Timberwolves Rumors

Timberwolves Seek Light In Dark 2019/20 Season

The Wolves’ average home attendance count of 15,066 ranked them last in the NBA. Their 19-47 record places them at No. 14 in the Western Conference. After the team made a series of deadline trades, including the transaction that moved swing man Andrew Wiggins‘ contract to the Warriors in exchange for point guard D’Angelo Russell, President of Basketball Operations Gerson Rosas stressed the importance of game play for building chemistry for the new-look Wolves.

The Timberwolves were struggling through a significantly difficult 2019/20 season even before the coronavirus pandemic caused the entire league to postpone play indefinitely, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Father Also Tests Positive For COVID-19

Karl-Anthony Towns recently shared the news about his mother contracting the coronavirus, revealing that she has been hospitalized for the past week and in a coma. Towns’ father also tested positive for the virus, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Karl Sr. is reportedly “recovering well” after a multi-day stay in the hospital, Andrews adds.

“I was told early last week my parents weren’t feeling well,” Towns said (via his Instagram). “My first reaction to her was to go seek medical attention immediately. There’s no reason to wait, just go to the nearest hospital. And after a couple days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.

“Specifically, my sister told her she needs to get checked for corona. I don’t think anyone really understood what it was, with deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can.”

Towns said he was in constant contact with his mother before she was put into the medically induced coma.

“This disease needs to not be taken lightly,” Towns said. “Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people; it just heightens your chances of getting this disease, and this disease … it’s deadly. It’s deadly. And we’re going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we’re going to keep fighting this. We’re going to beat it. We’re going to win.”

Hoops Rumors sends its thoughts and prayers to the Towns family and all those who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Mother In Coma Due To COVID-19

In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday evening, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns provided an emotional account of the health issues his mother Jacqueline Cruz is facing, as she has been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

While Towns didn’t explicitly say in the video that his mother has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Wolves confirmed that diagnosis to ESPN’s Malika Andrews. According to Towns, who had to pause to compose himself throughout the video, his mother is in a medically induced coma and had to be put on a ventilator.

“She’s been in a medically induced coma,” Towns said. “Since that day (when she was put into a coma), I haven’t talked to her, haven’t been able to obviously communicate with her. I’ve just been getting updates on her condition. It’s rough, and day by day we’re just seeing how it goes. We’re being positive; I’m being very positive. So I’m just keeping the strength up for everybody and my family.”

Towns, who made a $100K donation to the Mayo Clinic to aid the coronavirus response and testing process even before his mother got sick, explained that he shared his story because he feels it’s important that “everyone understands the severity of what’s happening in the world right now with the coronavirus.” He also expressed hope that his mother will recover.

“Dominican women are strong. I know they are,” Towns said. “My mother is one of the strongest women I know and I know she’ll beat this. We’re going to rejoice when she does.”

We wish Towns and his family the best in this difficult time.

Taylor Optimistic Season Will Resums

  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor remains optimistic the league can resume the season, Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. “I’m really hopeful. I think we’re going to do it, if it’s at all possible,” Taylor said. “This is a health issue that we have no control over, but I think for our players and our fans, I would like to see us take a break and hopefully we can get back in 30 days and finish the season. I think the playoffs, they’re just so much fun and so important to our fans and our players.”
  • Timberwolves vice president of basketball performance and technology, Robby Sikka, was well ahead of the curve in terms of preparing the team for the coronavirus, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic details. Sikka warned players to wash their hands and to avoid close contact with ill people as far back as late January. Sikka was hired by president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas last summer to prioritize player health and wellness. He’s been integral in drawing up plans to help the organization get through the pandemic, including daily checks on the players.

Heat, Wolves Among Latest To Provide Aid To Arena Workers

The Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena announced on Wednesday that they’ll be providing financial assistance to team and arena part-time staffers who have lost work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Heat owner Micky Arison‘s foundation will be donating an additional $1MM to establish an initiative aimed at aiding employees and addressing other community needs in the coming months, Winderman adds.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor also announced this week that he’s pledging $1MM of relief to part-time workers at the Target Center, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune details.

Miami and Minnesota join most of the rest of the NBA’s teams in having announced plans to assist their part-time arena workers displaced by the hiatus. A small handful of clubs, including the Jazz and Thunder, have yet to announce a formal plan or confirm that plans are in motion, but that isn’t to say that those teams won’t implement a program as well.

As Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Jazz center Rudy Gobert pledged $200K to part-time arena employees in Utah, but the team has yet to inform its 800+ part-time workers how that donation will be used or whether the franchise itself will be compensating its arena employees for lost games in any way — currently, staffers are only being paid for events they actually worked, according to Larsen, who notes that the Jazz ownership group seems “focused on job placement for their part-time employees, rather than subsidies.”

Where Traded Draft Picks Would Land If Season Doesn’t Resume

Earlier today, we explored what the lottery odds for the 2020 NBA draft would look like if the regular season doesn’t resume. We’re now applying that hypothetical to another aspect of the draft and examining which traded 2020 picks would and wouldn’t change hands based on the current standings.

Our projections below assume that the NBA will sort its standings by winning percentage in scenarios where teams haven’t played the same number of games this season. Again, this is just a hypothetical exercise — if the season resumes, the order below would likely change.

With that in mind and with the help of our reverse standings, let’s take a closer look at where this year’s traded draft picks would land if the NBA has played its last regular season game of 2019/20.


First round:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Nets)
  2. Boston Celtics (from Grizzlies)
  3. Brooklyn Nets (from Sixers)
    • Note: Could be No. 20 depending on random tiebreaker.
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (from Pacers)
    • Note: Could be No. 19 depending on random tiebreaker.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Thunder)
    • Note: Could be No. 22 depending on random tiebreaker.
  6. Denver Nuggets (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 21 depending on random tiebreaker.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Nuggets)
  8. New York Knicks (from Clippers)
  9. Boston Celtics (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Golden State Warriors (to Nets; top-20 protected)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (to Pelicans; top-20 protected)
  • Utah Jazz (to Grizzlies; top-7 and 15-30 protected)

Notes:

  • The Thunder pick would be the one worth watching closest if the season does resume. It’s top-20 protected, so OKC would keep it if it were to move up a spot or two, sending the Sixers second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 instead.

Second round:

  1. Dallas Mavericks (from Warriors)
  2. Charlotte Hornets (from Cavaliers)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (from Hawks)
  4. Sacramento Kings (from Pistons)
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks)
  6. Washington Wizards (from Bulls)
  7. New York Knicks (from Hornets)
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Wizards)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (from Suns)
  10. Boston Celtics (from Nets)
  11. Chicago Bulls (from Grizzlies)
  12. Golden State Warriors (from Mavericks)
  13. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 51 depending on random tiebreaker.
  14. Sacramento Kings (from Heat)
  15. Golden State Warriors (from Jazz)
  16. Brooklyn Nets (from Nuggets)
  17. Charlotte Hornets (from Celtics)
  18. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers)
  19. New Orleans Pelicans (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Indiana Pacers (to Nets; 45-60 protected)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (to Nets; top-55 protected)

Notes:

  • The Hawks will receive the more favorable of Houston’s and Miami’s second-round picks, while the Kings will receive the less favorable of those two picks. Those two picks could end up right next to one another, since the Rockets (40-24) and Heat (41-24) have nearly identical records.
  • The Celtics’ pick looks like it will be one of the rare second-rounders with heavy protection that will actually change hands. Boston would have kept it if it had fallen in the top 53.

What 2020 Lottery Odds Would Look Like If Season Doesn’t Resume

While the NBA hopes that resuming the 2019/20 season will be possible, there are scenarios in which the league could proceed directly to the postseason or has to cancel the rest of the ’19/20 campaign entirely. If such measures are necessary, it would mean that the NBA’s current standings will be its final standings.

It’s tricky to say exactly what that would mean for an event like the 2020 NBA draft, which hinges in large part on the previous season’s standings. After all, some teams have played as few as 64 games, while others have played as many as 67.

Teams like the Hawks (20-47) and Cavaliers (19-46) are an equal number of games back of the clubs ahead of them the standings, but Atlanta has the better winning percentage. Presumably, that would mean Cleveland moves ahead of the Hawks in the projected draft order and for lottery odds purposes. Based on winning percentage, the Cavs would also have better lottery positioning than the Timberwolves (19-45), despite having the same number of wins.

With that in mind, we’re looking today at what the lottery odds would be if the NBA’s regular season doesn’t resume and the league ranks its teams by winning percentage. It’s a hypothetical exercise, but one which could become increasingly relevant the longer the league’s hiatus extends.

For a full breakdown of how the NBA draft lottery works, be sure to check out our glossary entry on the subject. The standard odds chart for the new draft lottery format is included in our glossary entry, but the numbers in that chart don’t quite match up with 2020’s lottery, since the Kings and Pelicans currently have identical records. That tie would impact the odds for this year’s lottery.

With the help of our reverse standings and data from Tankathon.com – which is worth bookmarking for all sorts of draft-related info – we’ve listed the new, hypothetical odds for 2020 in the chart below.

The numbers in the chart indicate percentages, so the Warriors, for example, have a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 pick and a 47.9% chance of ending up at No. 5. If a team’s odds are listed as >0, that percentage is below 0.1%.

Here’s the full chart:

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
GSW 14 13.4 12.7 12 47.9
CLE 14 13.4 12.7 12 27.8 20
MIN 14 13.4 12.7 12 14.8 26 7.1
ATL 12.5 12.2 11.9 11.5 7.2 25.7 16.8 2.2
DET 10.5 10.5 10.6 10.5 2.2 19.6 26.7 8.8 0.6
NYK 9 9.2 9.4 9.6 8.6 29.6 20.6 3.8 0.2
CHI 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.5 19.7 34.1 12.9 1.3 >0
CHA 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 34.5 32.1 6.7 0.4 >0
WSH 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7 50.7 25.9 3 0.1 >0
PHX 3 3.3 3.6 4 65.9 18.9 1.2 >0 >0
SAS 2 2.2 2.4 2.8 77.6 12.6 0.4 >0
SAC* 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.8 86.1 7.6 0.1
NOP* 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.7 92.0 2.3
POR 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 97.6

* The Kings and Pelicans have matching 28-36 records and would be subject to a random tiebreaker to determine which team gets the No. 12 slot and which gets No. 13. Their spots in this list (and their odds) could be flipped.

Beasley's Price Tag Has Risen

  • The Timberwolves will undoubtedly want to re-sign restricted free agent Malik Beasley, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 42.6% from long range in 14 starts since being acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley’s price tag has risen, with Krawczynski speculating that his original projection of four years and $48MM is probably not high enough. There aren’t many teams with significant cap room but the Knicks could make a run at him, he adds.
  • While the Timberwolves’ defense has suffered by trading Robert Covington to the Rockets, they got a much-needed infusion of offensive talent with the additions of D’Angelo Russell, Beasley and Juan Hernangomez in the four-team deal, Krawczynski writes in a separate story. They now have a point guard in Russell that can score and pass as well as any they’ve ever had, a shooting guard in Beasley who can score in bunches and a solid rotation player in Hernangomez.

Towns Makes Donation To Mayo Clinic

  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is making a $100K donation as well, but his money will be going to the Mayo Clinic, which is rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response,” Towns tweeted.

Russell Not Worried About Recent Shooting Struggles

  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune wrote about D’Angelo Russell‘s shooting slump from this past weekend. The recently-acquired Timberwolves point guard shot 8-of-32 from the field against the Magic and Pelicans. Nevertheless, Russell is not worried and understands that it’s a part of the game. “Just got to kind of let it go,” he said. “Don’t dwell too much on it. Never too high. Never too low. It’s a part of the game. Just let it go and I’ll be all right.” On Tuesday night against the Rockets, Russell scored 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 5-of-12 from three-point range in a 117-111 loss.