Minnesota has a No. 1 pick on the roster in Karl Anthony Towns. They had another in Andrew Wiggins but traded him for D’Angelo Russell.
They are about to add another top pick.
Minnesota, which had a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 pick, did just that — the Timberwolves won the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery.
The Golden State Warriors pick second (if they don’t trade the pick for more veteran help), and the Charlotte Hornets jumped up to third.
Landing the top pick gives Gersson Rosas — the man in charge of basketball operations now in Minnesota — a chance to add depth, and maybe a No. 3 option, around Towns and point guard D’Angelo Russell, who Minnesota just traded for this season.
That might make Anthony Edwards — the 6’5″ two guard out of Georgia the most likely No. 1 pick. He would fit a role and is at or near the top of most draft boards. Or, does Rosas fall in love with the potential — and the risks — of LaMelo Ball, who plays Russell’s position (but Russell is arguably better off the ball). Or, does he take James Wiseman, the best big man in the draft, but who plays Towns’ position.
Rosas emphasized he would take the most talented player, regardless of position.
Rosas enters some risky territory with the No. 1 pick. There is no clear-cut, Zion Williamson-like, lock top pick in this draft. Rosas knows better than to draft just for fit and need, he needs to get the most talented player on the board. But how can you decide who that is during a pandemic, with no conference tournaments, no NCAA Tournament, no in-person workouts, and less tape than most seasons?
“This is not about one year of scouting,” Rosas said. “We are fortunate our staff is very well versed with all these prospects.”
Here are the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery results and the order of picks through No. 14.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
2. Golden State Warriors
3. Charlotte Hornets
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Detroit Pistons
8. New York Knicks
9. Washington Wizards
10. Phoenix Suns
11. San Antonio Spurs
12. Sacramento Kings
13. New Orleans Pelicans
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
These teams will select players in what is considered an unimpressive draft class at the top, but with potential rotation players deep into the first round if teams have a good development program. One scout told NBC Sports he would be more comfortable picking in the second half of this lottery rather than at the top.
The Timberwolves, however, will happily take that No. 1 pick.
Some other notes from the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery:
• The Draft itself is scheduled for Oct. 16.
• However, it appears unlikely that free agency will begin two days later, as the league had scheduled initially, as part of a general move to start the season later.
“Dec. 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on the draft lottery broadcast. “Our number one goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is, working with the players’ association, if we could push back a little longer, and it increased the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”
• Knicks fans watched their team slide down again (they finished with the sixth-worst record), but falling to No. 8 is not a crazy result, they had a 20.6% chance of this happening (one-in-five).
• With Boston getting Memphis’ pick at 14 this season, the Grizzlies keep their pick next season.
• Remember when Boston had roughly 2,347 future first-round picks stashed away? No longer, getting the Grizzlies’ pick at 14 means they are caught up on future draft picks. Looking at Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they did alright with those picks.