The Minnesota Timberwolves enter the NBA Draft with one pick, the 53rd pick. But that doesn’t mean they will stand pat. Never underestimate the chaos that ensues when the day rolls around. Picks will start jumping from team to team, anywhere from pick 2 to 60, before you know it. Which picks teams move are often circumstantial, especially as the draft rolls into the late first and early second rounds. Teams are starting to get comfortable with how many roster spots they want to invest in the draft and consider trading future seconds or even sending money considerations to picks to get them off their hands.
This is exactly where the Wolves could potentially capitalize on their upside by moving up in the 31-45 range and finding another potential impact role player.
Here are three players I have in mind that the Wolves could target to make a move for if they fall within that selection.
Kobe Brown | Forward | Missouri | 6’7″ 252 lbs | 7’0.75″ wingspan | Draft Age 23.5 |
Ranked #30 on my big board
Brown has many powerful features. He is fresh off a season with a Missouri Tigers team that saw incredible improvement as a team in the first year under coach Dennis Gates. Kobe has shown his worth in all four of his seasons at Missouri, starting 118 of his 123 games and showing linear development.
Here’s how he was statistically over his collegiate career:
What stands out from his numbers is the dramatic increase in three-point shooting in his final year compared to Years 1 to 3. Kobe shot 23.7% (49 of 207) from three on 2.3 attempts per game. game in his freshman season through junior seasons. But as a senior, he shot 45.5% (51 of 112) from three on an increased 3.3 attempts per. match.
Those three-point shots come mostly as a catch-and-shoot option, connecting on 46.2% of his C&S looks. Kobe shot 37% (17 of 46) from three on threes over the break from 24 feet or longer, also known as NBA threes. He was also a 50% (12 of 24) three-point corner shooter. Overall 41% (29 of 70) from the NBA series.
Kobe brings a fun presence on the ball with a skilled handle and comfort. He can push the ball off a rebound, attack a closeout off the dribble and find the open man across from him. He can also be a connection to more important offensive threats.
Defensively, Kobe is more suited to being a help side defender and lining up against wings and forwards. His massive frame can limit some mobility, though he can take advantage of using his physicality.
Overall, Kobe’s overall success in the league will be determined by his ability to build on his impressive senior season as a shooter and defender. Brown’s upside is hard to pass on if he falls out of the first round. A cheaper option at the forward position is always worth a gamble, especially with his potential 3&D abilities.
Here’s a glimpse of the style of play from his senior season:
Marcus Sasser | Guard | Houston | 6’2″ 195 lbs | 6’7″ wingspan | Draft Age 22.7 |
Ranked number 32 on my big board
Sasser would bring some much needed help to the wardroom for the wolves. Marcus was a consistent presence on the Houston Cougars, starting 93 of his 107 games. During his 4 seasons, Houston was a ridiculous 116-22. They went as far as the Final Four in 2021, losing to the eventual champion Baylor Bears. Sasser could have left school last season and entered the draft. However, he returned for his senior season, helping lead Houston along with fellow draft prospect Jarace Walker to a No. 1 seed and 33-4 record. He would go on to win American Conference Player of the Year honors.
Sasser’s style of play on offense is to get buckets, primarily through his jump shot, as his stats illustrate:
His shooting will translate with ease as he already has NBA range. Last season, Sasser shot 34% (30 of 88) from three on threes over the break from 24 feet or longer. He was also a 57% (20 of 35) corner three-point shooter, 40% overall (50 of 123) from the NBA line. Most of these were pull-up jumpers.
Despite being a smaller guard, Sasser is a strong defender who can use his quickness on the ball and relentless motor to stay with opponents. However, he is mostly limited to guards defensively.
Overall, Sasser would be a good player to bring into the roster as a potential backup. His game will be determined by how much his 3&D moves translate, shooting consistency and whether he can utilize other skills such as playmaking and a secondary shot.
Here are some highlights from Sasser’s most recent season:
Julian Strawther | Wing | Gonzaga | 6’7″ 208 lbs | 6’9.25″ wingspan | Draft Age – 21.2 |
Ranked #33 on my big board
Strawther would bring another great shooting presence to the Wolves while also having a great frame and size to work with. Julian started 68 of his 94 games at Gonzaga, playing on many talented teams under coach Mark Few. After a quiet freshman season backing up Washington Wizards forward Corey Kispert, Strawther took on a bigger role and thrived alongside players like Jalen Suggs, Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard. Those teams had tremendous success, posting a 90-11 record in the three years Strawther spent in Spokane and going to a national championship.
Offensively, Strawther uses his lightning-quick shot release to drill threes, his primary role with the Zags. Here’s how his stats stack up:
Strawther functions mostly as a catch-and-shoot threat and can affect the entire floor. In last season’s shooting, he shot 41% (39 of 95) on threes over the break from 24 feet or longer. He was also 42% (8 of 19) from the corner three, a total of 41% (47 of 114) from the NBA line. He’s not much of a motion shooter, but he does a great job of moving to open spaces to get ready.
When Strawther needs to find another shot, he loves to lean on his runner/floater. Leans on it often when people try to drive him off the 3-point line or when catching the ball coming around wide screens.
Strawther’s defense will make or break his career. He’s got solid size to work with, but he’s not the most athletic guy and doesn’t excel on or off the ball. He will need to rely on his three-point shot early as he works on his deficiencies.
You can’t rule out adding more length and shooting to the team. These are some of the best specialties to work with. Overall, you’re not going to find a perfectly well-rounded player in the second round, so why not settle for more effective traits to mold a player?
Here are some clips from his last season to get more familiar with his game: