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2023 NBA Draft: Timberwolves Trade Two Future Second-Round Picks to Land Leonard Miller at No. 33

Tim Connelly’s impressive draft history looks to be growing as he and his staff select Leonard Miller, a prospect that was projected top 16.

G League Ignite v Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2023 NBA Draft seemed to be another boring one for Minnesota Timberwolves fans. However, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and his front office shipped out two future second-round picks, in 2026 and 2028, in exchange for the No. 33 pick in this year's draft.

Wolves fans, hungry for any type of move as the hours slowly passed, were thrilled at Minnesota’s trade to advance in the draft. With Connelly’s impressive draft track record, fans should always go into draft night with joy and optimism. Connelly and his team of executives ultimately made those feelings come true with their selection of 6-10 forward Leonard Miller out of the G-League Ignite team.

In just one season with Team Ignite, Miller’s upside impressed many. Putting up 18 points and 11 rebounds per game on 55.4% from the floor, Miller proved his skill set on both sides of the ball. Not only is the upside there, but with Miller’s current skill level, it’s obvious that he could be NBA-ready within the near future.

2023 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

What Makes Him a Good Pick for the Wolves?

It’s the age-old saying; “NBA teams should never draft a player solely off fit. Rather, that team should pick a player that will benefit the team long-term.” While both of those things are true, Miller happens to check both of those boxes.

Rebounding Threat

Of course, Miller will need some time to most likely crack Minnesota’s rotation. However, his raw talent is just what the team has been in search of.

Even after the acquisition of 3-time Defensive Player of The Year Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves still failed to be a good defensive rebounding team when it mattered most. As we all know, rebounding is a team game, so adding someone like Miller, who is primarily slotted in at small forward/power forward, to Minnesota’s mix is great in that aspect.

Creating His Own Offense off the Bounce

Of course, the Timberwolves have one of the best-slashing threats in the NBA with Anthony Edwards. However, Miller being able to attack opposing defenses with his great first step and ability to find holes in the defense can make him a great fit when Head Coach Chris Finch wants to run a three-point shooting-heavy lineup.

Miller was used, primarily, as somewhat of a Jarred Vanderbilt-type player with Team Ignite. However, with Miller’s quick feet, I could see him molding into a player who enacts scoring moves from the perimeter rather than around the free-throw line.

The Defensive Upside Is There

Miller’s defense grew over his time in the G League. However, he still has plenty more room to grow. Being that he stands 6-foot-10 with shoes on, has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, and has quick feet, it would be hard not to say he has incredible defensive upside. Over time, there should be no reason that the 19-year-old can’t become solid on and off-ball defender.

The draft is where Connelly has built his legacy, and that hasn’t stopped during the 2023 NBA Draft. While it’s way, way too early to call any pick a good one, I think it’s fair to say Minnesota got a steal in Leonard Miller.