The official start of summer is just nine short days away, and by the time the clock strikes midnight on Friday, June 21, the Minnesota Timberwolves are likely to have at least one or two fresh faces added to their roster.
With the NBA Draft in one week from tomorrow, the chaos (and rumors!) are beginning to heat up. As you read this, teams across the league are frantically trying to set up last minute workouts with players while simultaneously discussing possible deals to move up and down the draft pecking order.
In addition to all of that, the Wolves have been consumed recently with finalizing their own coaching staff, which they did late last week with the additions of both David Vanterpool and Pablo Prigioni. Gersson Rosas will probably fill out the remainder of Ryan Saunders’ staff with a few additional coaches (video coordinators, strength and conditioning guys, etc.), but as it currently stands, we now have a much clearer picture of the Wolves 2019-2020 coaching staff than we did a month ago.
But back to the draft... with only seven days until the big event, the Wolves appear to be performing as much research on the 2019 draft class as possible, compiling a fairly intriguing list of visits to downtown Minneapolis:
This list of players reported by Doogie mirrors what a lot of current mock drafts have in terms of possible players being tied to Minnesota at pick #11. If you’ve been off the grid since the end of the season and need a little background on some of these players, our resident draft expert Mike O’Hagan broke down the fit/reality of the shooting guards and small forwards listed above as part of his Canis Draft Guide.
As this point, it’s fair to say that everyone has their favorite prospects leading into next week, but after watching the last six weeks of NBA playoffs, I think we’d all agree that Pascal Siakam 2.0 (aka Sekou Doumbouya) is the player who really jumps off the page and brings the most excitement. Apparently Rosas & Co. agree:
Slight clarification on Doumbouya: tweeted that yesterday was scheduled to be his day w/ #Twolves. He did arrive into town. Spending time w/ staff today, likely undergoing some medical testing. Then a workout is expected in next 24 hrs. Wolves clearly doing their work on him.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 11, 2019
Again, I’m no Jonathan Givony, so I won’t pretend to know whether or not Doumboya is one year away, two years away, or two years from being two years away in terms of being a productive NBA player, but recent workout videos of him give me feelings in places I didn’t know I could feel:
Sekou Doumbouya knocking down 15 threes in a row with close to 10 general managers on hand. Doumbouya certainly showed his talent during the 45-minute workout. 6-10 versatile athlete with skill potential. pic.twitter.com/qGZliNiV7S— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 8, 2019
Some of what lottery talent Sekou Doumbouya (‘00 ) brings. Very energetic dealing w/ screens. Rangy defender. Gives up .71PPP in P&R BH and .615PPP in Iso. Solid team defender with good positioning. Versatile in P&R coverage. Understands how to defend them and where to be. pic.twitter.com/qD9TMLPICf— Grant (@GrantAquiNBA) April 8, 2019
A 6’10” forward with Gumby-like arms who can shoot threes, defend multiple positions, and create for his teammates is the type of player Rosas would ideally create in a laboratory, so the prospect of teaming him with Karl-Anthony Towns is clearly breathtaking. Will he still be there for the Wolves at #11? I personally don’t see it, especially with rebuilding teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, teams looking for their own home run selection, picking before them. Nevertheless, it means something that Minnesota is getting a first-hand look at Doumbouya this late in the process, so we’ll see.
The other notable name associated with a Wolves workout recently is North Carolina’s own Coby White:
This is interesting: told that Coby White is here today for a workout w/ the #Twolves. Hard for me to see him getting to 11. I love him, by the way. He's not in the group workout that is 6 guys with Coffey, Tucker, Wilkes, 3 others. White is a 1x0 workout. pic.twitter.com/wLgMbFsxOZ— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 7, 2019
With so many PG needy teams in the top ten (most notably Phoenix, Chicago, and Washington), I’m even more skeptical that White falls to #11 than I am about Doumbouya, but anything is possible.
With so many holes on the roster, the Wolves are clearly approaching this draft with the mentality of selecting the best player available, as they should be. If they lock onto a prospect they really love, will they attempt to move up? Do they even have any assets that would entice a team to trade back (sorry, you cannot have Josh Okogie. I won’t stand for it).
Or going the other way, does the New Wolves Order think there’s enough value in the back half of the first round that they would be willing to swap #11 for a package of picks/players? Would the Boston Celtics swap #14 and #22 for #11? Can the Human Trade Machine Sachin Gupta crack the code to pair #11 and Jeff Teague to drop a few spots and still nab the apple of Gersson’s eye? And what about the 2nd round? Is there any chance in hell that Shamorie Ponds (uber popular draft sleeper) is still on the board at pick #43?
That all remains to be seen. Regardless of what happens, it should be another fascinating week on Twitter, filled with countless rumors and leaks from all corners of the NBA. Be sure to check back to Canis for updated information on all things offseason — draft, trades, signings, and (s)PEKulation!