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Minnesota Timberwolves Select Josh Minott, Matteo Spagnolo in Second Round

The Wolves smartly swung for upside and stashed a pick abroad with their extra capital in the 2022 NBA Draft.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 20 Memphis at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After wheeling and dealing around the late first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves stayed active in the second round.

The Wolves selected Memphis freshman forward Josh Minott at No. 45 overall after acquiring the pick and a 2023 second-rounder from the Charlotte Hornets for No. 40, per the Charlotte Observer’s Rod Boone. At No. 50, Minnesota selected Italian guard Matteo Spagnolo of Vanoli Cremona.

The team also traded the No. 48 pick, which became Baylor wing Kendall Brown, to the Indiana Pacers for a future second-round pick, per the Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski.

Minott is a bet on upside and development. The 6-8 forward averaged 6.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game and only started five of the 33 games he played for the Tigers. He ranked ninth on the team in minutes per game and ranked 44th on the Canis Hoopus Big Board.

Judging Minott by the counting stats belies his impact, though. He’s long and incredibly bouncy, and he puts those tools to good use as a defender, especially off-ball. His 3.1 steal percentage is evidence of his ability to fly around the court and make plays.

He is currently incapable as a ball handler and shooter, which hurts his impact in half court offense. He only made two of 14 3-point attempts on the season, and he threw some head-scratching turnovers. What he can do is use his spring to finish at the basket as a cutter and transition runner; he scored 1.27 points per shot around the rim per

Minott is at his best in the open court, where he can eat up space with his long stride and throw down some thunderous dunks. He was a menace in Memphis’ press and proved himself to be one of the best athletes in the class at turning defense into offense. He is also a strong positional rebounder, grabbing the third-highest percentage of available rebounds while on the court of anyone on the team.

Minott is likely to spend some time with the Iowa Wolves in the G League as he continues to develop.

Spagnolo just averaged 12.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a 19-year-old in Italy’s Serie A. Given the existing roster crunch and use of three other picks on the night, Spagnolo is likely a draft-and-stash. He ranked 67th on the Canis Hoopus Big Board.

Spagnolo has a strong profile as a shooter, connecting on 44.1 percent of his attempts from deep and 86.1 percent on his shots from the free throw line. He uses the threat of that shot and some slick ball handling to score well in the pick-and-roll, stringing together crossovers to get into his pull-up. Spagnolo extended his range on that shot out to 3-point range this season.

Spagnolo’s ability to finish shots in traffic is under greater question — he shot just 44 percent on 2-point shots — and he’s not an impactful defender; he had only 19 steals and one block in 25 games in 2021-22.

Standing 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Spagnolo doesn’t have to be a defensive liability, although his footspeed is a real question mark. He has to work harder to keep quicker players from blowing by him, and he committed a concerning 2.2 fouls per game.