On Draft night, the Timberwolves traded Saric and the 11th pick to move up and take Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech. Culver a 6’7 wing will add another two-way wing to the wolves. Culver was a key player on helping Texas Tech reach the National Championship game which showed he is ready for the professional level. Having Wiggins, Covington, Okogie, and now Culver gives Minnesota plenty of depth, Culver could be Wiggins replacement if Wiggins doesn’t improve this season. Culver needs to improve his 3-point shooting in the NBA but is a elite defender and can get a bucket when needed. Drafting Culver over point guard Coby White tells me that they believe they have a shot at signing D’angelo Russell.
Minnesota second pick was Jaylen Nowell a Pac-12 player of the year honors at Washington. He is a great ball-handler but needs to improve his shooting and defense in the G-League before he is ready for the league. Jaylen Nowell looks to show the Wolves in the Summer league that he is good enough to make the 13 man rotation.
Timberwolves signed Naz Reid to a two way contract (split time from the G-league and NBA). The Center from LSU went undrafted after only playing one season in college. ESPN ranked him the 3rd best center in the Class of 2018. The 6’10 250 lbs Reid can create space with his body around the basket, but with his stout frame NBA teams worried about his defense liability and he struggled with the bench press during the combine.
Wolves signed Syracuse star Tyus Battle to a exhibit 10 contract which means Minnesota can put him on the wolves or a two-way contract. Tyus Battle left Syracuse before his senior year to try and achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. Minnesota signed him after he ended up going undrafted. Many teams love Battle abilities to play many positions other than just point guard.
Minnesota made Ryan Saunders the full time coach after he was the intern coach, since the Thibodeau firing. Wiggins and the young core saw improvement once Saunders took over and Minnesota hopes that continues. Minnesota also added Pablo Prigioni as a assistant coach on Saunders’ staff. Prigioni is a Argentine professional basketball coach and a former player. He played at the point guard position for many european teams and the Knicks, Clippers, and Rockets. He is the oldest rookie in NBA history making his debut at 35 years old. After the NBA Prigioni return to play for the Baskonia and then became their head coach. Last season Prigioni was a assistant coach for the Nets last season, as the Wolves hope that helps them in landing D’angelo Russell.
Minnesota can’t make many moves this free agency with Teague, Wiggins, Gibson, Dieng, and Bayliss contracts. Wolves are looking at getting rid of the former number 1 pick Wiggins since he hasn’t lived up to exceptions. Minnesota is in the running for All-star D’angelo Russell since the Wolves need a point guard and Russell looks to be the right fit. Many teams are looking at landing Russell since point guards are hard to come by, but hopefully for Minnesota his friendship with Karl Anthony Towns helps him land in Minnie. The Mayor of Apple Valley Tyus Jones is a restricted free agent, which means the Wolves can match any teams offer. Minnesota will love to keep the hometown kid in Minnie but if a team gives him a high enough offer, it will be difficult for the Wolves to keep him.
- Gopher Star Jordan Murphy is staying in Minnesota as he signed a Summer League Contract with the Wolves. Murphy came to the Gophers from Brennan High School in Texas and made a immediately impact being named to the Big Ten All-freshman team honoree. Murphy finish his Gopher career being named All-Big Ten first team (media) and led the Big Ten in rebounding (11.0). During his career Murphy set the single season rebounding record, second in Big Ten his in rebounds (1,307), second in Gophers all-time scoring (1,802), and had 22 double-double his senior season. Murphy looks to continue to have success in Minnesota.
- Hopkins star Amir Coffey left before his senior year to try and make it in the NBA. Coffey used his strong finish to his junior year and had a strong performance in the NCAA tournament to help boast his draft stock. Coffey father played in the NBA and Coffey has all the tools to become a solid NBA role player. Coffey has been a big name in Minnesota hoops since his high school days at Hopkins. At Hopkins Coffey help them win at state championship his sophomore season hitting a half court shot. His senior year he was named Minnesota Mr. Basketball and was ranked 32nd on ESPN. Coffey at Minnesota has been named Big-Ten All-Freshman team honoree and after his junior year named All-Big Ten third team. Selfishly I wish Coffey came back for his senior season to help led the Gophers but his dream is to make the NBA and wish the Minnesota kid the best with his two-way contract for the Clippers.