We are officially less than one week away from the start of the NBA’s 2020 playoffs, and outside of a few minor inconveniences (like living in a bubble, playing in front of empty arenas, and a potential wine shortage), everything in The Association continues to go off without a hitch. While some franchises have yet to experience the magic of Walt Disney World (i.e. Orlando, Washington, New Orleans, and Sacramento), others have found the NBA bubble to truly be the happiest place on Earth (i.e. Portland, Phoenix, and Brooklyn).
Speaking of the Nets — our beloved underdog franchise continues to do their best impression of the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors, knocking off one team after another as they attempt to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
As you probably know by now, last Friday was a banner-worthy day for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as they officially acquired the 2020 Brooklyn pick after the Nets knocked off the ever-struggling Sacramento Kings.
It’s official — the Minnesota Timberwolves will acquire Brooklyn’s 2020 first round draft pick.— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) August 7, 2020
Depending on how the regular season wraps up, this pick could fall between 15-17.
At the time this tweet was sent, it was still up in the air as to whether the newly acquired pick would fall at pick 15, 16, or 17, and depended greatly on the success (or lack thereof) of both the Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic. However, a few things have changed since then — most notably, the Magic have somehow caught a case of homesickness, despite playing just miles from their practice facility. While injuries to Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon have played a large role in the team’s bubble demise, the overall vibe from the team feels very lethargic, resulting in back-to-back losses over the weekend, which has solidified their spot as the 8-seed for the upcoming playoffs.
Which means that yes — our very own CANIS LeVert-led Brooklyn Nets have clinched the 7-seed, pushing the recently acquired draft pick down a slot to either 16 or 17. It now comes down to two remaining games for Brooklyn (against Orlando and Portland) and Memphis (against Boston and Milwaukee) to determine the final position for the Wolves’ latest asset.
So where does that officially leave Minnesota as they prepare for the upcoming offseason (which will kick off on August 27 with the NBA Lottery)? As it now stands, the Wolves will have three picks in the upcoming 2020 draft — their own first rounder (slated to fall between 1-7), the Brooklyn first rounder (either pick 16 or pick 17), and their own second rounder (pick #33). Listed below are the current odds (courtesy of our friends at tankathon.com) for where the Wolves first rounder could fall:
Under the new lottery format, the three worst teams — Golden State, Cleveland, and Minnesota — are tied for the best chance at securing the first pick, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that the Wolves best single set of odds are for pick #6, which is extremely frightening despite this draft lacking star potential at the top.
But to recap — while we now have confirmation that Minnesota will indeed receive the Brooklyn pick this year, we still don’t know exactly where that (or the Wolves own first-round pick) will exactly fall (which makes mock drafts a tad more challenging for the time being). Speaking of the NBA Lottery...
No real surprise here — having a virtual NBA Lottery makes far too much sense considering the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it should add fuel to the conspiracy fire if/when a major market like Chicago (or Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks!) ends up having their ping-pong balls picked.
What will Minnesota do if they win the lottery? Will they actually select two players in the top 17, or will Gersson and his staff flip one (or both) prospects for a proven player? What kind of value can the team get with their second rounder? And who will be this year’s Naz Reid?
The answers to those questions are still very fluid, but with the recent success of our friends from Brooklyn, the offseason picture is slowly coming into focus.