NBA Mock Draft: Timberwolves at No. 1 bring order to chaos

(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
1 of 15

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery and their choice will bring order to the chaos of this draft class.

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the top prize in this year’s NBA Draft Lottery, jumping into the top slot. They weren’t the only team that moved up — the Bulls and Hornets both made huge leaps, pushing down the Cavaliers, Knicks and Hawks. This draft class has talent but plenty of questions and how the Timberwolves at No. 1 and the Warriors at No. 2 approach things will create a ripple effect through the first round.

Who do the Minnesota Timberwolves take with the No. 1 pick?

The analysis of each individual player here relies heavily on the insights of our own draft experts, Trevor Magnotti, Ben Pfiefer and Jackson Frank. Each pick is not necessarily a guess at who each team will or even should take, just a hopefully insightful match between prospect skill and upside and each team’s need.

And if you’re looking at any of these picks wondering what the heck I was thinking, just remember that mock drafts are made to be mocked.

. Guard. Boston Celtics. Nico Mannion. 30. player. 18

The Celtics have three first-round picks and the chance to add depth in all sorts of places. Mannion’s ceiling might be as a high-level bench player but his passing and shooting could make him useful in several different roles.

Learn more about Nico Mannion with our full scouting report.

. Guard. Toronto Raptors. Grant Riller. 29. player. 81

If the Raptors lose Fred VanVleet in free agency this summer, their backcourt could use a boost of playmaking and shooting. There are questions about his defensive upside but Riller is as close an offensive approximation of VanVleet as Toronto is likely to find.

28. player. 20. . Guard. Los Angeles Lakers. Theo Maledon

Maledon has some rough edges to his game but his high-level European experience makes him more of a plug-and-play than some other 19-year-olds. His defense is a question mark but the Lakers could use his size, shooting and complementary playmaking in the backcourt.

27. player. 27. . Big. New York Knicks. Zeke Nnaji

Nnaji wins with motor and mobility, although he’s not much of a rim protector. His switchability and floor-spacing potential might make him worth a roll of the dice for the Knicks.

player. 18. . Big. Boston Celtics. Killian Tillie. 26

Tillie is might be the best big-man shooter in this class and has the ability shoot off movement and add some off-ball wrinkles to the Celtics’ offense. If he’s healthy he could be a fun contributor down the road.

player. 149. . Big. Oklahoma City Thunder. Jalen Smith. 25

The Thunder roster is loaded with veterans who will eventually turn over. Smith might not be a future starter, but his shot-blocking and potential floor-spacing make him worth a look as a pick-and-roll partner for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Forward. Milwaukee Bucks. Paul Reed. 24. player. 89.

Reed is a bouncy, disruptive forward with potential as a shooter and pick-and-roll finisher. He has a tendency to make things more complicated than it needs to be, but with some refinement, he could be a valuable and versatile contributor.

Learn more about Paul Reed with our full scouting report.

118. . Wing. Utah Jazz. R.J. Hampton. 23. player

Hampton might have lottery-level talent but I have him sliding here because he’s such a developmental prospect, with slashing as his only defined NBA-level skill right now. The Jazz have the infrastructure to help him take it slowly and grow into a key rotation player down the road.

Learn more about R.J. Hampton with our full scouting report.

Denver Nuggets. Josh Green. 22. player. 73. . Wing

Green may have less offensive upside than some of the other 3-and-D prospects in this class but he should be able to hit open jumpers and his strength and power defending guards like Donovan Mitchell would be a welcome addition to the rotation.

21. player. 93. . Guard. Philadelphia 76ers. Tyrell Terry

Terry’s lack of strength limits his potential as a defender and finisher and might cap his ceiling somewhere below “starting point guard.” Luckily the 76ers already have that spot filled and mostly need shooting. Terry is one of the best shooting prospects in this class, able to hit on spot-ups, off movement or off the dribble.

Learn more about Tyrell Terry with our full scouting report.

Aleksej Pokusevski. 20. player. 110. . Big. Miami Heat

Poku is a project and one of the youngest players in this draft class. But he also presents a tantalizing combination of size, shooting ability, mobility and high-level ball skills. For a young team like the Heat he could be worth the wait.

Brooklyn Nets. Aaron Nesmith. 19. player. 147. . Forward

Nesmith might have a fairly one-dimensional game but his shooting ability, both spotting up and running off screens, could be a useful addition next season with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant drawing so much offensive attention.

79. . Guard. Dallas Mavericks. Isaiah Joe. 18. player

The Mavericks desperately need shooters around Luka Doncic and Joe is one of the best and most versatile in the class. There are defensive and playmaking question marks but those aren’t pressing enough to keep Dallas from gambling on his jumper.

Minnesota Timberwolves. Xavier Tillman. 17. player. 86. . Big

Tillman looks like a fantastic team defender who could help cover up some of Karl-Anthony Towns’ shortcomings at that end. He’s also a very good passer who would be a useful offensive cog in a few different ways.

34. . Forward. Portland Trail Blazers. Saddiq Bey. 16. player

The Trail Blazers seem to have they everything they need right now but adding depth in Bey’s skill areas — spot-up 3-point shooting and defensive versatility across the 3 and the 4 — are always welcome.

. Wing. Orlando Magic. Desmond Bane. 15. player. 38

The Magic could use point guard depth as well but Bane’s NBA-ready, 3-and-D-and-a-little-more package is too good to pass up here.