Sigh. It’s been another bad year for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the draft lottery. They started the day with the highest odds at landing the 10th pick in the draft but in the end the ping pong balls decided that they will drop down a spot to 11. That makes it 22 straight lottery appearances without moving up. Sigh again.
Without further ado, let’s get into our Howls and Growls from another depressing night in Wolvesdom.
Growl: Lady Luck
She’s a cruel mistress.
Putting faith into Minnesota winning the Zion Williamson sweepstakes was setting yourself up for heartbreak. Begging the basketball gods to let them move into the top four was probably even getting a little bit greedy. But in the name of Nikola Pekovic why couldn’t they have at least stayed at 10? It all seems a little bit unfair at this point.
Not exactly the start that new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas would have been hoping for.
Growl: Perfect Pelicans
After the Jimmy Butler fiasco earlier in the season, fans in the Twin Cities know what it feels like to have your star (very) publicly betray you. Unfortunately for those fans, they don’t know what it’s like to get an instant make up call like the Pelicans faithful now do.
Making it even worse is the fact that New Orleans have been jostling for Western Conference seeding with Minnesota for the last five years. With Jrue Holiday, Davis’ return package and likely Williamson making up their core, they’ll probably have no problem pushing the Wolves down the standings pecking order.
The Western Conference is already a bloodbath, and it has not gotten any cleaner after lottery night.
Howl: Suns Down
Much like the Wolves, the Phoenix Suns had a disastrous night. Instead of adding a top two pick to the exciting duo of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, they ended up with the sixth selection in June.
For an organization and front office that have spent years burning through head coaches and squandering top picks, perhaps this is the universe saying enough is enough. For Minnesota, it’s a dodged bullet. They needed another strong Western Conference rival like they need a hole in the head.
One of the rare joyous moments of the night.
Growl: Los Angeles Luckers
While Minnesota’s draft hopes crumbled underneath them, the rest of the Western Conference were having the time of their lives. Los Angeles were one of those teams.
The famous Lakers had a whopping 90.6 percent chance to land a pick between 11 and 14, with just a minuscule 9.4 percent chance of landing a top four pick. Alas, the organization who have spent their entire offseason making a fool of themselves lucked out and picked up pick four.
Minnesota took their 11th pick and potentially have another top prospect to deal with in the west. One that will be tutored by the great LeBron James. I literally can’t stop sighing.
Howl: ‘Tis A Crapshoot
Perhaps the biggest takeaway to help soothe the woes of the night is the fact that after the top two prospects of the draft, the quality of this year’s lottery is anyone’s guess.
With that in mind, Minnesota probably have a similar chance of hitting on pick 11 as they would have at pick four. Perhaps the criticism when they go all Wolvesy on us and mess up the pick will be softened since it is outside the top 10, too.
If Minnesota’s evolving front office can actually nail their new pick, like they did with last year’s Josh Okogie selection, the incoming praise will be very well deserved.
Growl: Lottery Reform
This one can go either way depending on how you look at it, but the new lottery format has clearly exposed some flaws in it’s first attempt.
Phoenix and Cleveland — both teams who won just 19 games last season — will be without a pick inside the top five, pretty much cementing their fate as a dumpster fire again next season. On top of that, New Orleans hitting the jackpot will give teams that are on the cusp of the playoff picture all the more reason to give up and hope they can replicate the Pellies’ miracle.
The bottom teams are sometimes just bad because they don’t have any decent players, but the NBA has incentived losing for the middling teams now, too.
Howl: Cash In On Conley?
With Memphis moving up into the second pick, they are overwhelmingly likely to select Murray State point guard Ja Morant. That means they will almost certainly be in the market to move franchise mainstay Mike Conley.
It will be a long shot, but perhaps this will jar the door open for Gersson Rosas to weave his first piece of magic. The franchise desperately needs to find a sidekick to pair next to Karl-Anthony Towns, and Conley has long been one the most underrated stars around.
There is a few problems in this scenario, though. Conley being 32-years-old when the 2019-20 season starts is the big one, as his and Towns’ timelines don’t really match up. It’s also hard to gauge how much the Grizzlies will be wanting to take back for their franchise leader in points. Minnesota don’t have many assets to move, and will be unwilling to throw the ones they do have out there for an aging star.
If they can get him for pennies on the dollar, it would still be an exciting move.
Growl: Perishing Point Guards
We mentioned earlier that after Morant this draft can go in any direction, and that still holds true, but it’s still unlikely that the 11th pick will be early enough to nab Darius Garland or Coby White — two point guards who have been a favorite among Wolves circles.
With Jeff Teague on the final year of his contract and likely to be shopped around, and Tyus Jones still on the low end of starting points, Minnesota desperately need to find another reliable floor general.
After Tuesday’s results, it is increasingly unlikely they are going to do so in June. Instead, they will have to rely on trades and free agency to fulfill their needs.