Timberwolves

2020 Draft Dynamite for Woeful Wolves

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It’s feeling hot in Minnesota for a change, as the Timberwolves’ front office has been cooking with the burners on high.

Executive Gersson Rosas is on a streak of success that could see the Wolves in the playoffs next year. Much to the credit of his work in the 2020 NBA Draft, where the future of the franchise was unsealed. Yet, only a handful of Rosas’ new pieces were in play: an exhilarating thought for fans.

With the 2020-21 season officially closing last week, let’s take a look at what Timberwolves faithful have to look forward to.

Anthony Edwards

Playing with physicality and determination, Edwards led all rookies in points per game with 19.3. Under Ryan Saunders, however, Ant struggled to link consistent performances together. The rook took shots at a veteran volume, but an unimpressive percentage (37.5%) in his first 31 games leading up to the Chris Finch era. Leeway is harder to give when it’s the number one pick and excuses are at a minimum. Minnesota was right to expect the most from the future-star, but his development was surely in question as Saunders made his exit.

Under Finch, the Wolves’ backcourt rotation is as solid as any. But with lack of size and talent in the frontcourt, Ant often played the three. It’s a versatility that comes with a sting, as you’d like to see him progress in his natural position of shooting guard. Only, Edwards proved he can can take advantage of mismatches on the offensive end. He made noticeable improvements with his on and off-ball presence as the season wore on.

Defense is where the disparity would come back to bite, however. Mental errors plagued the rookie throughout, along with struggles to grab boards, but the primary issue in question was Ant-Man’s efficiency from the floor. He finished the season on 41.7% from the field, jumping from his progression in the final half of the season, but still less than ideal.

As the playoffs raged onward, the number one pick has made out like Houdini to take on his first offseason. Working in silence, Ant got the chance to practice with the USA Men’s Basketball team along with Naz Reid. With focus on his defensive decision-making, shot selection and aggressiveness on the glass, Edwards can make tremendous strides in year two. And that’s after putting together one of the better rookie campaigns in recent years. With discipline, Ant can become the prodigal son Minnesota has been looking for.

Leandro Bolmaro (No. 23 Overall)

Argentinian international Leandro Bolmaro spent his season in the Liga ACB with Barcelona, but will now look to join Minnesota for the Summer League in August, if able. Bolmaro is an intriguing prospect, especially after the success former Liga ACB players Luka Doncic and Facundo Campazzo have experienced in the NBA.

His size is exquisite for such a crafty player, peaking at 6’8″ with an identical wingspan. After receiving his draft rights from the Knicks last year, the Wolves camp can look forward to gaining the 20-year-old who possesses great court vision and savviness.

Bolmaro was recently voted the ACB’s “Most Spectacular Player” on the season, which matches Ricky Rubio for the same award in 2010. The only roadblock is actually getting him to the States. The forward may opt to stay in Spain again after a busy summer and the Olympics, though this may prove to be a good idea for his continuing development.

Bolmaro is already efficient from the floor, sitting at 44.8% shooting over his two seasons in Spain. Because he only averaged 15.5 minutes a game, however, the sample size is rather small. Leandro throws up only four shots a game, which puts his role with the Timberwolves into question. His ability to facilitate would undoubtedly complement his fellow rookies, but whether he can add volume to his shooting while maintaining consistency will tell the rest.

Jaden McDaniels (No. 28 Overall)

Widely regarded as the steal of the draft, Jaden McDaniels has been an absolute score for Minnesota. The Timberwolves have known subpar defense for years, with their inability to guard the perimeter and paint efficiently. McDaniels checks both boxes, and is comparable to the 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle and McDaniels are both Washington Huskie alumni who possess elite defensive qualities.

In his second year, Thybulle made a tremendous jump in his defensive play and is inching his way to league-wide recognition. It’s realistic that McDaniels can replicate this success while taking it a step further in scoring.

With his reach, athleticism and quick feet, he can quickly become a heavily coveted 3-and-D wing. McDaniels is already proving his reliability from beyond the arc, knocking down 36.4% of his tries (though Jaden does rely on feeds from teammates for open looks). His handle is solid, but creating shots for himself is an area for improvement. With some added aggression, this could also see JMac head to the stripe more often, as he sits on only 60% from the line.

At 6’9″ and 185 pounds, though, McDaniels will surely look to add bulk to his frame. Utilizing his size on the defensive end isn’t foreign to him, but could surely benefit his attempts at getting to the rack. At this rate, McDaniels will make both the Lakers and Thunder regret trading him for years to come.

Although the Wolves have no picks in this year’s draft, it would be a mistake to overlook their capital. Potential dealings of Ricky Rubio, Jarrett Culver, and even the aforementioned Bolmaro could see Rosas mimic his success from last year. Could Ben Simmons find himself in Minnesota? Maybe Myles Turner or Danilo Gallinari are acquired to fill needs in the front court.

When it comes to Gersson Rosas, you simply never know.

Follow us on Twitter @TWolvesLead for the latest Timberwolves news and insight. 

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