This is my second edition of a full Timberwolves mock draft. Today I’m doing something a little different, I’m making a trade. I’ll be trading up in this draft to select a player I think fits the wolves perfectly, and is a realistic want for Gupta. Let’s get into it!
The Timberwolves acquire the 10th overall pick from the Portland TrailBlazers (Blazers also have pick 7). The TrailBlazers acquire: Timberwolves 2022 FRP (pick 17), future lottery protected pick & Naz Reid.
The pick: Jalen Duren – C Memphis 6’11 Freshman
I have the wolves selecting Jalen Duren with this pick. I think it’s very possible he falls to 10, but could also be picked as high as 6 due to center needs. Duren is one of the younger players in the class, recently turning 18. He’s a 6’11 paint beast and shot blocker. His per game stats are: 11.4PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 2.2 BPG, on 63-0-58 splits.
Let’s start out with what he’s not good at, and needs to improve on. Clearly shooting isn’t a strength, he never attempts 3’s. He’s a poor free throw shooter, but there’s hope he can improve over time. He’s actually been developing a jump shot over the season, he attempts multiple a game and has made a good amount. He may hurt your spacing early on, but with how the wolves play offense off the bench with Beasley, and other guys I don’t think it will be a massive problem.
The positives: Duren is one of the best young shot blockers in college basketball. Has an INSANE muscular frame at his age, and commands the glass. He could instantly come in and help the post defense and rebounding. He’s a big lob threat with a massive vertical. He’s a fantastic perimeter defender for his size, something Naz Reid lacks off the bench. He’s got big time upside, and his floor isn’t that low. At pick #10 you can’t expect a star, but he definitely has star upside.
Why trade up? This would be the perfect time to finish off the wolves future core. A core that could take us to a championship. Duren fits well with the guys we have, and isn’t ball dominant at all. Trading up for a rookie that doesn’t have a massive contract leaves us flexibility still in the offseason. So if the wolves can upgrade their roster and future massively this offseason without spending big money, this is the route.
Over time if Duren develops into the player I think he can be, of course he would start. He’s super capable of playing the power forward spot next to Kat with his speed and perimeter ability. Or maybe even Kat would move to PF and Duren would start at C due to KAT’s shooting ability, and the fact that he basically has been guarding power forwards all year. I think Duren makes this teams ceiling so much higher, we don’t really have a player like him.
The Timberwolves have 3 second round picks, and I’m definitely not a fan of using them all. So my plan here is to package two of them for a higher pick. Ideally, I’d just want 1 player from the second round, but I’ll take two for this mock.
Timberwolves trade picks 41 & 46 in this years second round class to the Oklahoma City Thunder for pick 34.
The pick: Caleb Houstan– SF Michigan 6’8 Freshman
Houstan has definitely dropped off on tons of draft boards this year. Before the college year started, I had him as a mid-first round prospect, but a disappointing Michigan season has dropped his ranks. Michigan as a team has been disappointing.
This year Houstan is putting up: 10.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG on 39-34-74 splits.
Houstan was thought as one of the most talented shooters coming into the season, and had a really rough start to the year. Since then he’s picked things up, and has played better. With him being a perimeter oriented forward, that fits well In our offensive system. He’s an athletic skilled swing man. He’s shown a lot of energy on defense, but gambles a lot in the process. Definitely someone that can out perform his draft spot.
50th pick: Julian Champagine G 6’8 St. John’s Junior
I would be hyped if Julian fell to 50 with the chance of us getting him. He’s someone that will get looks in the first round. To be fair, there’s probably 50 players we could see drafted in the first round. His stats this year are: 18.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 SPG on 41-34-77 splits.
Julian is a big guard that can score on all levels. His playmaking definitely needs work, I don’t know how much he would need to do in that area for the wolves. He reads passing lanes well on defense, and can be a big energetic defender. He’s a little older, and he’s been in college basketball for 3 years now.
That will conclude the wolves 2022 draft night. I think trading up for Duren should be something Gupta should seriously be considering. I think a core of Dlo/Ant/Jaden/Vando/Kat/Duren wins a title down the road. I think it’s realistic and likely that our core is like that in 5 years if we get Duren.