Timberwolves could rise faster than expected with draft, Mayo Clinic

Flip Saunders has a lot of decisions to make with the draft and free agency a week and change away.
Flip Saunders has a lot of decisions to make with the draft and free agency a week and change away.

I’m overly optimistic, which usually means I’ll be disappointed after the draft.

However, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the No. 1 pick this season. But, they could easily screw it up by drafting Kristaps Porzingis or Jahlil Okafor.Gosh, even if the T’wolves draft Karl-Anthony Towns or D’Angelo Russell, other moves and decisions need to be made with the roster, particularly with Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, and Anthony Bennett.

Minnesota has a nice, young core of players – Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng, and Shabazz Muhammad – but it’s about what it will add to this group.

For a few months, I’ve said Minnesota should take Towns with the No. 1 pick. I think he is the best player in the draft, besides Russell, and fills several voids for the T’wolves. He is a good defender and has shown the ability to have an offensive game that expands beyond the paint. He is a very versatile player, and that’s something that is now a skill in today’s NBA. He can play center and power forward, and might even be able to play small forward, at times, because of his athleticism.

Russell is also very intriguing because he is so smooth with the ball and great in the pick-and-roll. Gosh, he is oozing with offensive talent, and I have said he reminds me of James Harden. Russell isn’t a tremendous defender, but I think he could become a competent defender in time. The only problem is that head coach and general manager Flip Saunders loves Rubio, and it’ll be tough to trade him because his contract has him scheduled to make over $12.5 million to $14.8 million the next four seasons.

That big contract could turn out to be devastating to this team because I can’t think of any team that would be willing to take on that contract because Rubio hasn’t proved he can stay healthy or hit a jumper .

One thing that could attract some mid-to-upper level free agents is the exclusive partnership with The Mayo Clinic, the best health group in the entire world. The brand-new practice facilities have said to be “state-of-the-art.”

A computer-generated image of the Minnesota Timberwolves new practice facility partnered with The Mayo Clinic.
A computer-generated image of the Minnesota Timberwolves new practice facility partnered with The Mayo Clinic.

I mean, it looks good. I haven’t been able to check out the facility on my own. Also, I live in North Dakota, so that would be a bit of a trek to check out a practice facility. However, a partnership with The Mayo Clinic can only help attract free agents. It is a world-leading health group and could help some veterans extend their careers a few more years, and hopefully a few good years with the hometown club.

When it comes to free agents and Minnesota, everyone talks about the bitterly cold winters and that it’s a deterring factor in free agents coming to Minnesota. Who cares about the weather, really? Basketball is played indoors. Shopping for cars and clothes take place indoors. Eating in restaurants take place indoors. Everything takes place indoors! NBA players don’t have much time off anyway, so even if it was nice outside, what would you do outdoors? Is going to a beach still fun between the ages of 25-30? Give me a break.

There are two things will attract free agents to Minnesota, but there is an order to the two things.

1.) Minnesota needs to improve and win games.

If No. 1 happens, then No. 2 (The Mayo Clinic) will make it easier to garner free agents.

In conclusion, I have hope for Minnesota. I want to see this team succeed and I believe it is headed in the right direction. If some useful pieces are added, then I think the Timberwolves will surprise some folks next season.

Once again, I’m overly optimistic.


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