Wolves draft grades 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 23: Walker Kessler poses for photos on the red carpet during the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 23, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

The NBA draft has come and gone -- but the thoughts on each pick have just begun.

As usual, we won't know how good or bad any selection was until years down the road. Regardless, it sure is fun talking about it now.

We've culled the web for the draft grades for the Minnesota Timberwolves -- both an overall team grade and for each player (although only a few outlets delve into second-round picks). We even calculate the GPA for the first-round selections of Walker Kessler and Wendell Mooer Jr..

Let's get to it. Here's the draft grades for the Wolves in the 2022 NBA draft found around the web:

WALKER KESSLER

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer: B-. “Minnesota has been pursuing veteran centers on the trade market like Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela, but landing a big on a rookie contract might be the better path. Kessler was one of the best shot blockers in all of college basketball, winning Defensive Player of the Year. Chris Finch will throw him into frontcourts with Karl-Anthony Towns, but we’ll also see him as the lone big on the floor. Minnesota’s roster hasn’t taken shape yet as the D’Angelo Russell rumors continue, but this pick is about constructing the best frontcourt around Towns. And clearly, the Wolves want to be huge.”

Jeremy Woo of SI.com: B-. “Minnesota traded back to grab Kessler and the 29th pick, and while this was a tad higher than I would have taken him there’s a chance this pays off for the Wolves, who have been seeking a rim protector to help anchor bench lineups and deploy alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Kessler was the best shot-blocker in college basketball last season and has terrific instincts contesting drivers and making life difficult for opponents. He’s not going to defend well in space, but in the right scheme, it’s easy to see him being pretty valuable. We’ll see how this experiment works in lineups where Towns slides over to power forward.”

Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports: B. “Kessler was the leading shot-blocker in college basketball this past season and moves well with his 7-foot-1 frame. The Cavs had success last year with both Isaiah Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the lane, and Tm Connolly is making a similar move in his first year as president of basketball operations in Minnesota.”

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: A+. “Kessler was arguably the best defensive player in college basketball this past season while averaging 4.6 blocks per game for an Auburn team that spent part of the season ranked No. 1. He's an incredible rim-protector with the potential to also develop into a comfortable perimeter shooter.”

Kyle Irving of Sporting News: C. “The Timberwolves get some frontcourt help in Kessler, but I’m surprised they didn’t target one of the talented guards still available. Kessler was the nation’s best shot blocker last season, averaging 4.6 blocks per game. He has shown some promise as a perimeter shooter, but he’s a bit clunky for the NBA level. With the crop of guards still on the board, this is a miss.”

John Fanta of FOXSports.com: B-. “I can understand what the Timberwolves were thinking in drafting a big who can play behind Karl-Anthony Towns and give Minnesota length they didn’t have. Kessler is the type of guy that’s not being selected on upside, though, and there were options for the T-Wolves to improve on the wing.”

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report: D+. “The Timberwolves have been linked to several centers in recent rumors, but they went the draft route instead with Kessler. How exactly he fits with Karl-Anthony Towns is a question worth watching. Kessler could emerge as the best shot-blocker in this class, although his athletic limitations could force him into a reserve role. Adding an outside shot would be massive for his development, but his sub-60 percent free-throw shooting doesn’t inspire much hope. He at least is willing to fire from three, and maybe Towns can give him some tips. If our grade scale allowed it, this feels deserving of a shrug emoji.”

Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation: B. “Jabari Smith Jr. got so much of the attention for Auburn’s success this past season, but Kessler’s shot blocking was just as vital. He’s a monster rim protector who finished with the nation’s No. 1 block rate. He also went 10-for-50 from three-point range — better numbers than Duren, Williams, or Christian Koloko — perhaps hinting at shooting development down the line despite the fact that he wasn’t a good free throw shooter in college. This gives the Wolves a defensive counterpart behind Karl-Anthony Towns.”

Chinmay Vaidya of Draft Kings: C. “Kessler has tremendous rim protection skills, but how much run will he get in Minnesota with Karl-Anthony Towns having a pivotal role in the middle? The Auburn center is a nice player, although the landing spot is not ideal for him to start his career.”

Brad Rowland of Dime/UPROXX: C. “Minnesota has been tied to a potential pursuit of a traditional center and Kessler fits that bill. Drafted in this range, he does not have to become an everyday starter in order to return value, and that is appropriate for Kessler as a prospect. He is a fantastic rim protector with an off-the-charts block rate, and Kessler could help to stabilize Minnesota’s defense in the future.”

Nick Gray of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: A-. “Kessler ate up shots around the rim and was a really good defensive force when defending screen and rolls and pick and pops at Auburn. He took a big step toward becoming a future All-Defense center in the next level. Offensively, an inconsistent shot will need to improve, but he seems willing to work at it.”

Vincent Frank of Sportsnaut: B+. “With the Minnesota Timberwolves searching for a center to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns, some might say they found the best shot-blocker in the draft with Walker Kessler. Averaging 4.6 blocks per game at Auburn, Kessler will certainly be an intimidating presence in the paint.”

Bryan Kalbrosky of For The Win: C+. “Statistically speaking, Auburn’s Walker Kessler was a generationally dominant rim protector. But when it comes to how it will translate to the NBA, I’m not sure I buy it. With his potential mobility issues, I think he may be attacked in the pick and roll and could potentially be played off the floor when it matters most. If his shooting ever comes around, however, this pick will be more reasonable.”

Sean Barnard of ClutchPoints: C. “The Timberwolves gained possession of the 22nd pick and secured a long-term backup center. Walker Kessler is a terrific shot-blocker who averaged a ridiculous 4.6 blocks per game. His monstrous 7’1” frame is appealing although there are questions about his foot speed on the perimeter. There is a belief that he can develop a jump shot but his offensive game is fairly basic at this point. This is a long-term pick that the Timberwolves will look to develop.”

GPA: 2.67 (2.65 if you don’t believe in A+)

WENDELL MOORE JR.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer: A-. “Moore makes a lot of sense for Minnesota because of his defensive versatility and spot-up shooting. But he can also handle the ball a little bit. At times, he served as a reliable pick-and-roll creator for Duke. If the Wolves do trade D’Angelo Russell, having guys who can be 3-and-D role players that can transform into creators is of the utmost importance to support Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.”

Jeremy Woo of SI.com: A. “As I understand the situation, Minnesota had heavy interest in Moore at No. 19, but saw an opportunity for a value play and converted on that gamble here. They successfully traded back to No. 29, then back up, to grab their guy. Moore is one of my favorite players in this class and someone I’m confident will wind up delivering value as a long-term role player for the Timberwolves, where he should be a nice fit as a swiss-army-knife wing alongside Anthony Edwards.”

Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports: B. “Moore Jr. tested the NBA waters last year and elected to return for one more season, working on his body and footwork. It paid off in a big way and he was the floor general for a very good Duke team. Moore Jr. will carry that leadership to Minnesota and should be a decent backup.”

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: B. “Moore proved a lot to me in his last year at Duke. He got significantly better. A recurring theme tonight is that 6-5 guys who can make shots are valuable. He can guard multiple positions, play multiple roles and offer good effort every night.”

Kyle Irving of Sporting News: B+. “The Timberwolves reportedly traded the No. 29 pick and two future second-round picks to the Rockets to position themselves to draft Moore. This is an extremely safe pick by Minnesota, and I mean that in the best way possible. Moore is a multi-talented forward who is a jack-of-all-trades. He can handle the ball, defend multiple positions and plays sound, winning basketball. He’s a consistent piece for a Minnesota team trying to become a mainstay in the playoffs with a talented young core.”

John Fanta of FOXSports.com: C. “The Timberwolves have a major need at the wing position, which Moore can fill. But, consider the trade: Minnesota gave up the 29th pick, which ended up being TyTy Washington to Houston, and two additional second-rounders to the Rockets for someone who has some athleticism and shooting questions. I’m not sold here.”

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report: B-. “Moore paved his NBA path in a support role at Duke, and he’ll handle the same duties alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards in Minnesota. Primary scoring and playmaking are likely off the table for Moore given his limitations as a ball-handler and athlete. Since the offense runs through the aforementioned duo anyway, that’s fine. As a supporting piece, Moore has the feel and skill to make his mark as a passer, spot-up shooter and willing defender.”

Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation: C. “Moore is super young for his class, has a 7-foot wingspan, and slowly started to become the player many expected he’d be when he originally entered Duke as a freshman. Moore scored efficiently all year with defenses locked in on Paolo Banchero, hitting 41 percent of his threes and 54.4 percent of his twos. He posted 2.5 steal rate two years in a row — typically a good sign for NBA translation. Still, Moore is the type of player who always left you wanting ... more. He doesn’t have much juice with the ball in his hands, and his defensive impact never felt quite as great as it looked on paper. This is a fine pick by the Wolves, but not my favorite. I had Moore ranked No. 45 on my draft board.”

Chinmay Vaidya of Draft Kings: B+. “Moore is a lights-out shooter which helps the Timberwolves stretch the floor. He had some struggles early in the season at Duke, but his strength is hitting deep shots and he does that well. Minnesota will likely use him off the bench to begin the season.”

Brad Rowland of Dime/UPROXX: B. “The Wolves continued to move around on draft night, grabbing the 26th pick from Houston for No. 29 and some future seconds to land Moore, who is very well-rounded. He’s a very good passer with high-end feel. He also has a seven-foot wingspan and knows where to be on defense. He’s not a great athlete, leading to some finishing problems, but Moore is a projectable role player for Minnesota.”

Nick Gray of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: B. “Moore's rebounding was a pleasant surprise later in his freshman campaign at Duke. Offensively, he'll need to improve his shotmaking.”

Vincent Frank of Sportsnaut: A+. “This is just brilliant pick for a Timberwolves team that has already added a ton of talent in the draft with Auburn center Walker Kessler. Moore averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 41% from three-point range for Duke last season.”

Bryan Kalbrosky of For The Win: B. “Duke’s Wendell Moore was arguably the most improved player in college basketball last season. After struggling during his first couple of seasons in the NCAA, Moore college got better at nearly every statistical category and played his way back into the first round. If he can keep ascending the way we saw last year, this will be a good pick.”

Sean Barnard of ClutchPoints: C+.

GPA: 3.11 (3.09 if you don’t believe in A+)

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Tim Connelly on Timberwolves 2022 NBA draft

JOSH MINOTT

Kyle Boone of CBSSports.com: B. “Bold pick here, so I'll give some extra credit for that. Minott is a very toolsy player with a big frame and nice leaping ability. However, he's very much a raw and unfinished product, particularly on offense where he is mostly just a slasher at this point. The Timberwolves will need to be patient in his development.”

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report: C+. “There is some mystery-box appeal with Minott, who averaged fewer than 15 minutes at Memphis. Sometimes mystery boxes reveal hidden gems. Sometimes they’re far less interesting once the box is opened. Minott’s athleticism and high motor could yield big dividends on defense, but the game gets too fast on offense for him right now. His shot needs plenty of polish, and he needs to up his awareness, strength and decision-making, too. The Wolves haven’t solved their long-term questions at power forward. Minott isn’t close to being up to that task now, but the right amount of imagination lets you picture him potentially doing it down the line.”

MATTEO SPAGNOLO

Kyle Boone of CBSSports.com: B-. “Spagnola has long been a wunderkind dating back to his professional signing at 15 years old with Real Madrid and subsequent debut at 17. There are holes in his game -- he is an average athlete who struggled on defense -- but his positional size and combo-guard skill set make him a worthwhile flier at this spot.”

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report: C-.

TEAM GRADES

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBSSports.com: B+. “The Wolves moved their picks around but ultimately landed an elite rim protector in Kessler and a prototypical 3-and-D wing in Moore. Kessler may have some trouble staying on the floor against quicker teams, but he was an elite shot-blocker in college and can eat up minutes with Karl-Anthony Towns on the bench. Moore should compete for playing time immediately on a team desperately craving wings. Overall Minnesota filled two needs with solid players”

Kyle Irving of Sporting News: B-. “The Timberwolves used their No. 22 pick on a traditional center in Kessler. While they could use the depth behind Karl-Anthony Towns, I was confused that they targeted a backup with that pick. After their first pick, I liked what Minnesota did. Moore is a jack-of-all-trades who can contribute right away. Minott is an athletic wing who could develop into an intriguing player and Spagnolo is a playmaker, which fits a need.”

Ethan Sears of the NY Post: B+. “It’s more than possible that Kessler eventually gets played off the floor in a playoff series due to his lumbering size and inability to stay with anyone on the perimeter. It’s also more than possible that he’s instantly one of the league’s better shot blockers at the rim. That’s a trade Minnesota should be just fine with making for the time being, and you could do much worse with the 22nd pick. If Kessler turns into an elite shot blocker and starting center who has some issues in the postseason, that’s a win. Moore, too, should be a decent 3-and-D wing.”

Charles Curtis of For The Win: B-. “A lot of trades resulted in a decent draft class, but is Kessler going to be the answer to help Karl-Anthony Towns? Maybe the Moore pick balances out this class.”

Joe DiTullio of GameHaus: B. “Minnesota needed some rim protection and got exactly what they needed with Kessler, who is the best shot-blocker in the class. Moore can provide a scoring wing who can make an impact off the bench.”

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