MINNEAPOLIS – The 2019 NBA Draft is set for Thursday night, if you haven’t heard. The Minnesota Timberwolves are set to pick No. 11 as of right now.
The NBA Draft is typically one of the more interesting nights on the league calendar, and this edition doesn’t look like it’s going to deviate from that norm. The top three picks are mostly set, but after that, there are plenty of questions and things could get wild.
“That’s one thing of the draft that I would say I do think it’s flat, in a good way,” President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said at Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference. “There’s a lot of good depth to it. So, a lot of it is the different values that teams place on talent. There’s a lot of communication. I think it’s part of our strategy. We have to examine every opportunity — moving forward, moving back, moving out. But we’ve reached out to every team in this league to see what our options are, and we’ll be prepared here on Thursday to make the right decisions for the organization.”
It certainly feels like the Wolves are going to be active on draft night, and that they won’t be alone in that sense. Wheeling and dealing are always a big part of the festivities, but in a draft where it might not feel like there’s a giant drop off between the ninth pick and the 20th pick, it could make sense to move back. And for a team that’s picking 11th, maybe moving up to find a more premier talent in the top seven or eight could make some sense, depending on the cost.
The issue at hand would be the cost of moving. The Wolves are not only rubbing up against the salary cap, but they’re also short on things that other teams want. Sure, Karl-Anthony Towns is an asset nearly every team in the NBA would love to get its hands on, but that’s not happening.
“I think there’s some years where the perception is that there’s more depth and more value, because the reality is, and history will tell you, it’s hard to trade up into the top three of the draft, even top five in the lottery,” Rosas said. “It’s very difficult. We know, because we’re tried, and will continue to try.”
The Wolves very well may select when it’s their turn at pick 11, but it certainly feels like if they have their way, they’ll be somewhere else.
“There’s a lot that’s intriguing,” Rosas said. “We’ll see if it becomes a reality. All talk is cheap at this stage until action gets done.”
No matter where the Wolves pick at, getting the pick correct is vital. If it’s at four, five, 11, 14, 20 or 25, the Wolves need to find something of value in this draft. They’ll need to bet on the process they’ve completed thus far and the player development staff that they’re putting together.
Rosas has been tasked with leading this operation, which is difficult in any draft. But this draft is one that, as he put it, is very “flat and fluid.” That could be interpreted as the talent isn’t great. Many draft evaluators in the media have claimed that this draft is far from special and leans towards a below average selection of talent. That makes it more important that the Wolves have things figured out. What makes it even more difficult is that Rosas is having to worry about this while figuring out who is going to be alongside him for the future organizationally.
“It’s a reality. It’s a challenge. But it’s a good challenge,” Rosas said. “I’m excited about what we’re doing here. I’m excited about the people we have here. Ideally you have 9-12 months to prepare for this. But the reality is we’re in this point and time and we’ve got a great staff that’s working hard. We’ve got most of the coaching staff worked on, which excites us because as we bring in this next group of players, our season begins at summer league, the offseason and development. Having that base in place is important. But we have had ample time.”
It will be interesting to see what direction the Wolves go on Thursday night, and even more interesting what direction the draft takes them.
It was reported by TSN on Monday that Andrew Wiggins would be playing for team Canada in the upcoming world championships this summer, but Rosas certainly did not confirm that report on Tuesday.
“At this point in time we haven’t been given any guidance officially on that. I think that’s something that maybe the Canadian federation can address. I don’t think they’ve hired a coach yet. I don’t think they’ve formally made invitations yet.”
Furthermore, it was reported by The Athletic that Wiggins has not given a confirmation to Canada Basketball that he will be participating this summer.
It wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to see Wiggins in a competitive environment this summer working on his game. Canada has the potential to have more talent on their roster than they’ve had in recent years.
Wiggins has plenty of room to grow on the court, and this could be an avenue to help get him there.
Robert Covington didn’t play for the Wolves after the month of December due to a bone bruise in his right knee that eventually led to surgery on April 1, but Rosas did say that he’s doing well in his recovery.
“He’s been in our facility in and out between here and home. He’s working hard. He’s on pace to be healthy and ready to go so we’re excited about it.”
Certainly sounds like he’s someone the Wolves will be able to count on come training camp in September.