Well folks, here we are again. We find ourselves twiddling our thumbs, another day closer to the draft, but still filled with the same overwhelming impatience. Regardless, I’m here to help ease the tension in your mind due to this growing impatience over the draft, so pitter patter let’s get at her. Minnesota fans, time for you to #staywoke.
With the Seventh Pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves Select…
|9||Ricky Rubio||PG||6-4||194||October 21, 1990||es||5|
|15||Shabazz Muhammad||SF||6-6||223||November 13, 1992||us||3||University of California, Los Angeles|
|5||Gorgui Dieng||PF||6-11||241||January 18, 1990||sn||3||University of Louisville|
|14||Nikola Pekovic||C||6-11||307||January 3, 1986||me||6|
|22||Andrew Wiggins||SF||6-8||199||February 23, 1995||ca||2||University of Kansas|
|8||Zach LaVine||SG||6-5||189||March 10, 1995||us||2||University of California, Los Angeles|
|33||Adreian Payne||PF||6-10||237||February 19, 1991||us||2||Michigan State University|
|32||Karl-Anthony Towns||C||7-0||244||November 15, 1995||us||1||University of Kentucky|
|1||Tyus Jones||PG||6-2||195||May 10, 1996||us||1||Duke University|
|88||Nemanja Bjelica||PF||6-10||240||May 9, 1988||rs||1|
|45||Cole Aldrich||C||6-11||250||October 31, 1988||us||6||University of Kansas|
|3||Kris Dunn||PG||6-4||210||March 18, 1994||us||R||Providence College|
|4||Brandon Rush||SG||6-6||220||July 7, 1985||us||8||University of Kansas|
|27||Jordan Hill||C||6-10||235||July 27, 1987||us||7||University of Arizona|
|18||Omri Casspi||SF||6-9||225||June 22, 1988||il||7|
Looking at this roster, a few things jump out. The first is their youth, the second is that they lack guard depth, and the third is they lack a floor stretching big to pair with KAT. Sure, Karl has been increasing his range over the course of his impressive two year NBA career, but he is primarily a post player, and thus Minnesota lacks what some NBA teams have and every one wants- a true space-creating big. Once this happens everything else opens up for the Wolves, Karl has more space to ply down low, they can play with different sets bring him up top and creating a bigger driving lane, and defenses will have to #staywoke to the Wolves other perimeter players like Kris Dunn, Ricky Rubio, and Zach Lavine.
With all this being said, the man for the Timberwolves is Arizona Forward Lauri Markkanen.
This kid is tough, versatile, and has a great motor. Before we dive in it’s important to note that he made more 3 pointers than any other player in the NBA since 2000 (per draftexpress)With splits like 15.6/7.2/.9/.5/.4, a 63.5% true shooting percentage including 54% from two and 42% from three (he shot just over four three’s per game), 9.3 BPM, and 6.7 Win Shares on a 22.7% usage rate, this kid brings some kind of versatility to the offensive side, and is a big that you could easily run offense through. He will be extremely valuable as an outlet in the pick and pop, especially with solid passers like Rubio and Dunn, and is very dangerous when getting the ball in the triple threat stance- he can catch and shoot, is agile for his size especially off the dribble, can find the open man, and can also roll to the hoop-he has nice hands for a big man. With a PER of 25, which was 9th overall in the PAC-12, he would give Minnesota the type of rebounding (his 9th in total rebounds, 5th in offensive rebounds in PAC-12), running, and shooting big that would pair perfectly next to KAT.
In terms of the Defensive(most important) side, Markkanen isn’t going to put up flashy stats, but he will give you enough on the defensive side of the ball in terms of size & presence, positioning, and rebounding. But when it comes to the footspeed to switch onto opposing guards and wings, he is going to be lacking and you might get burned on the defensive side with Lauri. While his length can be intriguing, his size is underwhelming, he is going to get bullied down low initially, at least until he hits the weight room and puts on weight. All this is essentially saying that Markkanen will probably not be a definition rim protector at the NBA level- the awareness on that side of the ball is what is prominent in that assessment. However, it is worth it to mention that when a subpar defensive player plays in a system of a defensive-minded coach (Thibs) than the player has an okay shot at playing well on that side of the ball within that specific system. Again, will he be serviceable on defense? Yes. Does he have potential to wake up on that side of the ball? Sure. But it is more likely to not happen than it is to happen, and lucky for the T-Wolves, they have protection behind/in front of him in Towns and Deng that would make that weakness less glaring.
Again, the draft is all about whether or not each team is convinced the positives outweigh the risks, and when asked that question about Markkanen and Minnesota it is a little bit murkier-he is one of the more interesting and mysterious players in this draft, but I say why not take a chance? It’s hail mary season, so #staywoke.