all most some of the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to participate in the league’s approved “in-market” bubble in downtown Minneapolis, we received news earlier this week about who will (and who won’t) be participating in the NBA’s upcoming Draft Combine:
2020 NBA Draft Combine participants list — LaMelo Ball will participate; projected top selections Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Obi Toppin are not: pic.twitter.com/Yp3kK5mBAD— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 28, 2020
A quick perusing of the list highlights a few key things — most notably who IS attending (LaMelo Ball and Deni Avdija) and who is NOT (James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, and Anthony Edwards).
Guys like Edwards, Wiseman, and Toppin not attending isn’t all that newsworthy — this combine process is already going to be so unique and none of those top prospects would probably gain much (if anything) from participating. It is however a tad worrisome to see lesser prospects like Tyrese Maxey (my “sleeper” pick in this draft) and Devin Vassell not participating, considering how volatile their rankings currently are among most draft experts.
Speaking of the process itself — Shams reported last week some of the changes to this year’s combine and detailed just how certain teams will acquire the necessary information about each prospect:
NBA will run predraft process and distribute to teams. League interviews consist of 10 questions; teams assigned 20 players for 30 min. each. Prospects travel by car to nearest team market for medical/strength/agility testing, 8 on-court shooting drills. No team personnel allowed https://t.co/v0pWj6e6H6— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 17, 2020
Again, much like everything else in 2020, this is going to be an extremely unique situation for not only the draft prospects, but also all of the teams trying to gather intel on the various players. While the 2020 draft class is already considered to be murky at best, adding this additional COVID-19 related wrinkle could make it almost impossible to isolate who the top prospects are as we approach the November 18 draft date.
Speaking of murkiness — it appears that our own Minnesota Timberwolves may (or may not) be having their own difficulties analyzing this class, at least according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman:
According to a Western Conference executive, word around the league is Minnesota isn’t leaning one way at No. 1, sounds “confused” and feels pressure after “messing up last year by trading for Jarrett Culver.”
The belief is that Minnesota’s priority is to trade, realistically down the board assuming an established star won’t become available. If the Wolves stick at No. 1, multiple sources say they’d bet on LaMelo Ball having the edge over Anthony Edwards.
It hasn’t been a banner year for the Minnesota Timberwolves by any means (they never are), but in my opinion this “report” seems like piling on and/or low hanging fruit for one of the least successful franchises in the league.
Do the Wolves regret making the move up to draft Culver? Maybe. But from everything we know about how tight of a ship they run at Mayo Square, I highly doubt this type of opinion would ever leak out to the national media (also, while they clearly missed on better players like Tyler Herro, let’s not pretend that they paid much of anything to actually move up and swing for the fences).
It should also be noted that the transition to fall also signals the official start of “According to an unnamed NBA executive” season. Maybe another GM or POBO did hear rumblings that Gersson Rosas and his team were indeed “confused” about what to do at the top, or maybe an executive from a team drafting below them (sup Bob Myers) leaked this “information” to ruffle the feathers of the Wolves front office.
Who really knows, but as the current NBA season continues to wind down, one thing’s for certain — the NBA rumor mill is once again just getting started, and Minnesota figures to be in the news a LOT over these next few months.