Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is behind us and Minnesota knows where it will be picking in the first round -- dropping one spot in the lottery to No. 7 overall -- just who could be on the Wolves' radar? If you had dreams (or nightmares) of Minnesota adding Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson … well, we're not including them here as it would take a miracle for any of those three to drop to the Wolves' pick. That being said, here's seven players who might make sense for Minnesota in the first round (listed alphabetically).
OK, we probably could have included Fox with the trio mentioned above. It is highly unlikely that the point guard falls to No. 7, but, hey, you never know. An electric point guard, Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in his one season at Kentucky (in 29.6 minutes). Fox is more of a finisher than pure shooter (24.6 percent from 3), but is a good defender and at 6-foot-3 he could take advantage of smaller point guards inside. His quickness plays very well in an up-tempo offense.
USA TODAY SportsNelson Chenault
A former guard who had a late growth spurt, growing six inches to his present 6-foot-10. As a result, is very athletic and can run the floor and handle the ball. Played one season at Florida State where he averaged 12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals in 26.2 minutes. He shot 59.3 percent from the field and showed an outside touch, making 34.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. A good defender in college, he might need to bulk up for the NBA grind (listed at 210 pounds). A bit of a project but has an incredibly high upside.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Another collegiate freshman, the 7-foot, 230-pound Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for Arizona last season. Markkanen is not your prototypical big man -- he is more of a stretch-4, making 42.3 percent of his 3-point attempts while showing off NBA range. He would definitely make life a little easier on the inside for someone like Karl-Anthony Towns. Markkanen's defense is a work in progress, but has potential.
USA TODAY SportsKelvin Kuo
If you think Minnesota needs a shooting guard, this is the guy to hope drops to No. 7. While he's a tad short for a 2-guard (6-foot-3), he was the main option on a loaded Kentucky team and didn't disappoint. A very athletic guard who can score from anywhere on the court and in a variety of fashion (jumpers, slashing, etc.), Monk averaged 19.8 points per game last season as a freshman as he was named the SEC Player of the Year. Monk shot 45.0 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3 and also made 82.2 percent of his free-throw attempts. The question is, will he even fall to Minnesota? Moving down one slot could hurt the Wolves in this instance.
USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Talk about a projection. Ntilikina is only 18 years old and averaged just 5.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 18.2 minutes per game for Strasbourg this past season. But NBA scouts are drooling over his incredible upside. Ntilikina is 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, the latter is unprecedented for a point guard. He has shown to be a good shooter in international tournament competition and he finished this past year making 42.9 percent of his 3 attempts and 51.9 percent of his 2s. New York reportedly has its eyes on Ntilikina … but the Knicks have the No. 8 pick.
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If you are looking for the best pure passer in the draft, Smith is your man. Coming off a torn ACL, Smith averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals in his lone season at North Carolina State (yup, another freshman) and was tabbed the ACC's top newcomer. While Smith shot 45.5 percent from the field and made 35.9 percent of his 3s, his outside shot needs some work, but he is an elite athlete and slasher.
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Tatum, who played one year at Duke, is likely go to in the top five. However, if there's one player who could slip out of that range to the Wolves, it is the 6-foot-8 small forward (although he played more at power forward with the Blue Devils). Tatum might not be a short-term need for Minnesota, but his potential as a two-way player is appealing. In his one season at Duke, Tatum averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks. He likely will not be a floor-stretcher, though, shooting just 34.2 percent from 3-point range. His offensive game -- right now -- is likely best suited for a half-court style.