Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 NBA draft grades
The 2020 NBA draft has come and gone and the Minnesota Timberwolves have added a few new players to their roster. Well, unofficially.
Thanks to the NBA’s free-agent and salary-cap period starting Sunday, teams couldn’t announce many of the deals which occurred both before and during the draft.
But (wink, wink, nod, nod), here’s what we know from multiple reports:
Minnesota drafted Georgia’s Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 overall pick – no disputing that; it happened.
The Wolves traded the No. 17 pick to Oklahoma City for Ricky Rubio (who technically is still on Phoenix) and two later first-round picks, No.25 and No. 28 overall.
Minnesota then packaged No. 25 and its second-round pick (No. 33 overall) to move up to No. 23 and grab Argentinian Leandro Bolmaro. With the No. 28 pick, Washington’s Jaden McDaniels was selected.
Using these reports as a basis, how did the Wolves fare in the draft? We’ve rounded up a number of grades from around the web. You can find the GPA of each pick and for the team below the summaries.
Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone of CBS Sports: Edwards – B+. “This is not a surprising pick. Edwards is a tremendous talent with a great pedigree. But I’m not enthusiastic, but I realize that any pick at the top of this flawed draft was not going to be perfect. He was not a great college player, and he drew some criticism for expressing a lack of passion for the game recently. Still, he has the potential to be a top-flight scorer. This is not what I would have done, but it is what a lot of franchises would have done.”; Leondro Bolmaro – C+. “Bolmaro is committed to staying in Barcelona for next season, which was one reason he was valued as a first-rounder (with guaranteed money when he comes over). Bolmaro is versatile and should be polished when he does come over.”; McDaniels – C-. “This is a decent spot for him, but there are too many polished players still available for him to be the best pick. He looks the part. He has the size, athleticism and skill. He just did nothing in his one college season. Maybe you can get excited about his potential and his high school production, but he simply disappeared last year.”
The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks: Edwards – A. “The Wolves took it all the way down to the wire, but eventually took the player who always made the most sense for them. The other two consensus top-three picks—LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman—don’t really fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Edwards is an elite athlete with a better feel for the game than advertised and all the physical tools necessary to become an All-Star-caliber wing. But he will have to continue refining his jumper, shot selection, and defensive awareness to live up to this selection. Those are some big hurdles for a player being taken at no. 1 overall, but welcome to 2020. You can only pick from who is available.”; Bolmaro – B. “The Wolves must really believe in Ricky Rubio as a leader. They traded for their former point guard on draft night and then selected a young guard from his old European team. Bolmaro is 6-foot-7 and doesn’t have the same defensive chops as Rubio, but he’s smart and a good playmaker with a better jumper than his fellow Barcelona product. He will need to continue improving as a shooter because he doesn’t have the athleticism to build his game around attacking the rim at the NBA level.”; McDaniels: A. “Sam Presti isn’t the only GM who loves long, athletic wings with raw offensive games and incredible physical tools. The biggest surprise of the night might be that the Thunder traded McDaniels instead of keeping him for themselves. He’s a 6-foot-9 wing who was seen as a lottery pick at this time last year before imploding over the second half of the NCAA season. His older brother, Jalen, exceeded expectations as a second-round pick last season. Jaden could do the same.”
Jordan Greer of the Sporting News: Edwards – B+. “Minnesota keeps its pick and goes with Edwards, who was always the best fit next to D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. Edwards is an elite athlete with the scoring ability to eventually become a multiple time All-Star. There have been questions about his defensive effort and work ethic, but he’s got the talent to be special.”; Bolmaro – B-. “The 20-year-old has the ballhandling, passing, basketball IQ and intensity to the floor. Not a great shooter or athlete. Minnesota must have felt strongly about him with a trade up for this pick.”; McDaniels – B+. “McDaniels can be a versatile scoring force when locked in, but he also turns the ball over and gets called for technical fouls with alarming regularity. As a late first-rounder, though, the potential reward overrides the risk.”
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell: Edwards – B. “Edwards might feel like the best short-term fit with D’Angelo Russell at lead guard and Karl-Anthony Towns at center, but there are some major holes in his game that make this look like a questionable call with the first pick. Edwards has otherworldly athletic explosiveness, but he isn’t a polished decision-maker on either end. That shows up defensively and also in his subpar scoring efficiency, where he finished with 51.7 percent true shooting. Having two other takeover scorers next to him should ease Edwards’ transition into the NBA, but the Wolves should be thinking long-term with his development. He needs to improve his focus and effort defensively and force his way to the rim more consistently instead of settling for jumpers. Edwards still has a high long-term upside with his raw athleticism and shot-making ability, but he has a long way to go before he’s a winning player in the NBA.”; Bolmaro – B. “Bolmaro is an Argentinian guard who offers playmaking ability at 6’7. He’s in a quality developmental situation on Barcelona and could be viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect for Minnesota. If Balmaro doesn’t hit his ceiling as a facilitator, he still offers value as a big defensive guard with good help instincts.”; McDaniels – C. “McDaniels couldn’t live up to his high school hype as a five-star recruit at Washington. The skinny 6’10 wing struggled to score efficiently with 51.5 percent true shooting and finished the season with 100 turnovers to 65 assists. There were better bets at this point in the first round, but the Wolves are obviously weighing pre-college sample more heavily than what happened in college for both McDaniels and No. 1 pick Edwards. McDaniels has some upside because of his size and scoring instincts, but we thought there were better players on the board.”
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley: Edwards – B. “He has an NBA body (6’5″, 225 lbs) and NBA athleticism, and if he puts those things together to become a steady scorer, secondary playmaker and versatile defender, this pick will be a home run. But if he’s only good for hollow, inefficient points and doesn’t move the needle in other areas, this might go down as an infield single. If Ryan Saunders and Co. can coach up Edwards the right way, this could be a great pick. But there are more uncertainties than you’d like at the top.”; Bolmaro – B-. “He competes defensively—addressing an obvious need for Minnesota—and mostly makes good reads, though he can be prone to gambling. While he also has limited lateral quickness and could have trouble containing elite athletes, he’ll hold his own in most matchups. He must improve as a shooter, though. If he can’t develop a reliable deep ball, he’ll handcuff the other areas of his offensive game. Still, his passing should get good mileage with scorers like Towns, Russell and Edwards around him.”; McDaniels – B-. “The idea of what McDaniels could become is wildly intriguing. He’s a 6’9″ forward who can run pick-and-rolls, score out of isolations and bury long-range jumpers. He also has the mobility and hops to be a versatile stopper who can switch onto perimeter players and erase shots as a weak-side shot blocker. But his reality is worlds removed from that upside, and he may never even approach his ceiling. Wasserman offered the cautionary comparison of Mario Hezonja, which means McDaniels might deliver some ‘Wow!’ plays but could cancel them out with brutal decision-making.”
Nick Gray of the Nashville Tennessean: B. “Two big questions remain: Will he improve his shooting? Is he a high-floor, low-ceiling player? He was dominant at times at Georgia with superior physical skills and ability to drive to the basket. But he also was the alpha dog and was allowed to have the ball any time he was on the floor.”; Bolmaro – C.; McDaniels – B+. “McDaniels’ ability away from the basket with (34% on 127 3-point attempts last season) and without the ball is the reason why he’s a first round talent. Where is his fit in the NBA? As a away-from-the-basket 4?”
Tom Westerholm of MassLive: Edwards – B. “Tough spot for Minnesota and there really wasn’t a way to get an ‘A’ here. But Edwards makes the most sense from a fit perspective. A superb athlete with a nice skill set as a combo guard who can truck to the rim and shoot from deep, he could be an ideal fit if the Timberwolves develop him properly.”; Bolmaro – B+. “Nice value for the Timberwolves, who get the best draft-and-stash player in the class. Bolmaro is incredibly flashy as a ball-handler and passer at 6-foot-7 and a solid defender. Shooting is his swing skill — he’ll be really good if he can develop a jumper.”; McDaniels – C+. “The Timberwolves take a player who was highly rated entering college but who fell off a bit with a lackluster season. Still, McDaniels has great size and length and could be a high upside swing if he develops at the next level.”
Kyle Irving of NBA Canada: Edwards – A. “From the perspective of who fit best alongside Minnesota’s young franchise cornerstones Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, it was always Edwards. An explosive, shot creating guard with a strong, 6-foot-5 frame pairs perfectly next to a playmaker like Russell to complete the Timberwolves backcourt. He’s a three-level scorer and works in different areas of the court than the aforementioned All-Stars and despite questions surrounding his defence, he has all the physical tools to be a solid defender if he locks in on that end of the floor, which is a step in the right direction for Minnesota.”; Bolmaro – B-. “Minnesota adds a savvy 6-foot-7 playmaker that brings the best out of his teammates with elite court vision and passing skills. While he isn’t a knockdown shooter, he has great touch around the rim with a variety of floaters and finishes. Learning under newly acquired Ricky Rubio, Bolmaro can work with a veteran with a similar skillset to get the most out of his untapped potential.”; McDaniels – B.
Dime magazine/Uproxx: Edwards – A-. “There is no A+ pick in this spot, but of the three big names at the top of the Draft, Edwards is the best fit on the Timberwolves. No one in this Draft can score like him, and he has the physical profile to turn into a matchup nightmare. There are questions about his drive that he will need to answer and he has to become a better defender, but he could be a snug fit next to D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. When he is on his game, he is a joy to watch — his tape against Michigan State from last season at the Maui Invitational is breathtaking.”; Bolmaro – C+. “The Wolves paid a relatively lofty price to move up just two spots in this one move, attaching the No. 33 pick for their trouble. However, Minnesota was already busy with the acquisition of Ricky Rubio and multiple selections. That opened the door for what appears to be a draft-and-stash pick, with Bolmaro operating as a talented guard with on-ball equity and impressive defensive ability. It may be a while before he arrives in the NBA, but Minnesota is loaded in the backcourt now, and they can afford to take their time with his development.”; McDaniels – C+. “Somewhere inside McDaniels there’s a dominant transition scorer with upside to grow into a shot creator and versatile defender. That player just hardly ever came out at Washington as McDaniels consistently chose to take ill-advised shots and check out of games.”
Edwards B+ (3.36)
Bolmaro B- (2.63)
McDaniels B- (2.73)
SI.com’s Michael Shapiro: B. “The upside of Anthony Edwards is obvious as he joins the Timberwolves. The Georgia product is the premier athletic talent in the draft, and he could make a defensive impact from the jump. But it’s hard not to wonder just how effectively Minnesota can bring the most out of Edwards. He displayed a questionable motor in college, and joining Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell won’t exactly challenge his intensity. The Timberwolves were put in a tough position as neither James Wiseman nor LaMelo Ball presented a positional fit. Betting on a wing talent like Edwards is likely the sensible move, even if he’s anything but a sure bet.”
USA Today’s Scott Gleeson: B. “Picking Anthony Edwards at No. 1 was the safe bet. But they didn’t take LaMelo Ball, a riskier player who could bring a huge reward. Minnesota also was positioned to trade the top pick for several other elite players. Still, Edwards is a dynamic offensive talent with score-at-will ability. Acquiring Leandro Bolmaro from Argentina was a nice pickup, but Bolmaro is planning to stay overseas for at least another season. Trading to get Jaden McDaniels at No. 28 was a solid move.”
Greg Joyce of the NY Post: A-. “It was a tough year to have the No. 1 pick, with no consensus on the top player, but Edwards certainly has the potential to be a star. He may have raised some eyebrows with his recent comments about not being a fan of watching basketball, but could make people forget about that with his own play. Bolmaro was one of the top stashes while McDaniels is still raw.”
For the Win’s Charles Curtis: A. “Love this draft all around. Edwards is the right fit for the roster right now and all signs point to him living up to the hype. And both Bolmaro and McDaniels could turn out to be great picks in four years, exactly the kind of value you want late in the first.”
Benjamin Zwelman of DraftKings: A. “The T-Wolves had a great night. Anthony Edwards at No. 1 was expected and the Georgia SG should — if nothing else — develop into a starting-caliber guard. If it works out, Edwards could be an All-Star.”
Loreal Nix of Game Haus: A-. “Minnesota was on the chopping block more than any other team in this draft and made the obvious choice quickly by drafting SF Anthony Edwards from Georgia. Despite his recent comments being a red flag for people on his commitment to basketball, Edwards is defensive prowess that is well needed for the Timberwolves to play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Rusell, with the hopes of accumulating post-season success soon.”