MINNEAPOLIS — The clock is ticking ever closer towards the first NBA draft under new President of Basketball Operations, Gersson Rosas.
Thursday night’s draft will offer a first peek into how the New Wolves Order goes about their business. Rosas held a pre-draft media availability this afternoon, fielding a variety of questions about the team’s offseason plans and intentions.
Here are some notes about what else came out of the presser:
Gersson Rosas on rumors of a promise at pick 11:
“We don’t promise players. Throughout the league, every organization has different strategies, different approaches. That’s not something we do.”
In other words, the prior speculation over a promise to Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura was shut down.
On trade discussions concerning both draft picks (11 and 43):
“There’s a lot of dialogue on both.” When asked about potentially trading up in the draft, Rosas said “It’s difficult to move up, especially in the lottery. We know because we’ve tried and we’ll continue to try.”
When the question of how he wants his first draft with the Wolves to be remembered, Rosas kept it fairly simple. “We want to be strategic, we want to be diligent,” he said. “This process has been very productive. The reality is this story will be told three, four years from now, how we did. We want to build a championship team.”
On being patient or aggressive in decision making:
“For us, the focus is to make educated decisions and whether it’s now or later we’re going to make the best decisions for this organization.
“What we need to do is maximize Karl’s window.”
Maximizing KAT as he enters the first season of his max deal would seem to indicate a desire to be aggressive and a real sense of urgency.
On the current trade chatter and moving up or down:
“That’s one thing of the draft that I would say, I do think it’s flat in a good way in that there’s a lot of good depth to it. A lot of it is the different values that teams place on talent. There’s a lot of communication, I think it’s part of our strategy. We have to examine every opportunity, you know, moving forward, moving back, moving out, but we’ve reached out to every team in this league to see what our options are and we’ll be prepared here on Thursday to make the right decisions for the organization.”
How do they value for drafting for positional need versus drafting the best value on the board?
“You don’t know what your roster’s going to look like in three or four years, you don’t know what your needs are going to be in three or four years so for us our ability to acquire the best talent is our focus and that’s what we’re looking to execute on.”
Any untouchable players on the current roster?
“It’s always an exercise in terms of knowing yourself, knowing your needs, knowing your strengths, and knowing what’s available on the market. I feel good about our core here in Minnesota. I feel like this is a group that’s one year removed from the playoffs and that’s where we want to get back to, but we got to do some work and we got to develop guys and we’re changing our style of play.
I would say as we look at the market, we’re looking at what’s the best way that we can build this team out and we do have a core base here. Working off the draft will give us another element of young talent as we put that together but we’re always exploring options to build off our core. You know, high-end talent that’s available, we’re always going to be looking at and we’re always going to making calls on, you know, whether it’s the trade route, high picks in the draft or even as we prepare for free agency as well.
On the point guard position being in question:
“We’ve got a couple of positions that we’re looking to add, but we’re confident in Jeff Teague is working hard and will be back next year at a high level. We like the guys that finished the season out here and we’re evaluating the opportunity to bring them back versus what might be available. But I would say we feel good about that moving forward.”
When you’re strapped for cap space, does this draft and the assets that are the picks place maybe a little bit more emphasis on getting the most out of them, whether that is by taking the pick or turning it into another asset?
Rosas, in short: Draft picks are important. (Canis says duh in this space here.)
“We have to get the draft right. We have to develop those players and give them an opportunity to grow and develop in our system.”
Paraphrased: Rookie contracts are larger in the new CBA, does that affect the value of rookies and how they’re viewed?
“It’s an efficient marketplace in that rookies will always be valued which is the opportunity to have a young player with upside is important for an organization. I think there’s some safeness when you take a veteran and a lot of it has to do with what stage you’re in but as a whole, our league values smart plays in the draft and young players under that structure are smart plays that really build a foundation of an organization.”
How do you prioritize a guy that can come in and make an impact right away versus a guy who maybe needs a little bit more development but you feel might have a higher ceiling?
“The key is talent and how that translates to not only the NBA but your style of play and for us specifically our best player and how that compliments a guy like Karl [Towns].”
Does the perceived depth of a draft affect the cost of moving up or back? Does it vary?
“Draft value is pretty strong and pretty high in all drafts whether you’re trading in or trading up or buying a pick or doing any of that movement. It’s hard and there’s only two rounds. Teams are very intelligent in terms of how they put their boards together and how they execute the draft so it’s tough. I think the value is pretty consistent.
There are some years where there’s perception that there’s more depth or more value because the reality is, and history will tell you, it’s hard to trade up top 3 in the draft or even top 5 in the lottery. It’s very difficult and we know because we’ve tried and will the continue to try. But the price, the premium teams charge for that, is at a high level in any draft in any year.”
If you stay at pick 11, how will you handle the unknown of how the board will fall?
Paraphrased: They’ve run through every scenario. They’re truly prepared for this.
“The frustration or disappointment comes when you can’t execute a deal you want to do but for us, it’s not going to be lack of effort. We’ll explore every opportunity and the reality is you need two, sometimes three, trade partners to come together to be able to execute an objective that’s good for each side. We feel confident.”
“16-18 guys in a room for weeks, 17 hours a day...we love it, it’s our job. Some people say it’s our Christmas Day,” Rosas on what it’s like preparing for the Draft in the war room.— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) June 18, 2019
On hitting in the second round or on undrafted players:
“There’s going to be some players that fall through the cracks and for us, that’s the foundation of summer league, offseason workouts, training camp, and even Iowa in terms of our G-League.”
How patient do you want to be? Or do you want be very aggressive starting on Thursday?
Reading between the lines: He wants to maximize Towns’ window and make sure they have pieces in place that can grow and develop with him and peek at the right time. There’s an urgent focus to do that.
“You win in this league with high-end players.”
“We are going to be very aggressive at looking at every and all opportunities to add talent to this base.”
Rosas on this draft class:
“We feel like there’s talent in this draft, it’s our job to find it. We feel like we’ll get good value at both spots.”
“You talked about chatting with all 29 teams, anything intriguing?” Talk is cheap at this stage of the process, he says.
Full quote from Gersson Rosas: "There's a lot intriguing (re: his discussions with teams). We'll see if it becomes reality. All talk is cheap at this stage until action gets done."— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) June 18, 2019
Paraphrased: How does Rosas deal with all the headlines and rumors surrounding Andrew Wiggins?
“I take that very personal because the reality is there’s always going to be rumors. There’s always going to be stories. Unfortunately, even the one specific that you’re referencing like that, the reality is just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it real. Just because there’s a rumor doesn’t mean it’s something that’s happening. The reality is my job is to do everything possible to make this team the best team possible.
Our players’ job is to do everything within their power to make themselves the best players so they can have success and we can have success. You know, there’s things that we can’t control but at the end of the day, we’re fully committed to our players. We’re investing in our players everything that we can. The reality is, in this league, you build from within and as our guys grow and develop and maximize our talent, that’s going to give us the best chance to win.”
On Wiggins’ status with Team Canada?
“I think that’s something that maybe the Canadian Federation can address,” said Rosas. “I don’t think they’ve hired a coach yet. I don’t think they’ve formally made invitations yet.”
(Perhaps it’s not as solidified as it seemed a day ago.)
Rosas said today that he wasn’t aware of an invitation being extended to Wiggins. Going further: a source says Wiggins has definitely NOT committed to playing for Team Canada. https://t.co/kty8ba1P9X— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) June 18, 2019
Other quick notes
Robert Covington is said to be healthy after playing only 35 games in 2018-19 and on pace to be fully back to his old form next season. RoCo has been in and out of town the past month as the Wolves work to improve team chemistry through summer workouts at Mayo Clinic Square. Rosas referenced him when talking about finding diamonds in the rough this offseason. Current player availability is also more critical when discussing potential moves, as opposed to fitting current positional needs, says Rosas. GM Daryl Morey also gave him tons of responsibility in Houston which has greatly helped with not feeling overwhelmed throughout the process of taking over in Minneapolis. There’s currently tons of dialogue in the league on moving up and down in Thursday’s NBA Draft. “It’s a very flat and fluid market which bodes well for activity,” said Rosas.