As the Minnesota Timberwolves prepare frantically for their first NBA Draft under the guiding hand of new team president, Tim Connelly, there is a bit of mystery and intrigue this year. While the results of past drafts have been a bit. . . mixed, the belief is that the Timberwolves have a new draft whisperer at the helm.
Of course, Connelly just arrived, so can he give this draft his all? Well, the good news is that he is a collaborator. That means, he will act after discussing the draft options with the entire staff and building a consensus. So he needn’t have a book of ideas, rather he will gather the ideas of coaches and personnel staff and lead them in the goal of finding the best talent and fit in this draft.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have three second-round picks in this year’s draft (40, 48, and 50). You may not be thinking these players could make an impact right away but plenty of stars were drafted in the second round. And Connelly himself has had significant success in past NBA drafts in round two. He was the architect who selected Nikola Jokic with the 41st pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. So he’s not too shabby.
The Timberwolves have three of these picks may mean that they are looking for a trade, but if not here are some players that they could select.
40th overall pick
Christian Koloko is a 7-foot-0 220-pound center out of the University of Arizona who averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game in his junior season. He was among the Top-15 in the country in blocks earning him Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. His dominance at the boards helped lead his team to a 33-4 record and a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
He is a patient big man who is dominant around the paint and excels in the pick & roll situation. He already has an NBA-ready body and great intangibles for his size. It is crazy how he is being overlooked in mock drafts. If he improves on his shooting ability his ceiling compares to Clint Capela and even reminds me a little of Robert Williams. Watch how he boxes out and uses his body to get to the ball.
Naz Reid, who has been a great backup center when KAT is out, is on the last year of his rookie contract. He will most likely be looking to get paid and if the Timberwolves cannot match an offer he may look to leave. Drafting Koloko gives the team a much-needed insurance policy and he can develop into a solid role player. He gives us everything that Naz gives us at a cheaper price come 2023 and added depth behind Karl-Anthony Towns, who has not played a full season since 2017.
His only detriment? He is entering the draft at 22 years old.