Looking Back: This stretch of time represents a slow period for non-playoff teams. The front office is combing through tape, interviews, and information on a few hundred NBA Draft prospects, looking for an edge in evaluation that they can use to their benefit. Minnesota also saw former Timberwolves star Kevin Love advance to the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the 5th Pick: NBA.com put together a slideshow of the Top 10 players taken 5th overall, which is the pick Minnesota has going into June’s NBA Draft. Minnesota has a special connection to this pick specifically, as a number of their high-profile draft picks over the past few decades have come #5 in the draft. Kevin Love was taken 5th overall, who provided a number of All-Star caliber years before being traded to Cleveland two summers ago. In 2009 the Timberwolves had the #5 (and #6) picks, taking two point guards – Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio – just ahead of Stephen Curry. Finally, the best draft pick in Minnesota franchise history was the #5 pick, when in 1995 the Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett.
Already Climbing Mt. Olympus: Last Thursday the NBA announced the All-NBA rosters for the 2015-16 season. These fifteen spots are voted for by the media, and generally focus on stars playing for the most successful teams in the league. DeMarcus Cousins, on the Second Team, was the only player to make the list and not play for a playoff team. Karl-Anthony Towns, already the unanimous Rookie of the Year, was close to make the list himself. If they had announced a “Fourth Team” then Towns would have made the cut. As early as next season KAT may find himself on the official list of the best in the league.
If You Pass Go, Collect $200: As one of the faces of the NBA’s youngest generation of stars, Karl-Anthony Towns is making use of unique social media platforms to connect with fans and build his brand. Recently, Towns hosted a livestream on Twitch, where he and a group of friends played Monopoly on the X-Box 1. Towns’ wry sense of humor was on full display, including when he landed on and purchased Kentucky Avenue because “he had to.” Towns does a great job of promoting these and other fan interactions through his Twitter account, which can be found @KarlTowns
Next Week: The Timberwolves will continue their draft process, bringing in more players for evaluations. Although officially they only have the #5 pick in the draft, the undrafted market could be particularly strong this season as the market was flooded with underclassmen declaring early. There could be diamonds in the rough to be found to fill out the back end of the bench. Minnesota will also look to complete their hirings for their coaching staff and front office to have their team firmly in place leading into the Draft and NBA Free Agency.