A forward out of Ohio State, Bates-Diop was viewed as a potential first-round pick in 2018’s draft, but slipped all the way to No. 48, where the Wolves snagged him. The former Buckeye standout was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2017/18, averaging 19.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.6 BPG with a .480/.359/.794 shooting line.
Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves don’t typically rely on their bench too heavily, and Bates-Diop may not be ready to contribute right away, so his role figures to be limited during his rookie season. However, he projects as a potential stretch four at the NBA level.
The Wolves are using a portion of their mid-level exception on Anthony Tolliver, but still have plenty of that exception available if they want to use it to lock up Bates-Diop. Without the MLE, Minnesota would only be able to offer a two-year deal, likely at the minimum.