Used to cringes, Wolves induce yawns on draft night
Oh, thats right.
Winning NBA teams often bore us to tears on draft night.
Wasnt it more fun when the Wolves were picking Jonny Flynn instead of Steph Curry, or Wes Johnson instead of DeMarcus Cousins?
No? Then this draft was for you completely uninspiring, more sleep than anger inducing.
With the 20th pick in the 2018 draft, the Timberwolves selected Josh Okogie, a shooting guard from Georgia Tech who isnt all that good at shooting.
Okogie, we are told, wins the intangible Olympics he plays hard, plays defense, crashes the offensive boards and gets to the free-throw line.
So a team that is losing Jamal Crawford off a barely-used bench and is desperate for shooting and bench scoring drafted a raw offensive player who might find his stroke right about the time Jimmy Butler is leaving town.
That may sound cynical, but this pick could not have been less impressive at first blush, and it leaves Wolves bosses Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden desperate for help in the free agent or trade markets.
They may have just gone from wanting to bring Derrick Rose back to needing to bring Derrick Rose back.
Rose may have to play the Crawford microwave role, and the whatever-Shabazz-was-supposed-to-be role, or the Thibs-wont-play-anyone-else-off-the-bench role.
The most interesting aspect of this pick was what happened immediately after: The Utah Jazz selected Duke star Grayson Allen, who has tripped more people than curbs outside of pubs.
I didnt think Allen was right for the Wolves, at least not at No. 20. But the teams ahead of the Wolves drafted so efficiently that he became a realistic option by the time their pick arrived.
Now Allen will catch passes from Ricky Rubio in Utahs good-cop-bad-cop backcourt.
The Wolves are lucky they landed the No. 1 pick in 2015 and chose Karl-Anthony Towns, because otherwise their draft history would look as bad as their playoff history.
Sure, Okogie could turn into a nice player, especially if he improves his shooting form, but the Wolves need help now. Scouting reports note that Okogie was in the 92nd percentile in catch-and-shoot percentage, but was known as more of a set-shooter than a fully formed jump-shooter, and his form is not pristine.
He did make 82 percent of his free throws, hinting that he can improve from the field.
But this pick highlights the challenge of the summer for Thibodeau: How to improve on 47 victories, without Crawford, by bringing on a raw player and trying to sign free agents who probably dont want to come to Minnesota, dont want to get yelled at from the sideline and cant be paid much.
Rose would seem to be a fit for Thibs, and hell need to trade Gorgui Dieng, buy out Cole Aldrich and do anything they can to find a veteran shooter.
The Okogie pick is the latest reminder of the Wolves strange circumstance:
They improved by 16 games and created a panicked fan base.
The Okogie pick didnt do much to calm the masses.
All night, ESPN NBA expert Adrian Wojnarowski avoided a mandate from his network not to spoil NBA picks for the audience by hinting strongly at upcoming picks, rather than reporting them directly. So hed say Team X was focused on or unable to resist a player, instead of reporting the pick as news.
If he wanted to be completely accurate, Woj should have written that the Timberwolves might as well take Okogie.
Villanovas Donte DiVincenzo may have been the best fit for the Wolves a strong defender and shooter who is an excellent athlete and should be dynamic in the NBA game. But the Bucks took him at No. 17 and the Hawks chose Maryland shooting guard Kevin Huerter at No. 19.
It was that kind of night. Wolves fans who gathered to watch the draft at Target Field Station should have been given either coffee, or pillows.
Jim Souhans podcast can be heard at MNSPN.com. On Twitter: @SouhanStrib. firstname.lastname@example.org