The Golden State Warriors are getting set for Wednesday’s play-in showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers as they try and guarantee themselves a playoff berth. The Dubs have won six in a row going into the tournament and are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
With the focus rightfully on the postseason, what may have been lost in the shuffle is the status of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Draft Lottery odds. The Dubs will get the T-Wolves’ pick if it lands anywhere outside the top three. If Minnesota does climb up the draft board and wind up with a top-three selection, then Golden State will get an unprotected 2022 first-rounder from the Timberwolves.
Minnesota was near the bottom of the league standings all season, but once it got healthy, the team began to turn things around. Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell are the centerpieces of the roster. With the trio healthy and back on the court, the Timberwolves went 9-7 down the stretch and ultimately climbed up the standings.
Minnesota’s win over the Dallas Mavericks on the final day of the regular season gave the T-Wolves the sixth-worst record in the NBA, which wound up hurting the Warriors’ chances of securing a top-five pick.
The 2021 Draft Class isn’t considered particularly deep, but the consensus top five in most mock drafts consists of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs.
With Minnesota holding the sixth-best odds to win the lottery, here are the chances for where the pick will land:
In the top three: 27.6 percent
No. 4: 9.6 percent
No. 5: Zero percent (The T-Wolves can’t move up just one spot due to the structure of the lottery)
No. 6: 8.6 percent
No. 7: 29.7 percent
No. 8: 20.6 percent
No. 9: 3.7 percent
No. 10: 0.2 percent
As you can see, the more likely scenario is that the Dubs will get the No. 7 selection. If it does indeed wind up at seven, general manager Bob Myers could look to package the pick along with the Warriors’ own selection to try and acquire a veteran or move up the draft board.
With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green still on the roster, using the pick on a raw prospect won’t do much to elevate Golden State’s title chances, so looking to move the No. 7 selection would make a ton of sense.
If the pick falls anywhere between Nos. 6-10, it will be tough to entice a team to give up a star-level player with the selection as the centerpiece of a trade package. The Dubs would likely have to add a ton to get a team to part with an established veteran.
The Warriors landing the fourth pick would be an absolute game-changer. Using the selection on one of the top five available players would give Golden State the option to add another talented young piece alongside James Wiseman to help set the core for the future. The presumption is that any of the top five prospects would also contribute during his rookie year, which would give head coach Steve Kerr some much-needed depth on the bench.
If the pick is in the top three and stays with Minnesota, it would become unprotected in 2022. The Timberwolves have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA in recent history, with only one playoff appearance in the previous 16 years.
But Towns, Edwards and Russell give the T-Wolves a young and talented core that could take another step in their development next season. While it’s tough to imagine Minnesota getting into the playoffs next year, the team could certainly be sitting at the end of the lottery. The 2022 draft class projects to be deeper than this year’s, but landing a top-level talent after the top five is a rarity in the NBA.
The upside to the selection moving to next year is that it would give Myers some more time to use the asset to bring in another talented piece. The Warriors could make a deal at the draft or during the offseason without any indication of how good the T-Wolves will be during the 2022-2023 campaign..
We will have to wait and see how things unfold when the order is revealed on June 22.
What are you hoping for with Minnesota’s pick? Do you want it to land at No. 4 this year? or would you rather the Dubs get the unprotected 2022 selection?