Despite ending the 2019/20 season with 2019 All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell on the roster, the Timberwolves finished with a paltry 19-45 record, second-worst in the Western Conference and third-worst overall in the NBA.
Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes us behind the scenes of the NBA draft lottery that resulted in some more positive news for the Wolves’ 2020/21 season, as the team nabbed the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft, currently scheduled for October 16. President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas expressed excitement about the team’s future prospects with the top pick on the horizon.
“Development is important and critical to our success, but this allows us to take a major step in terms of the talent acquisition, whether it’s in the draft or trade market, whatever the case may be,” Rosas said. “It really positions us well moving forward.”
There’s more out of the NBA’s Northwest Division:
- The Timberwolves will still have several considerations to account for now that they have the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Rosas noted that, whether Minnesota retains the pick or trades it for a veteran asset, the team will be able to build around its two 24-year-old centerpieces and some exciting, inexpensive depth like defensive-oriented shooting guard Josh Okogie. “This No. 1 pick gives it another layer of value to find whether it’s the No. 2 or No. 3 guy,” Rosas said. “We’re not this organization that’s bare and is praying for a franchise pick, which I think gives us a different perspective as we go into this draft.” The most natural fit for Minnesota among the top prospects appears to be swingman Anthony Edwards of Georgia.
- Trail Blazers starting small forward Trevor Ariza told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that his decision to opt out of the NBA’s restart to spend time with his son was worth it, but that it’s been tough to watch his teammates from afar. “Man, the word ‘hard’ doesn’t even begin to describe it,” Ariza said. “This is what I was born to do, to play basketball. I’ve been doing it my whole life. And to know my team has a chance to compete for a championship, and I’m not with them. … It burns me up inside.” Ariza also confirmed that he briefly explored the idea of rejoining the Blazers once his visitation period with his son was over, but that the NBA made it clear it wouldn’t be permitted.
- Undrafted Jazz rookie wing Juwan Morgan has proved his mettle as a key role player during Utah’s first round playoff series against the Nuggets, as we detailed last week. Morgan is averaging 15.6 MPG in the series and started for Utah’s first two games with point guard Mike Conley away from the team. He’s signed with the Jazz for a one-year, $746K minimum salary.