Coming nearly five months after its typical date in June, the Minnesota Timberwolves will leave no stone unturned in evaluating prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft class.
With the No. 1, 17, and 33 selections in the upcoming Draft on November 18, President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas and his staff are examining every aspect of every prospect’s game in an effort to bolster the roster for next season and beyond.
Surrounded by the diverse experience and backgrounds of Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta and Assistant General Managers Gianluca Pascucci, Joe Branch, and Manny Rohan, as well as Vice President of Basketball Performance and Technology Robby Sikka, Rosas has ample resources at his disposal in evaluating each prospect. Having known their place in the Draft since the Lottery drawing in August, the Timberwolves staff has had months to identify talent.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosas and his team have been evaluating college and overseas game film while also holding Zoom calls with draft prospects.
“In a lot of ways, the extra time has been great,” Rosas told media via a Zoom call on Wednesday morning. “We’ve done serious, in-depth analysis of the body of the Draft that we typically wouldn’t have time to do. We’ve done multiple interviews. We’ve done the scouting perspective, the production perspective, the analysis perspective, the medical perspective in ways where a lot of times, you don’t have enough time to do it going from the end of the regular season to the Draft. This season has allowed us to do that.”
Media analysis leading up to the Draft has not provided a consensus, shoe-in prediction for the No. 1 pick. With the extra time to evaluate prospects, Rosas is confident the Wolves will land the player that best fits Minnesota’s system and organizational culture on Draft Night.
“There’s no guy that has separated himself from the pack [for the No. 1 pick], from a public or external view,” said Rosas. “But I’m very confident as we go through this process, the talent will rise to the top and we’ll be confident about identifying one guy as the best guy, the best talented player with the most upside and the most ability for our organization.
“We feel good about the talent up top; we feel good about the depth,” Rosas continued. “It’s easy for me to say that because we have those picks, but after studying these guys for six or seven months, we’re very confident of what Draft Night is going to bring us.”
After acquiring D’Angelo Russell at the trade deadline in February to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns as franchise cornerstones for the foreseeable future, adding talent in the Draft and via upcoming Free Agency to complement the All-Star duo is a priority for Rosas. Rosas is keeping the option of trading for veteran experience during the Draft open as a possibility.
“The Draft is going to be a big data point in terms of how [playoff contention next season] goes, whether we’re adding young talent or a trade happens and we’re adding a more ready-to-play player that contribute now,” Rosas said.
Though Russell and Towns played just one game together before a wrist injury sidelined Towns, the Wolves showed promise with the pair as the focal points. Rosas cited a top-10 offense and an improved defense as aspirations for the near future.
“I do believe last year we showed, especially when Karl played, the signs of a top-10 offense,” Rosas told media. “That’s going to be incredibly important for us. But we can’t ignore the fact that we have to improve defensively.”
The 2020 NBA Draft takes place on November 18. Visit Timberwolves.com’s Draft Central for coverage leading up to the event.