The draft history of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been, frankly, god awful since its inception. With the exclusion of less than a handful of B+ or greater picks, the Timberwolves have been a trainwreck on draft night more often than not. For the first time since the Internet has been commonplace, I am looking at an “A” draft grade for Flip Saunders and the Pups. I’m still not truly sure I believe it …
I’m not sure if it is my old age or not, but the #Twolves won the lottery and were a winner on draft night?! Mind … blown
— john flesta (@jflesta) June 26, 2015
For the first time in franchise history, the Wolves held the first pick in the NBA Draft. “Times, they are a changing” my friends. With Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio already in the fold, along with the potential of Zach LaVine and veteran leadership of Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders and crew made the obvious choice (at least to me) to kick off the Draft with the selection of Kentucky Freshman, Karl-Anthony Towns.
A smooth, two way player that can play in the post, step out of the paint to hit a jumper, and play upper-echelon defense. The pairing of Towns and Wiggins gives the Wolves a potential one-two punch that could pull this franchise out of the woods. For all intents and purposes, Towns is a good guy – he is well spoken and has nothing on his resume that suggests he will fall under the “knucklehead” category that the Wolves have drafted many times over in the past.
When I heard/read that Flip was in love with Jahlil Okafor several weeks ago, I really wanted to blow a gasket. When I found out Okafor was represented by agent Bill Duffy, my head was going to explode. Duffy represents or has represented approximately 356 players that have suited up for the Wolves over the past 25 seasons. (There is no truth to that number, but it feels like it is in the vicinity.) However, the team worked out both players and must have realized what they could be getting with Towns and ultimately made the right decision. All Towns has to do now is come to Minnesota, show fans he wants to be here and care. Oh wait, he is already doing all of that …
Love my new home. Late night work. pic.twitter.com/PR0Xa1ynGe
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) June 27, 2015
The draft history of our Pups also includes a tremendous amount of selling picks for “future assets” and cash. Those “future assets” typically became cash in a subsequent move. This time, the Wolves took their two second round picks (#31 and #35) along with a future second round pick, and traded them to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the #24 pick, PG Tyus Jones.
Jones played one season for Duke and was a pivotal player for the Blue Devils in their NCAA Championship run. He also plays a position the Wolves desperately needed to upgrade, (backup) PG. The Wolves have a potential star in Ricky Rubio, but I don’t see his ceiling as high as it once was, and there is a chance that Rubio can’t stay healthy … or at the very least, be counted on to play 40 minutes per game.
Jones is a hometown kid that grew up cheering for the Wolves. He now gets to sit in the locker room with KG, who was playing for the Wolves before Jones (or Towns) were even born. That’s absolutely crazy to me.
While I would normally berate the organization for trading away second round picks, this is the first time in quite some time, the team used them to move up in the draft and make an immediate improvement. With so many kids on the roster already, there simply wasn’t going to be room to draft one or two players in the second round and etch out playing time for them.
Overall, the Wolves get an “A” from me for this year’s draft results. “Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?”