MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The NBA Draft is Thursday night, and it’s expected to be a very quiet one for Tim Connelly and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That’s because the Timberwolves don’t currently have a first round pick. Connelly sent it to the Utah Jazz last year in part of the massive trade that brought Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. The Timberwolves have one pick Thursday, No. 53 overall in the second round.
"Fingers crossed that we can find a good young player to add to a corps we’re pretty excited about. We’ll probably prioritize a guy that can further add to the culture. When you’re drafting 53rd, I think you have to be realistic with expectation level," Connelly said Wednesday. "It’s not a murderer’s row of NBA guys, but we think we can add someone who can eventually help us."
There still remains a chance that the Timberwolves could try to put together a package to move into the first round. If they do, it’s unlikely to involve Karl-Anthony Towns, who is soon starting a supermax contract. That’s despite telling Pat Beverley on a podcast last week, "I see future-wise, everyone is trying to sell my house but me… "I’m going to keep it as simple like this, all I’m going to say on it is the rumors are as true or as false as Minnesota makes them to be."
Connelly all but put water on the fire that the Timberwolves will make a splash trade Thursday.
"We’ve had a lot of conversations, I don’t think anything is close for us to getting in the first round. A lot of the calls are theoretical until the last 24 hours, so we’ll see," Connelly said. "We’ve talked to every team several times. I’d say 99 percent of those calls go nowhere, and one percent can lead to something."
Barring something unexpected, the Timberwolves are moving forward with a corps that includes Towns, Gobert, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels and hopefully Naz Reid, who will soon be a free agent. The Timberwolves had several players in for pre-draft workouts in the last week, and joining them were many current players. That list includes Gobert, McDaniels, Reid and others.
Towns was at Mayo Clinic Square working out on Sunday. After their second straight playoff appearance, Connelly urged his players to spend part of the offseason in Minnesota together.
"Collectively we all felt like we left a lot on the table last year, so we challenged our guys to get in here early, get in here often and be around each other as much as possible," Connelly said. "That’s been really cool to see."
The goal now is to stay healthy, build continuity and hope that’s at least enough to stay out of next year’s play-in series, if not win a series. It’s unlikely to involve a big move Thursday night.
"Our pretty strong guess is we have a corps and we’re excited to run it back. Our inability to win enough games versus teams that have worse records really came back to bite us. We were disappointed that we were in the play-in, you can point to specific games where we weren’t good enough," Connelly said. "We’re pretty excited about or corps, Finchy is an elite coach. We think we’re going to be pretty good."