Why the Minnesota Timberwolves NEED to be competitive this season

By Andrew Buller-Russ
Apr 11, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Minnesota Timberwolves reveal their new logo in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

At last season’s trade deadline, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a huge splash to get in the good graces of both Karl-Anthony Towns and their fans. In doing so, they traded the ever-so inconsistent Andrew Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors for D’Angelo Russell.

There were several other moving parts included in that trade. One of them included a future Timberwolves draft pick heading to the Warriors. 

That pick is top-three protected in 2021 and completely unprotected after that. This meansthat if the Wolves end up with a pick falling somewhere in 1-3 after 2021’s NBA Draft Lottery, the pick would convey to the Warriors.

If the Wolves end up with the fourth pick or anything later, the pick stays with them.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Timberwolves, check out #Timberwolves rumors, rankings, and news here.

What if the Wolves don’t give up their pick in 2021?

In 2022, if the pick has not already been conveyed to the Warriors, no matter how good or bad the Wolves do, the pick goes directly to Golden State.

Thus, the Timberwolves simply cannot afford to be a bottom dweller in the 2020-2021 NBA season.

How can the Minnesota Timberwolves become contenders?

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley
Mar 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley (5) goes to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) and guard Lonzo Ball (2) defend during the second half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The best and most efficient way for the Minnesota Timberwolves to avoid things getting more embarrassing in the future is by nailing the 2020 NBA Draft.

Of course, there are several ways to do that. For them to sustain long-term success and turn into a true contender, they must draft a star with their first pick. 

Sure, they could attempt to package several of their assets to bring in an impact player who can help them right away as they did with Malik Beasley. However, that is easier said than done. Players who can instantly come into a new atmosphere and drop 20.7 PPG don’t grow on trees. The fact that Gersson Rosas and crew identified and nailed the Beasley trade is incredible, but we can’t expect that to happen each time we make a deal.

Related: Minnesota Timberwolves rumors

What move makes the most sense for the Timberwolves’ future?

The best way to take a giant leap as a franchise is by developing draft picks into stars and superstars. Getting a player under a cheaper contract for a few years and getting their bird rights goes a long way toward ensuring your team has a chance to keep your new superstar around for several years to come. Look at the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite rumors each year, he appears to be there to stay.

If the scouts are confident in their work leading up to this draft, and if the Wolves’ top brass are all in agreement on a prospect, the franchise could take off in a positive direction. 

Forming a young big three consisting of Towns, Russell, and a top draft prospect, they could be a force for the foreseeable future. Adding in a fringe-star like Beasley, and you have a very potent quartet of talent, all on the same age timeline.

That’s why, if you are a Timberwolves fan, you should be rooting for your team to make a selection with their first pick and not trade it away for a proven, aging commodity like a Victor Oladipo. You never know, they could be drafting the next Dwyane Wade or Luka Dončić.