The Minnesota Timberwolves made a pair of picks, and a trade on Thursday for the 2019 NBA Draft.
It was an eventful night all across the NBA, and the same could be said for Minnesota. After the first trade was made, there was an attempt to trade again by the Wolves, sources told SKOR North. They were an aggressive team, without question.
New President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas had promised ‘actions over words’ when he was introduced, and he came through on Thursday night with his aggressiveness. He’s going to be doing his best to revamp this roster and build a contender around Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota. The 2019 NBA Draft was the first step towards making that happen.
Jarrett Culver – A-
The grade here isn’t just for the pick itself, but rather for the aggressiveness that Rosas showed in moving up from the No. 11 pick to the No. 6 pick. The cost of moving up was sending Dario Saric to Phoenix.
This move lends reason to believe that the Wolves are going to continue to be aggressive this summer. Maybe the D’Angelo Russell rumors come true, maybe Andrew Wiggins gets moved sooner than later, maybe it’s something else. No matter what, it certainly feels like the Wolves are going to look drastically different come training camp in September or when the season starts in October.
Culver has the potential to be a really nice player in the NBA. There are concerns about his shooting, which dipped to 30.8% from 3-point range as a sophomore at Texas Tech. He did mention on draft night that part of the reason for slipping in shooting during his sophomore season could be attributed to the fact that his shot selection changed due to the needs of the team. If he’s more of a spot up shooter offensively at the beginning, maybe he can be closer to the guy that was 38% from as a freshman.
When the Wolves traded up to No. 6, they did so believing that they could grab a player that could someday turn into turn into a star. If Culver does, this grade will look silly. He should be able to contribute from the start, but adding someone that could be counted on more from deep would have earned a better grade.
Jaylen Nowell – B+
Nowell isn’t a better pick than Culver, but snagging a guy that was the Pac 12 Player of the Year as a sophomore at Washington seems like really good value for the second round.
Nowell played more of a combo guard while at Washington, but could see time on the Wolves by virtue of both their lack of backcourt help right now at the point, and his ability to shoot from outside. As a sophomore Nowell nailed 44% of his 3-point attempts. That would instantly make him the best backcourt shooter on the Wolves with how things currently stand on the roster for Minnesota.
Rosas described him as a very versatile player and said that the size was something that intrigued the Wolves when selecting him. In his answer about Nowell, Rosas brought up this staff developing players that can play in multiple spots on the floor. The 6-foot-4 Nowell fits that mold of being able to play at least both guard positions.
Maybe the Wolves could have taken a swing on a guy like Bol Bol with the 43rd pick as he was still on the board, but the likelihood of hitting on Nowell certainly seems to make sense considering the injury risk that comes along with Bol.
Rosas and the Wolves have talked about using the G-League as a training ground for players in a way that this franchise hasn’t done before, and Nowell will likely be the first case study of that for Minnesota. If he turns into something, this is a huge win for Minnesota.