Rounding Up the Timberwolves Draft Grades - 3.52 GPA (links!)

The consensus that Timberwolves had themselves a pretty good draft is virtually universal. The Wolves needed wing depth as they have no one after Wiggins and Butler that can slide between shooting guard and small forward. They needed guys who played defense as they were 22nd to 27th in defense last year (depending on where you look). They needed guys who could (and would!!!!) shoot 3-pointers as they were dead last in makes and attempts in the NBA.

In #20 pick SG Josh Okogie from Georgia Tech and #48 pick F Keita Bates-Diop from Ohio State, the Timberwolves definitely got two wings. Okogie can guard and play 1-3 and probably small ball 4 in time with his huge wingspan, excellent quickness, and already strong body. Bates-Diop should be able to guard 3-5 with his length and smarts. Both should be able to play defense right away and are known as hard-nosed, cerebral players. Guys tailor-made for Tom Thibodeau. Both had so-so blocks + steals and struggled to create for others, but both also rebounded tremendously for their positions.

Both have supposed questions about their shots, but that's on scouting and eye-test as both have strong profiles for shooting translating to the NBA. Okogie took 4.1 3FGA/36 and made 38% while shooting 82% on about 1000 free throws (6.7/36). Bates-Diop took 5.9 3FGA/36 and made 36% while shooting 79% from FT on 4.5 FTA/36.

I think it's smart that they took guys who are defense first and might only need to refine a few things rather than great shooters who have questions about their defense. Glad the Timberwolves agreed.

Now, on to the experts! (note: some sites only do first rounds, but I'm giving a B+ to KBD for those who don't)

Blog-a-Bull and SBNation's own Ricky O'Donnell : Okogie - A ; KBD - default B+

I'm a big Okogie fan, who I listed as one of my top sleepers in this class. He's a high-motor defensive wing at 6'4" with a 7-foot wingspan, and he also hit 38 percent of his threes in each of his first two years at Georgia Tech.

He measured 6'4.5" in shoes while tying for the highest max vertical and having the fastest 3/4-court sprint. If his legs, spine, neck, and head all combined to make him 2" taller, they'd probably be calling him a 6'7" wing that's the best athlete in the draft... but with excellent production.

Bleacher Reports Adam Fromal : Okogie - A ; KBD - B+

Obi Won Okogie

Though he could find success as a cutter and has potential to develop into a spot-up threat, he's a first-round prospect because of his well-rounded work on the preventing end. Need an off-ball stop? He's always focused and excels at denying the ball to team's [sic] leading scoring scoring threats. Moreover, he knows when to rotate away from his assignment and should rack up deflections at the next level. Buoyed by a 7'0" wingspan and quick-twitch instincts that lead to advanced levels of defensive awareness, he may be even better in on-ball scenarios.

Okogie may be the antithetical wing to Andrew Wiggins, and that's exactly what Minnesota needs.

Sounds like what I said. If Okogie's shooting translates, and he can create for others, he's going to be a legitimate starting shooting guard. As far as sleepers who can grow into stars, I'd rather have an Okogie that has 5-6 assists and shoots 35%, but this version helps more right away.


Bates-Diop is one of the smarter players in this class, and that intelligence oozes from his pores when he plays. He understands the nuances of positional defense, already knows when to switch advantageously and always fills the right spaces on offense, even when he's not rewarded with shooting opportunities. Cliche as it may be, he's good at the little things.

Even if his shooting stroke doesn't go with him from Columbus, Ohio, to Minneapolis, he has the tools necessary to contribute in a plethora of areas and become a convincing glue guy for the second unit.

4-year smart player from a big program? sounds like Thibodeau brought his Bulls instincts over. But then, you can't skip a guy at 48 that you may have been considering at 20.

Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo : Okogie - A- ; KBD - default B+

Minnesota, and Tom Thibodeau in particular, loves tough, athletic perimeter players, and that’s exactly what Okogie is. He offers a lot more upside than some of the guys in this part of the draft. Although he will require some polish to reach his full potential, given the Wolves’ need for a defensive-minded player to take some pressure off their stars, he fits that bill nicely. It’s possible he can evolve into a starting-caliber guard as he continues to slow the game down and tap into his talent.

A trend is forming.

Sporting News's Chris Stone : Okogie - A ; KBD - B+


The Georgia Tech product projects most immediately as a 3-and-D wing. He shot 38.2 percent from deep while averaging 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per 40 minutes as a college player. Slotting in Okogie at the shooting guard spot while playing Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler at the forward positions will be a very interesting option for Minnesota.

Johnny 3-names

This is a positive pickup for Minnesota. Bates-Diop has an opportunity to help modernize the Timberwolves frontcourt by providing length and shooting at the power forward position. His lengthy wingspan allows him to shoot over the top of opponents. His defensive acumen remains a concern. Nice value here.

Good value at a position of need.

CBS Sports's Reig Forgrave : Okogie - B+ ; KBD - A

The Nigerian Nightmare (apologies to Christian Okoye

Okogie was kind of hidden on a mediocre college team, but he wowed at the NBA Draft Combine. He has all the tools to be a standout role player or even more, and he probably is among the best upside picks left.

2017-2018 Big Ten Player of the Year

My favorite pick of the second half of the second round. Bates-Diop could play right away for the Timberwolves. He fits next to Karl-Anthony Towns. He's tough, skilled and proven.

A good pick and a good fit. Always righteous.

Jonathan Tjarks at The Ringer : Okogie - B ; KBD - default B+

Okogie is exactly the type of player the Wolves need. Tom Thibodeau didn’t overthink this pick. The Georgia Tech sophomore is a big-bodied wing (6-foot-5 and 211 pounds, with a 7-foot wingspan) who should be able to defend three positions right away, and he can make enough 3s to keep himself on the floor on offense. The only reason Okogie won’t be playing 25-plus minutes a night next season will be that Thibs has decided to bury yet another young player behind more familiar veterans.

Right, because 20th-overall picks on playoff teams have no other reasons to not get 25mpg. It's only because Thibodeau sucks. And he's right, Thibodeau gets no credit for this pick. He's not his type of player at all.

USA Today's Michael Singer: Okogie - B+*; KBD - default B+ (I've raised Okogie's grade because this dude's grading is ridiculous; he seems to be grading it on how good the player is overall, not relative to draft spot and player availability)

Okogie's a psychical, versatile defender who'll take time to develop his offensive game with the T-Wolves. With that said, who better to learn from than Jimmy Butler?


Sooo.... the final verdict? Good job, Thibsden! Now don't screw it up further!

Third-draft GPA - 3.52 - A- / B+

I would probably have given them A- for Okogie (I wanted Melton but having read more about Okogie, I think he's the better choice) and an A for Bates-Diop.

EDIT: Just for reference, our own mr. egglplant had Okogie and Bates-Diop ranked 15th and 19th, respectively, on his Final Big Board, both in Tier 4, Okogie 4a and KBD 4b . I'm guessing he'd like the picks.

Without trading back and getting assets or trading up and getting better players, it's hard to see how the Wolves could have done better. They took players that not only have good statistical profiles, but they also have strong physical profiles and good scouting tape. They fit needs, they seemed to be either "best player available" or at least among that group, and they fit well together.

Any others? I'm sure there's a million out there. What are your grades?