Who do the Minnesota Timberwolves need to draft in 2017?

Last season was not one to remember for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While many of their very talented young stars did take another step forward in their development, the T-Wolves ended up missing out on the playoffs by ten wins.

They lost their last six games and one of their star players, Zach LaVine, suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee. Without LaVine’s skill with the three-point shot and ability to draw out defenders, other team stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins struggled to operate with as much efficiency at times.

But that was last season. Now, this young and vibrant team of potential superstars can push on, starting with the 2017 NBA Entry Draft, coming up on 22 June. Minnesota will be looking to add one of the final pieces to the puzzle to make their team more complete and compliment their current batch of young talents.

Timberwolves need some defence

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‘Timberwolves Military Appreciation Game’ – Minnesota National Guard via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Minnesota Timberwolves need a small forward, especially with Zach LaVine’s injury being a serious one. They need a player who can defend well, particularly defend the pick-and-roll. One aspect highlighting the unfavourable season for the Timberwolves was their defence, which ranked joint-26th in the NBA for defensive efficiency; it seems as though Tom Thibodeau’s defensive strategies didn’t quite get through to the team.

Is Minnesota’s solution in the draft?

Coming into the 2017 NBA Entry Draft, the consensus number one overall pick is shaping up to be Markelle Fultz, a guard out of Washington. In the NBA betting, he looks a sure thing for a free bet at 1/16, and will very likely be taken by the Boston Celtics with the number one selection. The Minnesota Timberwolves, on the other hand, have their first round pick pencilled in at seventh, which puts them right in line to get a great forward.

The perfect pick for the Timberwolves could come in the form of the versatile Florida State product Jonathan Isaac. Isaac can play at either the three or the four, and his physical prowess would help to forge one of the most athletic cores in the league, alongside Towns, Wiggins, LaVine, and Kris Dunn.

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Jonathan Isaac is seen as a great player on the defensive side of the ball, which would be of great help to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Aged just 19, he stands a mighty 6’11’’, and creates a mismatch on the court with the help of his 7’1’’ wingspan and 9’0’’ standing reach. The forward from the Bronx, New York would be a welcome addition to Minnesota, bringing with him an average of 6.1 defensive rebounds per game.

Reports have been flooding in with praise for Isaac, with him projected to be a top-ten pick in almost every single mock draft, but his skills would be particularly useful to the Minnesota Timberwolves:

“With three-point range, ball-handling skills, shot creativity and defensive quickness, Isaac projects as a mismatch if he can tie everything together. But the Wolves may wind up valuing his ability to defend the pick-and-roll the most.”

The Timberwolves, even with the potential selection of Jonathan Isaac, are still probably another season or two away from making it back to the playoffs. But the future is very bright for this young team as they continue to develop into a top-class unit and real contenders.

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