All week at Amico Hoops we will look at different draft scenarios for the Minnesota Timberwolves, based on realistic places the Timberwolves can find themselves in. We begin with the most exciting: the #1 overall pick.
The NBA is unique among major pro sports leagues in the uncertainty of its draft process. In an attempt to curtail blatant tanking and encourage competitive fire in its franchises, the NBA performs a “draft lottery” that is weighted, but not determined, by the final record of the non-playoff teams in the league.
This means that Minnesota, despite winning 29 games to Philadelphia’s 10, still has a chance to jump up to #1 – 8.8% chance, to be specific. If that were to happen, here is how that situation may play out.
Draft Pick: #1 overall
Off the Board: None
What’s the Pick: Brandon Ingram, F, Duke – There are two candidates for the top pick, Ingram and Ben Simmons out of LSU. There is a lot to like about Simmons, especially in regards to his rebounding and passing. His probable position in the NBA, power forward, is the Timberwolves’ gap in their long-term starting lineup.
But Simmons is the type of superstar you need to mold your entire offense around. For most teams in the mix for the top seed that’s no problem. But Minnesota has three young building blocks, two of which are every bit as talented as Simmons, and one of the best passing point guards in the league in Ricky Rubio.
Brandon Ingram would be a long-term option on the wing alongside Wiggins and LaVine, providing dynamic shooting right off the bat. His athleticism and wingspan, paired with Wiggins, should terrify Western Conference foes. Down the road the Timberwolves could bring in LaVine as a strong sixth man, and in certain situations put all three of them around Towns.
Ingram will also be a valuable contributor even if he doesn’t reach his ceiling. A long wing who can shoot is a valuable role player. A defensively challenged non-shooting power forward who needs the ball in his hand isn’t as valuable of a role player. In other words, if Ingram hits his “floor” he’s still a useful player; if Simmons does he’s an awkward fit who struggles to find minutes.
It’s close, and both are incredibly talented players with huge ceilings. But the pick for Minnesota is Brandon Ingram.
What Else Could Happen: Minnesota could certainly go Simmons here. Otherwise there isn’t another prospect at the #1 overall level.