Wolves post-NBA combine mock draft roundup
For the first time in over a decade, the Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t involved in the draft lottery.
That means the Wolves will be picking lower than usual in this year’s draft. To complicate things further, the team traded its first-round pick (No. 16) but acquired Oklahoma City’s (No. 20), so Minnesota is picking even lower than expected.
When picking higher up, obviously there’s going to be a smaller list of players to choose from and often more of a consensus from the so-called experts.
At No. 20 … well, there’s a lot of options.
With the NBA combine being held last week, there’s always a little moving and shaking among draft prospects. Who should you have on the radar?
For the most part, those who mock the NBA draft see Minnesota selecting a guard. Now which guard, that’s up for debate. There’s a lot of differentiating thoughts on the Wolves out there.
With the draft just less than a month away (June 21), here’s a look at mock drafts from all around the web. (Note: We’ll be back with another look right before the draft to see how (if) things have changed.)
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova. “DiVincenzo was barely on anybody’s immediate NBA radar before he made five 3-pointers and scored 31 points in the national title game against Michigan. But thanks to that effort, and a tremendous week at the combine, the 6-5 guard is now considered a likely first-round pick. On the season, DiVincenzo averaged 5.3 3-point attempts per game and made 40.1 percent of them. So he projects as a bouncy two-way player who can be a weapon on the perimeter. And the fact that he comes from the winning culture Villanova provides can’t hurt.”
Reid Forgrave of CBSSports.com: Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton. “Yep, another Creighton product heading to Minneapolis in the footsteps of Justin Patton a year ago. While the Patton pick has yielded absolutely zero results so far, Thomas could be different. Thomas may be the best two-way guard available in this draft. He can shoot it – something the Timberwolves need – and he can defend multiple positions – something the Timberwolves need. Tom Thibodeau will love the way he competes.”
Jeremy Woo of SI.com: Round 1 — Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova. “DiVincenzo broke out in a major way at the combine and fortified the strong impression he left in March and over the course of Villanova’s season. It’s clear he’s not a flash in the pan, as his consistent level of focus, instincts for forcing turnovers and grabbing rebounds and ability to hit open jumpers build in a degree of safety. He was one of the top athletes at the combine, but more importantly, his athletic ability actually pops within the context of his game. DiVincenzo has to improve as a man-to-man defender and doesn’t consistently create great shots for himself, but he knows how to play with and off of others and clearly has the makings of a quality role player. He’s likely punched his first-round ticket, and seems likely to remain in the draft.”; Round 2 — P.J. Washington, F/C, Kentucky.
USAToday’s Jeff Zillgitt, Sam Amick and Michael Singer: Chandler Hutchison, G, Boise State. “Hutchison made marked strides throughout his career at Boise State, each year becoming a more invaluable piece on offense. He’s excels in transition, is a ballhawk on the glass, can hit from outside and can guard multiple positions. He’ll need to get stronger, but his length is intriguing.”
Sean Deveney of The Sporting News: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech. “Smith was under the radar heading into his college career, but playing in Tech’s all-out, blitzing defense showcased his ability to shut opponents down on the perimeter. Watch him dunk a few times, and you’ll get a clear picture of his athleticism. He will need time to develop, particularly offensively.”
Scott Bordow of AZCentral Sports: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke. “Trent Jr. already has an NBA body and can shoot the 3. He’s not a great athlete but he would fit this roster perfectly as a scoring option behind Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins.”
David Kay of WalterFootball.com: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke.
NBADraft.net: Round 1 — Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami; Round 2 — Keenan Evans, PG/SG, Texas Tech.
Hoops Hype: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami. “Walker could be looked at as a value pick here at 20. The Timberwolves have one of the most talented 2-guards in the league in Jimmy Butler, whom Walker could apprentice under. Shooting guard is arguably the deepest position for this year’s draft and the Timberwolves probably have the greatest need at power forward, but with a well rounded roster can probably afford to draft the best player available, regardless of position here.”
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami.
The Ringer: Round 1 — Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati; Round 2 — Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke.
MyNBADraft.com: Round 1 — Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA; Round 2 — Hamidou Diallo, SG/SF, Kentucky.
Paul Banks of The Sports Bank: Bruce Brown, SG, Miami.
Wayne Staats of Land of 10: Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy.
Nick Ashooh of NBC Sports Washington: Donte DiVencenzo, SG, Villanova.
Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns