With the NBA Draft right around the corner, who are the players most frequently projected to go to the Wolves?
As someone who thoroughly enjoys draft season but doesn’t get quite as into it as others, here’s what I’ll call “a condensed, consensus mock draft” for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I’ve scoured the internet for mock drafts, on a mission to compile all of what I can find. I’ll leave the detailed prospect analysis to someone else, so without further ado: this is who’s most frequently being mocked to the Wolves at No. 19 and how they’d theoretically fit on this roster.
For each player, I’ve kept a tally of how many times they’ve been mocked to the Wolves at No. 19. The mock drafts analyzed come from CBS, Yahoo, Bleacher Report, NBADraft.net, Sports Illustrated, The Ringer, Tankathon, The Rookie Wire, FantasyPros, etc.
To keep up with who the Wolves are bringing in for draft workouts, take a look at our Minnesota Timberwolves 2022 NBA Draft Workouts Tracker.
Honorable Mentions/Other Names to Watch: Jeremy Sochan, MarJon Beauchamp, E.J. Liddell, Kennedy Chandler, Tari Eason
Aside from the top four guys that will soon be mentioned, there are several other players that have been mocked to the Wolves at No. 19. Let’s rifle these off speed round-style.
If the Wolves decide to draft for fit, E.J. Liddell would be a great choice. The three-year player from Ohio State stands at 6-foot-7 and weighs 240 pounds, which would provide the Wolves the interior braun they’ve been needing (theoretically, at least). Liddell is a bit undersized for the four or five, but provides solid passing vision and high basketball IQ. Liddell has also completed a workout for the Wolves.
Jeremy Sochan has a similar skillset as Liddell, but is probably more of a switchable, scrappy forward that can provide a defensive spark. He’s 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, which would allow for the 19-year-old from Baylor to be played at the four or (maybe) the small-ball five.
On the theme of potential power forwards, Tari Eason is another option to slide in at the four (or five). Eason is a great defender who’s able to block shots and get steals. The LSU product has good athleticism for being 6-foot-8, 215 pounds.
Kennedy Chandler is a speedy guard that excels are creating space and passing. At 6-foot-1 (in shoes) and 170 pounds, the one-and-done from Tennessee might struggle to keep up on defense in the NBA. Chandler has also been brought in for a workout for the Wolves.
Running on the wings with Hardy with the G League Ignite, MarJon Beauchamp was able to create for himself and do well on-ball. He shot just 24% from beyond the arc during his lone season in the G League, and will need to work on scoring in the flow of an offense as opposed to constantly working with the ball in his hands. Beauchamp has good size at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, but could add a few pounds to his frame.
T-2: Nikola Jovic (3)
The 6-foot-10, 209-pound Jovic (No, this is a different Serbian basketball player who’s named Nikola) played *checks notes* shooting guard and small forward for KK Mega Mozzart in the Adriatic – Liga ABA this season, where the soon-to-be 19-year-old played 25 games. He averaged 11.7 points per game, while shooting 35.6% from beyond the arc.
Jovic is arguably the top international prospect in this draft, having played an average of 28.4 minutes per game in 32 games.
The Serbian has a well-rounded offensive game, with the ability to get to the rim and shoot from outside. He’s quick and agile for his size, but lacks explosive athleticism (as many bigs do). His knack for passing is a nice complement to his scoring ability (in three games in the ABA Junior league he averaged 11 AST per game, outside of those games he averaged four).
Minnesota selecting Jovic would be a “he’s got too much potential to pass on here” move, as the versatile big’s ceiling is tremendously high. Jovic would provide yet another weapon on offense for the Wolves, being able to space the floor and create. Despite all he could bring to the table, this selection would (potentially) run perpendicular to the Wolves’ win-now mindset. Like Liddell and Chandler, the Wolves have held Jovic for a workout before the draft.
T-2: Jaden Hardy (3)
Standing at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Hardy has good size as a point guard and decent size as a shooting guard. The No. 2 overall recruit in the 2021 class chose the G-League over college, where he was prominently featured on the Ignite team.
Hardy thrives off of his athleticism and ability to attack the rim and create his own shot. The 19-year-old’s proven to be a streaky shooter, but his mechanics are good. He’s young, and it shows as his shot selection can be a bit questionable.
On the defensive side of the ball he has ideal intangibles – quick feet, good lateral movement and can be solid in help defense. Hardy has the size to be a solid two-way player, but it will hinge on his situation and how the staff guides him along. Hardy has also been brought in for the workout with the Wolves.
#2: Blake Wesley (3)
Like Nikola Jovic (again, not the back-to-back MVP), Wesley was a college one-and-done, spending his lone season at Notre Dame. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard has a similar build — and skillset — as Hardy, and averaged 14.4 PTS through 35 games in 2021-22, flashing high-level scoring ability.
Draft profiles label Wesley as a player who excels at scoring, primarily on his own. He has good isolation skills and is able to thrive on-ball because of his athleticism.
The Indiana native has a relatively slight frame, weighing in at 185 pounds. For his height — and for his specific skillset as a scorer — he could benefit from adding a few pounds, but showed he can be effective at his current weight while in college.
I’m seeing mixed reviews on his playmaking ability, which, despite where it stands, would certainly be a secondary aspect of his game. If developed well, it would make Wesley a valuable guard with both scoring and facilitating skills.
Shooting is another trait that was up and down, as Wesley finished the year at 30.3% from 3-point range — despite shooting 40% in the first five games — and has a jump shot that should translate well to the NBA.
What Wesley would add to the Wolves seems a bit redundant, with Anthony Edwards holding down the on-ball creation portion of the offense. That doesn’t mean Wesley’s talents wouldn’t benefit the bench unit, though. There were times where the Wolves needed a player capable of going and getting their own shot, a role that was filled by Jaylen Nowell periodically this season.
#1: Tyty Washington (4)
Washington spent just one year at Kentucky, during which he averaged 12.5 PTS and 4 AST on 45% shooting. The Phoenix native stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 197 pounds.
Mock drafts describe Washington as a quick guard who excels in transition, passes well and can score from everywhere. He’s considered a good 3-point shooter (shot 35%), although he didn’t attempt too many during his only college season (about three per game).
The All-SEC guard would be the “well, we’re not sure what’s gonna happen with D’Angelo Russell, so we should probably pick a guard just in case” pick in this draft, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A Russell departure would throw a wrench in things, and it doesn’t hurt to take a player that can hold their own at either guard position. Washington proved he could play the spot-up shooter role, which, although valuable, might be more difficult in the league if he plays the 2, as he’ll be required to defend bigger guards effectively.
Seems as if guard help and athletic forwards dominate the mock drafts for the Wolves, which makes sense. Per usual, many guys in this class have what most call “raw” talent and will take some time to develop into consistent rotation players. This brings forth an interesting opportunity for the Wolves: considering how young Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels are, could they draft a “project” forward and try and groom him into a starting-caliber player in a year or two? Or draft a first-round level talent that brings a valuable rookie contract to the books after Edwards and McDaniels sign extensions? And in the meantime sign a veteran to share minutes with Jarred Vanderbilt to stop the hemorrhaging at power forward?
The significance remains the same: the 2022 NBA Draft is another big step in forming a group that can keep up in the West for years to come.