MINNEAPOLIS — The Timberwolves suffered another disappointing loss in the NBA Draft Lottery, falling a spot from No. 10 during Tuesday, May 14’s made-for-TV event.
Some had hoped a new lottery system with more level odds would help a team such as Minnesota jump into the top four slots, and it did — the Lakers, who had the NBA’s 11th-worst record, jumped up to No. 4.
Actually, the three teams that sandwiched Minnesota in the Western Conference standings — the Lakers, Pelicans and Grizzlies — all moved up on lottery night. The Wolves weren’t so lucky, so dreams Timberwolves fans had of Minnesota nabbing a player such as like Zion Williamson, Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett are officially dead.
Still, there will be talent on the board when new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas makes his first selection at No. 11. Here is a quick look at a few players who might be available, and of interest to Minnesota.
Coby White, freshman guard, North Carolina
A professional bucket-getter, White is the type of perimeter scorer Minnesota sorely needs. The 6-foot-5 guard can hit outside shots, even via the pull up in transition, and would help open the floor up for a Wolves’ offense that has has been too clogged for too long.
The knock on White is his lack of playmaking ability in the half court. If that develops, he could be the type of scoring point guard that can thrive alongside Karl-Anthony Towns for years to come. At the least, he could get Minnesota buckets when it needs it most, such as the closing minutes of games.
Cam Reddish, freshman forward, Duke
At the start of the college season, the notion of Reddish being available at No. 11 would have been laughable. He looked like a surefire top-five pick. But he didn’t have a great freshman campaign, out-shined by the Blue Devils’ other star freshmen. Reddish shot a weak 35 percent from the field, and just 33 percent from 3-point range. Still, with his 6-8 frame, rare skill set and outside shooting potential, Reddish would be a great get should he slide to No. 11, based on his talent alone.
Nassir Little, freshman forward, North Carolina
Little would provide further wing depth for Minnesota. Sure, the Wolves have Robert Covington, Andrew Wiggins and Josh Okogie, but Covington’s injury last season served as a reminder that you can’t have too much depth at that position — especially in today’s NBA, where long and athletic is a winning formula. Standing 6-7, Little checks both of those boxes.
However, he shot just 27 percent from 3-point range last season, and the last thing Minnesota needs is another wing who struggles with his outside shot. Still, if Minnesota believes Little can improve his shooting and gain a better feel for the game, the explosive athlete might make sense.
Brandon Clarke, junior forward, Gonzaga
Finding a perimeter weapon should be Objective A in the Timberwolves’ long-term plan. But outside of White falling, there might not be a lot of options to fill that role. So, finding the right long-term fit to play alongside Karl-Anthony could be the focus, and many believe Clarke could be that guy.
The 6-8 forward can guard on the perimeter and block shots at the rim. Towns made strides on the defensive end last season, but placing a guy like Clarke next to him could relieve a lot of pressure on the All-NBA big man defensively, and potentially provide a solution to Towns’ foul trouble issue.
Oh, and Clarke was efficient on the offensive end last season, too.
Sekou Doumbouya, forward, France
The 18-year-old is considered raw but full of potential. Widely considered the top non-college prospect in this draft, the 6-9 forward is a good athlete who, with time, could develop into one of the top two-way players in this draft. Selecting Doumbouya would represent the type of big swing a franchise like Minnesota might need to take.