Timberwolves have roster needs. Can they fill one in the draft? – InForum

As Tim Connelly prepares for his first roster transactions as head of basketball for the Minnesota Timberwolves in Thursday night’s NBA Draft and beyond, there are certainly holes in the roster for him to fill.

It is possible that at least one of them could be approached with the number 19 pick that Minnesota currently has. Here’s a look at the team’s needs and what prospects could fill them if the Timberwolves kept the pick:

Why the need? Jarred Vanderbilt was fantastic in the fourth starting point for big chunks of last season. His defensive intensity and high-energy plays changed games and helped set the tone for overall team improvement in areas that lead to victory.

But Vanderbilt seemed to wear out at times and wasn’t always Chris Finch’s preferred fit in certain formations. He’s just turned 23, so it might not be fair to limit his growth, but Vanderbilt’s style of play and current offensive limitations might be better suited to an average of 20 minutes per game off the bench.

That could leave a power hole for the front where Minnesota needs more depth regardless. Jaden McDaniels is always an option to play as a small-ball forward, but these lineups often leave the Timberwolves very small, and he seems more suited to playing on the wing.

There are options in the number 19 that would help strengthen Minnesota’s forward squad and could take over the starting position sometime next season.

Possible choices: Ohio State’s EJ Liddell, LSU’s Tari Eason, Serbia’s Nikola Jovic.

Ohio State Buckeyes forward EJ Liddell (32) dribbles the ball while Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Lat Mayen (11) defends during the second half of March 1, 2022, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Joseph Maiorana / USA Today Sports

Why the need? The Timberwolves could use a big pivot for a few reasons. #1, Naz Reid continues to evolve into a skilled offensive player who seems to become more athletic with each passing season. But he is also undersized and therefore outmatched against certain opponents. Minnesota had few counters when these situations arose last season, so adding some sort of more traditional big makes sense.

But if the move is to simply add a backup center, that might make more sense as a veteran acquisition through negotiation or free agent subscription.

There is also the possibility that Minnesota could change philosophies under Connelly and push Karl-Anthony Towns to power. This would certainly create other problems, but it would help solve Minnesota’s size and recovery problems. Because now, outside of Towns, the Wolves don’t have a guy they can count on to consistently break the glass and vacuum the boards.

On Monday, The Athletic reported that the Timberwolves were at least sniffing out Hawks center Clint Capela. But if Minnesota decides to pick up five future starters on Thursday, there are some intriguing potential options that could serve as defensive anchors for years to come.

Possible choices: Mark Williams from Duke, Walker Kessler from Auburn.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Jacksonville State vs Auburn
Jackson State Tigers forward Kelvin Wesley (23) shoots Auburn Tigers forward Walker Kessler (13) during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament on March 18, 2022 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, Carolina. South.

Bob Donnan / USA Today Sports

Why the need? While D’Angelo Russell’s future in Minnesota remains relatively unknown this offseason, it doesn’t have much to do with that need. The Timberwolves were looking for an additional star player as recently as the trade deadline.

The easiest way to break a defense in any situation is to have players who can attack the rim on the rebound. Anthony Edwards is elite at doing just that when he wants to, but outside of the star wing, Minnesota has few other options. Jaylen Nowell has those capabilities but hasn’t landed a full-time role in Minnesota’s rotation.

Whether as a guard or winger, the Timberwolves can use at least one more player who can attack the rack to create for themselves and others.

Possible choices: Blake Wesley of Notre Dame, TyTy Washington of Kentucky, Malaki Branham of Ohio State, Jalen Williams of Santa Clara.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Howard
Notre Dame Fighting Irish point guard Blake Wesley (0) dunks the ball against Howard Bison during the first half January 17, 2022, at the Burr Gymnasium in Washington, D.C.

Brad Mills / USA Today Sports


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