Believe it or not but the NBA draft is four weeks (minus one day) away.
The draft order is set. The combine is over.
The Minnesota Timberwolves own the No. 19 pick in this year’s selection process – the lowest they’ve had since 2018. The Wolves also own three second-round picks (Nos. 40, 48 and 50).
Will new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly look to make some draft-day moves? It’s hard to see Minnesota using all three second rounders (unless it’s to draft-and-stash). Also, will he elect to get a big man to take some pressure off Karl-Anthony Towns or perhaps a future D’Angelo Russell replacement?
There’s plenty of options – although many mock drafts are drifting towards one particular player.
With roughly a month before the draft, here’s what the mocks around the web have the Wolves selecting come June 23 (note: some mocks do just a first round, others both first and second):
Jeff Goodman of Stadium: E.J. Liddell, PF, Ohio State. “The T-Wolves are building around Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, and Liddell is a big, strong, undersized forward who can step out and make shots and also score from mid-range and around the basket. He possesses toughness and will be able to work well alongside Towns.”
Kyle Boone of CBSSports.com: Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite. “Hardy's stock slipped a bit this season with the G League Ignite -- he was inefficient and his decision-making left something to be desired on the court -- but you have to love his overall production. He's a gifted scorer who is only 19 years old and has plenty of room to grow and develop. Still like his talent as a definite first-rounder.”
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky. “Washington mostly played off the ball in his one season at Kentucky but projects as a lead guard in the NBA. Ankle injuries limited him in the second half of the season but the one-and-done Wildcat showed enough before he was hampered to solidify his status as a top-20 pick.”
David Cobb of CBSSports.com: Dyson Daniels, SG, G League Ignite.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com: Round 1 -- Walker Kessler, C, Auburn. “The Timberwolves made strides this season but need to find the right mix of pieces around Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. At some point, they might want to think about pairing Towns with a gigantic center to help stabilize their defense for stretches of the game and take some pressure off of him. Kessler would be an interesting experiment here, particularly if he can be a consistent floor-spacer, and he’d give Minnesota’s frontcourt some much-needed extra size and backbone at the rim. He was the most prolific shot-blocker in college basketball last season, brings fairly good athleticism to his position and should be in play for teams in the mid-to-late first round.”; Round 2a – Jalen Williams, F, Santa Clara; Round 2b – Jean Montero, PG, Overtime Elite; Round 2c – Ismael Kamagate, C, Paris.
Brett Siegel of SI.com/Fastbreak: Round 1 -- Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite. “Drafting Jaden Hardy, a high-potential guard that has shown flashes of being a primary ball-handler gives Minnesota a possible long-term replacement for Russell should they look to move on from him in the near future. While not a traditional guard, Hardy has no problem creating for himself or others and there are definitely aspects of his game that resemble traits of an NBA All-Star. Having their core under contract for the 2022-23 season, Hardy could prove to be a very valuable bench player for the Timberwolves right away and this could end up being the best scenario for him given that he gets to learn from All-Stars and other high-level talents this team has. Keep an eye on Jaden Hardy’s draft stock heading into June.”; Round 2a – Dalen Terry, SG/SF, Arizona; Round 2b – Justin Lewis, SF/PF, Marquette; Round 2c – Orlando Robinson, C, Fresno State.
Kyle Irving of the Sporting News: TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky. “Washington was once a projected top-10 pick before injuries and inconsistency slowed down his freshman season. The Timberwolves need a reserve guard behind D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards and if a talent like Washington is available this late, you have to take a swing. Washington is a capable pick-and-roll ball-handler and a solid shooter, but he can be a streaky scorer. His ability to play on or off the ball makes him flexible for the team that selects him.”
Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports: Round 1 – Ousmane Dieng, SF, NZ Breakers; Round 2a – Jaylin Williams, F, Arkansas; Round 2b – JD Davison, G, Alabama; Round 2c – Orlando Robinson, F, Fresno State.
Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation: Kendall Brown, PF, Baylor. “Brown is a nuclear athlete with immense defensive versatility who showcased impressive feel on the offensive end to emerge as a potential lottery pick. A 6’8, 205-pound forward with a 6’10 wingspan, Brown is a jaw-dropping leaper with great speed who is still learning how to leverage his physical gifts into two-way production. Brown’s calling card will be his defense. He’s excellent guarding at the perimeter for a player his size, showing the ability to stick with guards and quickly turn defense into offense by getting into the passing lanes. He’s also big enough to hold up defensively in the paint on switches. On offense, Brown impacts the game with his passing, transition scoring, offensive rebounding, and cutting. He’s a blur in the open floor who finished in the 83rd percentile as a transition scorer, per Synergy Sports. The hole is Brown’s game is as a shooter. He hit 34.1 percent of his threes this year on low volume, but is often reluctant to fire from the outside. Brown was a super-efficient scorer as a freshman (63 percent true shooting) mostly thanks to his above-the-rim finishing around the basket, but he’ll need to prove he can space the floor to provide peak value in the NBA.”
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic ($): Round 1 -- Blake Wesley, SG, Notre Dame. “Wesley is a shot creator with dynamic, powerful athleticism who can attack out of ball screens and get open looks. The act of getting past the first level of defenders and collapsing the defense is something he has down pat. The problem for Wesley right now is the final product. He struggled immensely after college coaches got eyes on him and devised schemes to slow him down. Over his final 17 games of the season, Wesley shot just 36 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3. His NCAA Tournament appearances were a good encapsulation of this trend, as he shot 15-for-45 over three games and looked a bit overwhelmed at times. Having said that, his ceiling is high. His blend of powerful strides and suddenness, as well as his size, gives him an awful lot of potential once he gets that final product figured out.”; Round 2a – Peyton Watson, SG/SF, UCLA; Round 2b – Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest; Round 2c – Jabari Walker, F, Colorado.
Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire: TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky. “Washington emerged as a strong guard who can play on or off the ball, which would solidify the Timberwolves’ backcourt depth. He established himself as a strong three-level scorer with great court vision when the ball is in his hands, something Minnesota could certainly use. He takes care of the ball and should have no problem running a second unit in the NBA.”
Danny Cunningham of Complex: Kendall Brown, PF, Baylor. “Kendall Brown is one of the better athletes in this draft and can make plenty of plays above the rim on both ends of the floor. He throws down thunderous dunks and can block the occasional shot but won’t be confused with a rim protector by any means. Brown shot the ball relatively well while at Baylor but didn’t shoot the ball that often from deep. For the Bears he finished the season with just 41 attempts from deep but did connect on 34 percent of them. If that number can be improved upon or even kept in that neighborhood that will be good enough to crack an NBA rotation, but the hesitation to shoot needs to disappear.”
Zak Henshaw of NBC Sports Edge: TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky. “More of a score-first guard but has the ability to find teammates and rebound effectively. Washington’s game sets him up as a solid points-league player thanks to his offense, especially if he lands with the run-and-gun Timberwolves. He might struggle to find standard-league value in 9-cat formats right off the bat due to his score-first nature, but there's certainly room for him to grow.”
Joe DiTullio of The Game Haus: Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee.
Andrew Norton of Lineups.com: Nikola Jovic, SF/PF, Mega Mozzart/Serbia.
Kyle Williams of Fantasy Pros: TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky.
NBADraft.net: Round 1 – Dyson Daniels, PG/SG, G League Ignite; Round 2a – Iverson Molinar, PG, Mississippi State; Round 2b – Yannick Nzosa, C, Congo; Round 2c – Trevion Williams, PF, Purdue.
NBADraftRoom.com: Round 1 -- TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky. “TyTy was banged up late in the season but looked like a top 10 pick before that. This would be great value here.”; Round 2a – MarJon Beauchamp, SG, G League Ignite; Round 2b – Caleb Houstan, PF, Michigan; Round 2c – Trevion Williams, PF, Purdue.
Tankathon: Round 1 -- TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky; Round 2a – Leonard Miller, SF, Fort Erie International Academy; Round 2b – Alondes Williams, SG/PG, Wake Forest; Round 2c – Justin Lewis, SF/PF, Marquette.
TyTy Washington, SG, Kentucky - 7
Kendall Brown, PF, Baylor - 2
Dyson Daniels, SG, G League Ignite - 2
Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite - 2
Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee - 1
Ousmane Dieng, SF, NZ Breakers - 1
Nikola Jovic, SF/PF, Mega Mozzart/Serbia - 1
Walker Kessler, C, Auburn - 1
E.J. Liddell, PF, Ohio State - 1
Blake Wesley, SG, Notre Dame - 1