play with Towns as the screener and Towns as the spot-up option attack closeouts at a high-level. Tillman is similarly to Towns a great passer in 4 on 3 situations, and defensively would do a great job filling that backline role next to Towns. The jumper is a question, but I’d like this a lot for Minnesota.

Desmond Bane, wing, TCU: Bane’s evaluation is pretty simple. He’s an elite-level shooter who made 43.3 percent of his near-600 3-point attempts. He knows how to play without the ball, and has a quick release jumper that he can knock down on the move. He’s also extremely strong, and can match up defensively across the positional spectrum — although his lack of length gives him issues contesting bigger players. Given that the team took the third-highest percentage of its shots from 3 this season, Bane would substantially help.

Robert Woodard, wing/forward, Mississippi State: Woodard is a big wing at 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He has a terrific, powerful frame, and he hit over 40 percent from 3 this season — albeit on limited attempts. He’s also known as a terrific person with great intelligence and maturity. The Wolves could use a bigger wing that can knock down shots. Woodard needs to keep improving as a ballhandler and decision-maker, though. He is a bit of a project, but his NBA frame and shooting potential makes him a project worth undertaking, given the value of the wing position and the background intel.

Elijah Hughes, wing, Syracuse: Hughes led the ACC in scoring as the leader for Syracuse. He’s a 6-foot-6 wing who can create out of pick-and-roll, and knock down shots off the bounce or off the catch. Don’t be fooled by the 34 percent mark from 3, either. He can shoot it, he just took a ton of contested shots this season because he was the only option to create late in shot clocks. Give him more open 3s in the NBA, and he’ll make them. The big questions come on defense, but NBA teams do have some tape of him playing man-to-man in his freshman year at East Carolina before he transferred to Syracuse.

Who are the Timberwolves building around long-term on this roster?
Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell

The team has its center and point guard loaded up for the next three seasons at a price of about $58 million starting in 2020-21. I have some questions about how these two fit together, but we largely know how impressive their individual offensive talent is.

Towns has been the linchpin of this organization since being selected first overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. He’s 24 years old, already made two All-Star teams, and was a third-team All-NBA pick in 2018. He’s inarguably one of the best offensive centers in the NBA, a legitimate shot creator who has already emerged as one of the greatest perimeter-shooting big men of all-time in an era where that skillset is more important than ever. Towns was unleashed from beyond the arc this season, hitting 41.2 percent of his nearly eight 3-point attempts per game. Obviously he only played 35 games this year, but that was a historic shooting year. Unsurprisingly, he’s the only center over 6-foot-10 in history to achieve that level of effectiveness from 3 on that volume on a per game basis. Typically those shots come on spot-ups or pick-and-pops, but occasionally Minnesota will devise little actions off of screens to get him loose. And of course, beyond that, Towns’ ability to attack closeouts with control and dribble-drive ability makes him devastatingly effective against bigs who have to close out hard on his elite shooting ability. He’s also obviously a very useful player on the block, too, despite getting very little officiating respect in regard to traveling and foul calls.

Russell is an interesting fit with Towns even beyond their friendship. He is a ball-dominant lead guard whose best moments come in ball-screens, working those situations into an All-Star berth in 2019. The thing that stands out most is his ability to read the first and second levels of the defense quicker than nearly anyone else. That’s his superpower. He’s operated in so many ball-screens over the course of his career now to where he knows exactly what to do in any situation. Blitz him, and he makes a quick reaction read. He can throw live-dribble passes with his left hand at an expert level. Play softer coverage, and he’s exceptional at using his body to shield defenders from the ball as they recover, and then using his patience, tempo, and poise to make a positive decision.

Having said that, the need to take screens, then re-set and take more screens often leads to Russell dominating the ball. Also, he’s pretty limited to needing to attack at the exchange point of the screen. If you switch defensively and end up with a big man on him who can slide his feet, Russell can’t really string out that defender and attack in isolation. That could be a problem for Russell in the playoffs long-term, as we saw last season with Brooklyn’s series against Philadelphia in 2019. He just doesn’t have enough explosiveness to beat his man. Having said that, it will help him to play with a big man like Towns who can punish opponents for switching. The duo should create very real mismatch situations against most of the teams in the NBA. This pick-and-roll pairing should work exceptionally well together, as long as they’re surrounded by shooters. Overall, Minnesota now has the makings of a top-10 offense due to the presence of its two all-stars.

As noted above, I have real defensive worries with this pairing. I think there is real reason for concern about what the upside is of this duo as a core because of it, and if they can reach the 50-win level. They’ll need to be built around exceedingly well.

The two interesting young guys with value
Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie

Culver was the team’s No. 6 overall pick last year, and he struggled mightily offensively. The team selected him in part because, at Texas Tech, he had displayed a well-rounded skillset. He was an impressive on-ball scorer, was developing as a shooter, passed it exceedingly well, and defended at a high level. But man, last year did not go well largely because the jumper totally eluded him. Culver isn’t quite athletic enough to get separation without the threat of his jump shot. So when the jumper completely abandoned him, and he shot 29.9 percent from 3, teams just stopped closing out on him and let him shoot while also making it tougher on him to find driving angles. The entirety of Culver’s career will come down to what level he gets to as a shooter. He displayed some real defensive acumen as a rookie, and looked like he belonged out there on that end. He wasn’t elite, but he was solid for what could be expected of a 20-year-old. The team also used him at times handling the ball on his own as a lead guard, and he didn’t acquit himself horribly in initiating the offense.

Really, Culver is just going to have to shoot it. If he does, all of the parts of his game will likely come together in a more coherent manner on offense. If he doesn’t shoot it, it’s going to be hard for him to have a long career. If he does shoot it, I think he’ll be a legitimate starter quality guy. So how do you evaluate the jumper? Honestly, it’s hard to say. Culver took such a weird nosedive after having been a positive shooting trajectory over the last few years of his basketball life. Early in high school, he was a non-shooter up until his senior year. As a freshman at Texas Tech, he was pretty solid knocking down shots off the catch. In his final, sophomore year, he readjusted the load point of his shot and got good off the bounce. Then this year, it fell off of a cliff, and he didn’t seem to have any confidence in the mechanics, which seemed to have changed again. The long layoff could actually be really beneficial for him, as it could allow him more time to tinker with the jumper mechanics and really get them to a place where he’s comfortable and confident after having repped them out in low-leverage situations. But yeah, I have no idea on how to gauge where Culver is from a value standpoint other than to say the Wolves should keep him and hope the shot rebounds. If it does, he’s very valuable to this roster.

Okogie is a bit more simple. He’s an absolutely terrific defender on wings who is relatively switchable due to his strength and quickness. His effort level and ability to be a pest is tremendously high. He got a lot of publicity for being a good matchup physically on James Harden as a rookie, but he took another step as a second-year guy into legitimately being a positive defender out there. Again, ultimately with Okogie, it will come down to the jumper. I have less faith in his than I do in Culver’s, after he’s made between 26 and 28 percent from 3 in each of his first two seasons. He’s not quite explosive enough or creative enough off the bounce to be an on-ball guy, although he does do a good job of drawing fouls. He really just needs to make catch-and-shoot jumpers within the construct of this offense. If he can do that, he’ll be a good two-way rotational wing that can pinch-hit as a starter on a good team. If he doesn’t hit those shots, he’s an energy bench guy. He’s definitely an NBA player, though, and he’s an NBA player who brings a skillset that Minnesota’s roster currently needs to the table. You just also have to absolutely surround him with as much shooting as possible.

Who else on the roster could be relevant long-term?
Naz Reid, Jake Layman, Jaylen Nowell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jordan McLaughlin

Layman has developed into an interesting floor-spacer with size off the bench, and the Wolves will be hoping that he stays healthy this year after a toe injury cost him two-thirds of the season. He could he a solid ninth man. McLaughlin stepped up last year and has the look of a solid third point guard that can pinch hit as a backup. He’s a grinder and a perfect guy to have at the end of an NBA bench in terms of intangibles.

Behind them, I actually like all three of the young second-round or undrafted flyers here. Reid has had the most success so far, as he fits what the Wolves want from their center position from a floor-spacing perspective as a backup behind Towns. He averaged nine points and four rebounds in 16 minutes per night in the NBA. And at 21 years old, he has the ability to attack off the bounce with control, and make high-level reads. I had Reid at No. 34 on my big board entering the 2019 draft and felt he should have been picked. Nowell had a strong year in the G League, averaging 21 points while shooting 49 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3, and 73 percent from the line. He’s a shooter, not a driver, playing a game similar stylistically to C.J. McCollum. His game actually fits in today’s NBA really well given the proliferation of drop coverage schemes around the league, as he’s a lethal pull-up shooter who can operate out of ball screens. It’s weird that Minnesota didn’t really give him a chance to play. If they’re not interested, he’d be something of a minor get for me as a throw-in to a trade.

Vanderbilt is the most interesting one in terms of evaluation, at least, if only because I love the idea of his defensive fit in the scheme that we’ll outline below. He rebounds exceptionally hard, has great athleticism, and can handle the ball in the open court. The problem is, he is a complete non-shooter right now. Teams just don’t have to guard him outside of 10 feet. Improve that, and he’s a real prospect.

Salary Cap Situation and Big Free Agency Decisions to Make
Malik Beasley (restricted free agent; $3.9 million qualifying offer, $8.2 million cap hold), Juancho Hernangomez (restricted free agent; $4.4 million, qualifying offer, $9.9 million cap hold)

The Timberwolves will act as a team over the salary cap this summer. Counting the guaranteed contracts of Towns, Russell, Johnson, Culver, Okogie, Layman, Evans, and Spellman (plus a $685, 340 dead cap hit for Cole Aldrich after he was waived and stretched in 2018), the Timberwolves already have $91.4 million committed to players with guaranteed deals. Adding the deals of Vanderbilt, Nowell, and Reid takes that number to $96.1 million for 11 players. Beasley has an $8.2 million cap hold that would take them over $104 million. Adding Hernangomez’s $9.9 million cap hit takes them over the current salary cap of $109 million. And that’s before adding in the cap hits for the team’s two first round picks, as outlined below. Our own John Hollinger reported a couple of months ago that we can expect the salary cap to stay in the ballpark of what this year’s was at $109 million. By acting as an over-the-cap team, the Wolves should have access to a full mid-level exception (estimated at a salary starting around $9.2 million), depending on some of the choices they make this summer.
What should Minnesota pay to keep Beasley around? For his part, after struggling to establish a place in Denver’s rotation this year, Beasley did really flash impressive offensive ability in his 14 games in Minnesota. He averaged 20.7 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3. Most of his shots came either in transition or off of open spot-ups — and they happened late in a season that was already lost for the Wolves. On one hand, shooting is essential as they build this roster around Towns and Russell. But the degree of difficulty on some of these shots should legitimately be questioned. Having said that, the team did unleash him a bit as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, which he had relative success with as a creator and pull-up shooter. If that can be a consistent part of his repertoire, he’s more than a rotation wing.

At the end of the day, though, does Beasley fit with this starting unit if it’s going to hit its ceiling? The 6-foot-5 guard out of Florida State wasn’t in Denver rotation earlier this year because he’s a poor defender. That creates fit problems with Russell if Beasley is starting, because it gives opposing teams multiple options to attack the Wolves on the perimeter. To me, for this core to reach its ceiling, Beasley profiles best as the sixth man unless he improves pretty substantially from what we’ve seen from him on that end of the floor. Be it Okogie and Culver because they improve, or some other acquisition this summer, Russell and the Wolves need two strong wing defenders out there to try and put together a positive defense. Maybe they could play Beasley with Russell with two elite level defenders out there, but I don’t know that I quite think it would lead to an average-level defense in those settings. And this becomes an even bigger issue if the team decides to take one of LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards at No. 1, given that both players are very porous defenders and likely will be for the next few years.

The draft and Beasley decisions need to be made in conjunction with one another. And they’ll know the draft decision before they have to make the Beasley choice. You can’t pass up taking one of Edwards or Ball because you have Beasley if you evaluate one of them to be a future star. But if you trade the pick, then you should be open to bringing him back. I don’t think I would go much higher than something in the ballpark of four years, $47 million (or so) for Beasley, but I’d start lower than that in terms of years. If he’d be willing to take three years, $36 million, that’s a win. That’s a contract that can have value long-term as a trade asset even if he’s coming off the bench and playing a lot of minutes, but it’s not one that cripples you if the defense never improves because it should be movable. In that vein, I wonder if Beasley becomes an interesting sign-and-trade target this summer. He’s young, he’s an interesting shooter, and he did flash a big close to the season. Could someone decide to value him extensively, and then allow Minnesota to work out a sign-and-trade involving draft picks, a la the Malcolm Brogdon deal last summer?

Hernangomez is not necessarily a must-keep. He was solid in his minutes for Minnesota, averaging 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds while hitting 42 percent from 3. Again though, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much of his shooting success was based on low-stakes games versus actual improvement over the last year given that he was out of Denver’s rotation. There is a chance that Hernangomez could prove to be valuable. He does have a good shooting stroke, and he’s smart positionally on defense — albeit a bit slow-footed. But he just hasn’t gotten a chance to prove it over the long-haul yet because of his poor run with injuries. To me, a shorter term deal makes more sense here. Maybe three years, $17 million with a third year team option? Again, that’s a deal that doesn’t cripple you going forward, and it’s better than him taking the qualifying offer unless he thinks he has substantial upside to get up into the eight-figure range.

A big part of my hesitancy on Beasley and Hernangomez also has to do with roster flexibility that we’ll answer here in the next question…

Other Offseason Questions to Answer Before the Draft
Should the Wolves lock in players now, or maintain flexibility going forward?
If the Wolves decide to pay Beasley and Hernangomez on multi-year deals, use the No. 1 overall pick, use the mid-level exception, then trade James Johnson for a longer term deal — all options that are on the table — the Wolves will be capping themselves out for at least a couple of years. Obviously, they can do a mix of these things, but even doing a mix would really hinder their flexibility. And they’d be doing so for a team that still has potential to finish last in the Western Conference if things broke wrong next year. If they do it right, they would be doing so with ability to make maneuvers and get creative via the trade market, but remember that they’re down a future draft pick from the deal with Golden State for Russell. Choosing to do this would somewhat limit their long-term flexibility.

It’s why I wasn’t an enormous fan of getting Beasley and Hernangomez for Covington at the time they did it. I wrote then, “(this deal) feels useful but suboptimal for three of the four teams involved…Minnesota found a way to get a bunch of interesting young players for Covington, but many of them aren’t on long-term rookie contract control.” It just creates a situation where you have to make tough decisions that potentially limit your flexibility before you’re ready to push your chips into the middle. If I was Minnesota, I’d stick to the price point on Beasley and very strongly consider potential sign-and-trade opportunities that come available. Could someone like Detroit decide that they want another shooter and offer draft compensation? Could the Blazers decide that they want another wing and part with future draft compensation along with Trevor Ariza’s deal for Beasley? Could the Pelicans guarantee Darius Miller’s deal and send along Nicolo Melli and a pick in a deal to acquire more shooting?

Ultimately, I’d want to make sure that I could use anyone I sign this summer to a deal as something that could be useful down the road if the decision is eventually made to re-tool this core again. I’d need to be able to adjust on the fly. They might not be good enough with this group to make the playoffs in the West, and need to stay flexible.

Speaking of James Johnson, can his expiring contract be moved in a deal? What other deals are out there? Can No. 1 potentially be used by Minnesota to go star hunting?
I’m fascinated by this one because I think there are a few options. One that I’ve thrown out there previously is Golden State using its trade exception to take Johnson in while giving Minnesota draft compensation for facilitating such a move. That would allow Golden State to actually increase the amount of money it could allocate to a player in a trade from $17.2 million (the amount of the trade exception) to about $20.1 million and give the Warriors a few more options in trades. Such a deal would obviously be made in conjunction with a corresponding Warriors move if there was a player they were specifically targeting. But that should be a last resort for Minnesota because Johnson’s deal is also their ticket to going star-hunting this summer. The guy who fits this Minnesota roster best who could theoretically be on the trade market this offseason is Jrue Holiday. He’s actually everything they need. He’s an elite on-ball defender who can play both the 1 and the 2 and has a complete skillset. However, Holiday likely only has one year left on his contract (he has a player option for 2021-22 that I’d imagine he declines).

If the Wolves could convince Holiday to sign an extension, I think there is real value in offering him the No. 1 overall pick in a bigger trade involving more than just those two pieces for him. Having said that, Holiday is going to have a lot of options in the summer of 2021, including teams like Dallas, Miami, and others who will have a max cap spot and are closer to competing than Minnesota. I don’t know that he’d be willing to end his prime in Minnesota. But the Wolves should absolutely call and ask to see if Holiday would prefer to lock in his money this summer given the league-wide uncertainty. I obviously wouldn’t be willing to give up the No. 1 overall pick for Zach LaVine or Buddy Hield, but if the Wolves decide to just go all-in on offense and shooting, trying to score 150 points per night, they have enough draft capital in this draft along with the Johnson deal to get involved in deals for either of those guys.

Caris LeVert also would be interesting as an asset, although his lack of shooting would create weird spacing questions they’d have to answer. Lauri Markkanen is also an intriguing option in that capacity as a spacing 4, but he wouldn’t totally fit the defensive structure. Danilo Gallinari as a sign-and-trade target using the Johnson deal and a pick would also be interesting if it’s all-offense, all-the-time. The same could be said of Davis Bertans. Again though, all of these moves risk capping out a team that might not be good enough. Otto Porter would fit well on both ends of the floor, but to give up anything truly of value for him I’d want him signed to an extension at a number much lower than his current one. Finally, if Houston decides to just completely re-tool its small-ball look in the offseason, could the Wolves get back in the mix for Robert Covington, whose defense and shooting would be perfect back in Minnesota?

When does Towns’ contract situation actually become a real issue they need to discuss?
In terms of a trade? Not for at least two years. Towns has four years left on his contract. He’s not going anywhere until at least after the 2021-22 season unless Minnesota itself makes that call. Not even worth discussing or bringing up fake trades if you’re a fan of another team until the 2022 offseason. And even in 2022, the team will then have two further years to trade him. It’s just not a thing to be concerned with yet. Having said that, I do think that Minnesota needs to focus this entire offseason toward building around Towns so that they are on the upswing and peaking in 2022-23. In my opinion, all of their moves should be geared toward the 2022 and 2023 seasons, not necessarily toward success this coming season. However, this offseason is the one where they’re going to have the most optionality toward that. Teams always have more available moves on the board than the average person sees, and Rosas is among the most creative general managers working. Even if the team is capped out next summer, he’ll find a way to change things up if the team isn’t working. But this is a summer where they have more cards in the deck than anyone else to be able to make the moves they need to in order to position themselves for success. The moves the Wolves make this summer are going to be, in my opinion, the most critical ones they make in this mini-restart around their superstar center. Maybe those moves involve kicking the can down the road a bit and waiting for a more advantageous situation. Waiting to make a move is oftentimes the best move a leader of a basketball operations department can make. But this is the summer where the Timberwolves are going to be at the forefront of the NBA’s maneuvering, regardless of what they decide to do. The moves they make this year will tell a large part of the story in regard to whether or not the team figures out how it can compete with Karl-Anthony Towns, or if this era of Timberwolves basketball is seen as another missed opportunity.

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bubu dubu.
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by bubu dubu. » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:50 pm

More and more, I believe they will be trading the pick. Rosas has shown that he will go big game hunting, and he wants to form a big three. This might be the best chance he gets...and he's not looking for under the radar guys like the Aaron Gordon types that past regimes would go after...he's got his sights much higher.

Thrillkill
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Thrillkill » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:00 pm

bubu dubu. wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:50 pm
More and more, I believe they will be trading the pick. Rosas has shown that he will go big game hunting, and he wants to form a big three. This might be the best chance he gets...and he's not looking for under the radar guys like the Aaron Gordon types that past regimes would go after...he's got his sights much higher.
Shown that he will go big game hunting? How do you figure? Let me make this beyond perfectly clear for everyone who doesn't seem to get it. Everything he has done is in service of his ego and protecting his Little Person ass. HE was a modern NBA genius with a system only he could understand even though he stole it from his boss who only did it because he had a coach who was actually the only one who could make it work. It was the system not the players you tall fool. Ooooooppsss.......we suck. Well...........we don't have the players yet. Now I made 20 trades........and we suck as in all time Wolves suck. Ummmmmm........process. Is it the system or the players? It's obviously the Little Person half wit.

HE was going to show the old school idiots how the draft works and he got played by the genius likes of Pho, Atl, Cle. Then he was so scared he moved heaven and earth to WHAT? What was it he did? Did he go big game hunting? :lol: He went one trick hunting for who? :lol: KittyKat's little circle jerk buddy.

If you can't see the ass covering self preservation in that I will let you get back to thinking the idiot has the capacity to big game hunt in the NBA jungle with his tiny little pea shooter.

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irishman89
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by irishman89 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:56 pm

Hold on. What happened with Phoenix, Atlanta, and Cleveland again? I'm trying to remember what Phoenix did with Homie and what assets they ended up getting for him that were awesome.

Corre Ricky Corre
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by Corre Ricky Corre » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:14 pm

I hope we can drop down a few spots and take Okongwu. He would be perfect next to Towns.

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UnFadeable21
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by UnFadeable21 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:33 pm

Corre Ricky Corre wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:14 pm
I hope we can drop down a few spots and take Okongwu. He would be perfect next to Towns.
I’d be okay with that.

That would also challenge Rosas and Ryan’s no two bigs together philosophy too.
Ryan Saunders is Not a NBA Head Coach.

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somuchyummy
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Re: 2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Post by somuchyummy » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:00 pm

i'll go one step further. it seems ridiculous to pick OO at number one. or is it? yes, it makes much more sense to trade back and pick him, thereby also securing more assets - maybe a player, maybe a 2021 first rounder - that makes absolute sense. UNLESS no one offers us that trade. if it's the kind of draft where teams in the 4 to 7 range are perfectly happy where they are at - and see zero value in moving up (the prospects at the top do nothing for them) - then YES, the best course for the wolves would be to just fucking take OO at the first pick. we aren't starting from scratch - we have two max players who, despite flaws, HAVE TO BE considered the bedrock of the team. players surrounding them should be the best match to KAT and DLO. if that ISN"T wiseman or edwards or ball - then HELL YES, just take OO at one and work with it. he's a terrific fit for this team. there is no law on the books that states we have to pick one of ball/edwards/wiseman.
2020 Froobchat NBA Draft - Los Angeles Clippers

PG - Kyle Lowry / Terry Rozier
SG - Khris Middleton / Shake Milton
SF - Jayson Tatum / Lonnie Walker IV
PF - Christian Wood / Larry Nance Jr.
C - Jusuf Nurkic / Robert Williams III

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