The 2022 Minnesota Timberwolves draft has them set to pick much later than their usual lottery positioning after reaching the postseason.
Now, new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly will look to strike gold in the latter portion of the draft, hoping to find an immediate contributor for the Wolves’ rotation.
If the Timberwolves aren’t sold on the prospects available at No. 19, they could look to move up the board using a combination of their three second-round selections in addition to other pieces already on the roster.
As Connelly looks to build around a core consisting of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Jaden McDaniels, the team will aim to add rebounding and defense, while making size a priority. Down below we preview the upcoming Minnesota Timberwolves draft while breaking down some possible scenarios.
2022 Minnesota Timberwolves draft picks
- 1st round, 19th pick
- 2nd round, 40th pick (from Washington)
- 2nd round, 48th pick
- 2nd round, 50th pick (from Denver)
Minnesota Timberwolves draft EJ Liddell at No. 19
One of the biggest issues with the T-Wolves last season was not having enough bigs. Once KAT got into foul trouble, the team didn’t have enough size or a strong enough defensive presence to hang around, getting crushed on the glass.
Drafting E.J. Liddell out of Ohio State could quickly help solve this defensive rebounding weakness, after averaging 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in his final season with the Buckeyes. Although at 6-foot-7, he may not look the part, Liddell has some Draymond Green to his game, playing much bigger than his size indicates. What Liddell doesn’t have in height, he makes up with his length, measuring with a near 7-foot wingspan.
At 21 years old, Liddell is a bit of an older prospect, but he may also be more pro-ready, able to contribute sooner than some other prospects in the class. This could end up working wonders for the Wolves, as they’d really be relying on his defensive and rebounding abilities from the start, while allowing Liddell to continue developing his offensive game, which already saw him hit threes at a 37.4% clip.
Liddell has a solid all-around game, both offensively and defensively, and he was highly productive in the Big Ten. He won’t come into the team expecting to be a top scoring option, but when called upon, Liddell has more than enough in his repertoire to get buckets in the low post, while being able to step out and hit the three with consistency.
He appears to be a great fit at the power forward position, where he can be expected to guard positions 3-5. If Liddell is there at No. 19, the Wolves should not hesitate to turn in their selection.
Related: 2022 NBA mock draft
Minnesota Timberwolves draft includes trading multiple picks
As it stands right now, the Timberwolves have three second-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft. Chances are, they won’t use all three. If there’s a player they like who may not slip to 19, look for the front office to consider packaging any/all of their later selections to move up the board, even if it takes packaging another player out of town.
Another possibility is the draft-and-stash method. Recently this approach brought back Leandro Bolmaro, who was the 23rd overall pick in 2020. With just 11 players currently under contract, in addition to Taurean Prince’s possible return, to make it 12, plus two more two-way players at 14 total, the Wolves still would have three additional roster spots. One could be their first-round pick, but that leaves two more spots, either in free agency or the draft.
And of course, the method no one likes, could be to sell a pick to a team currently without one, like the Los Angeles Lakers. No matter what, the Wolves won’t be adding four players to their roster via the 2022 NBA Draft.
Minnesota Timberwolves trade Malik Beasley during 2022 NBA Draft
With a new decision-maker in town with Tim Connelly coming aboard, there figures to be some roster movement. Towns, Ant, and Jaden McDaniels aren’t going anywhere. Of their core who may have the most trade value, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley stand out as the two most potentially available pieces on the roster.
DLo is a starter and has just one year left on his contract, whereas Beasley comes off the bench and has just one year left on his contract, aside from a team option that could keep him around through the 2023-24 season.
The growing sentiment is for the Wolves to hang onto Russell, a player who is known to be close with Towns. This could lead to Beasley being the odd one out. Especially with Jaylen Nowell appearing primed for a bigger role off the bench.
Beasley, at 25, has a reasonable contract, with $15.5 million due in 2022-23 and a $16.5 million team option available the following season. The biggest impact Beasley has is his ability to shoot threes with an incredibly high volume, with the fifth-most three-point makes in 2021-22.
- Malik Beasley stats: 12.1 PPG, 3 3PM per game, .377 3P%
If a team is looking for a microwave scorer off the bench who won’t hesitate to launch several threes, they should look no further than Malik Threesley.
The Wolves would likely either attach their No. 19 pick or some of their second-round picks along with Beasley in an attempt to bring in a top backup big adding rebounding and size to their rotation. This essentially takes some three point shots away, trading them for rebounding and defense, while allowing Nowell to assume Beasley’s old role.
Minnesota Timberwolves draft history
Here are the Minnesota Timberwolves draft picks over the past 10 years.
|2020||17||Aleksej Pokusevski (traded to OKC)||Forward||Serbia|
|2019||6||Jarrett Culver||Guard||Texas Tech|
|2018||20||Josh Okogie||Guard||Georgia Tech|
|2017||7||Lauri Markkanen (traded to CHI)||Forward||Arizona|
|2013||9||Trey Burke (traded to UTA)||Guard||Michigan|
|2013||26||Andre Roberson (traded to GSW)||Forward||Colorado|