Towns and Russell on court

Should the Minnesota Timberwolves trade the 1st overall pick?

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After winning the NBA draft lottery, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a number of options of what to do with their first overall pick.

While teams would normally be thrilled by winning the draft lottery, this year is a little different without a consensus number one pick.

Trading the pick may well be beneficial for the T-Wolves. Even if they kept the pick would Anthony Edwards transform the franchise’s fortunes?

Furthermore would Edwards even be necessary? Or any of the top three in this year’s class for that matter? The Wolves traded for D’Angelo Russell prior to the shutdown, so drafting LaMelo Ball would be redundant. While the also newly acquired Malik Beasley starred following his arrival at the deadline so drafting Edwards would make little sense.

Lastly, with Karl-Anthony Towns firmly embedded as the starting center, it doesn’t feel likely James Wiseman will pique the club’s interest. Unless Minnesota firmly believe Obi Toppin can transform them into a contender, there are few options.


Potential trade partners

One option could be trading the pick to the New York Knicks.

The Knicks are reportedly desperate to find a long-term solution at the point guard position and in a weak draft they could find their man. Lonzo Ball’s younger brother LaMelo is at the top of that list. Leon Rose and the Knicks have a number of assets on offer, and if they want their man they will get him.

New York have all of their own draft picks moving forward, in addition to two future first-rounders from the Dallas Mavericks and the 27th pick this season from the Toronto Raptors. Therefore enticing the Timberwolves with a suitable package appears easy enough.

If the Knicks are truly enamoured with Ball, it stands to benefit them moving up to take the former Illawarra Dragon. In normal circumstances, trading up from eighth to first would require a treasure chest of draft capital. However, with no one of a kind of a player on offer, the Knicks should be able to snag Ball with ease.

A deal could potentially see New York offer the eighth overall pick, a top three protected first round pick in 2021 and the 2021 Dallas Mavericks 1st rounder for first overall this year. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Timberwolves accepting this deal.


Minnesota won’t be in playoff contention so could benefit from more assets

Despite the presence of Russell and Towns on the roster, Minnesota is unlikely to be in playoff contention, especially with the depth in the Western Conference. Acquiring a project with the eighth pick could help bolster their roster further before likely getting a potential star in a deeper draft next year.

The Timberwolves have too many holes to be a contender at this point, especially on defense. However, they could help to rectify the problem with the pick by adding a possible defensive specialist like Isaac Okoro or Deni Avdija, who has already shown the potential of a lockdown defender in Israel.

Extra assets could help a Booker pursuit down the line

Trading back would also enable Minnesota to recoup extra capital in the event of a possible pursuit of Devin Booker in 2021. Although Phoenix made a sizeable leap this season and developed the foundation of a potential playoff team, the links between Booker and Minnesota will remain.

Booker is reportedly close with both Russell and Towns, and it isn’t tough to imagine the Timberwolves planning to find a way to bring him to Minnesota. However, the shock bubble run and his first All-Star appearance will have reinforced the belief that he can achieve his goals in Phoenix.

Things could change should the Suns fail to make the playoffs. Should Booker’s beliefs change, he could request a trade and the Wolves could capitalise with their extra capital.

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