NOTE: This is a series of articles written by individual authors, both in and out of The Draft Class. These are all part of The Draft Class’ NBA Re-Draft, in which all of the current 30 NBA teams are represented and will undergo a simulation through NBA 2K20, with the goal to build the best team over the next five years. All teams have already been formed through the snake draft. These pieces will break down why each team’s representative drafted the way they did, as well as the approach the representative had heading into the draft.
GM: Sam Johnson (@SamJ015)
Minnesota Timberwolves – 17th pick
Round 1: I was very torn here between three guys – Karl-Anthony Towns, Donovan Mitchell and Paul George. I did really want to start out with a wing/primary creator type, but I ended up going with the big man. Ultimately, I felt like KAT’s bankable offense (elite efficiency and shooting) along with his youth pushed the needle in his favor.
I think KAT is the best player of the bunch for the next five years (PG-13 will push a bit past his prime during Years 3-5), especially if I can grow his defensive chops just a little bit. Also, I thought it was very fitting that I would lock up KAT in Minnesota, and was intrigued to see if I could put a better roster around him than the one he’s been working with in real life.
Round 2: Truth be told, I did not like my choices here. I was all set to take Russell Westbrook (shocked he was on the board into the 40s) until he went one pick before me. My board was then scattered with a bunch of guys I felt very “eh” about as my second round pick. When it came down to it, I was tossing around D’Angelo Russell, Aaron Gordon (more on him later) and Jrue Holiday.
I am slightly obsessed with shooting and Jrue hasn’t been over 36% from deep in five years, and he’s also already 29 years old. “Terrified” is a good word for how I felt about uniting (re-uniting?) D-Lo and KAT given their defensive struggles so far in their careers, but I felt their timelines matched and again was curious to see if I could compile a good unit despite their limitations on one end of the floor; plus, I am now a lock for the best chemistry in the league. I’m mentally banking five extra wins on top of any win total projections.
Round 3: Wow. I’m not sure whether I should be embarrassed that I strongly considered Aaron Gordon in Round 2, or just be gleeful that I “stole” him 32 picks later. I needed to enter some athleticism and muscle into the fray as well as some defensive ability. It hasn’t shown so far in 2019-20, but his defensive rating last season was just above 107, which was good for the 82nd percentile in the league.
Playing next to two great offensive hubs, I expect him to hone in and max out his effort on defense for the Wolves. I’m also fully prepared to convince him to enter the dunk contest one more time (you’re welcome). I now have a trio of 24 year olds anchoring my team which is perfect for our five year simulation.
Rounds 4 & 5: My goal here was to fill out my starting lineup with more shooting, some defense, and toughness if possible. Bojan Bogdanovic was sort of a best player available selection (shooter – 40%+ from 3PT, three seasons running) and can play both forward positions. He also provides perhaps surprisingly solid defense, showcased by his better-than-expected performance on LeBron James in the first round in 2018. In Round 5, I grabbed Delon Wright for his scrappy defense, ability to play both guard positions, and his low usage rate that will fit in nicely next to D-Lo and KAT.
Rounds 6-8: Here, I was able to find three bench pieces that I honestly feel could step in and start in certain matchups or to backfill an injury (albeit injuries are off in our 2K20 simulation). I loved Derrick Favors as a defensive big (primarily a Center) to pick up some slack for Towns, as Favors has really kept the Pelicans afloat this season on that end of the floor. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green were two very solid “3 and D” wings to be mixed and matched across many lineups with my D-Lo-KAT pairing. Green certainly lasted this long due to age, but at Pick 224 I was happy to pounce.
Rounds 9 & 10: I finished out with another Timberwolf because why not? I have really liked Jordan McLaughlin’s progression this season, as he looked very lost at first but has shown out in the second half. Keldon Johnson was a complete upside dart for my last selection. Chances are slim, but he’s averaging 20 PPG in the G League and the success rate for Kentucky alumni is off the charts, so I figured I’d take a swing.
In review, I had a ton of fun re-drafting this squad. I definitely was not prepared for the behemoth of a draft with all 30 teams, but it was fun to adjust my plans on the fly. In my opinion, my revamped T’Wolves squad is a big upgrade from the real life squad. I really like the offensive firepower I obtained as well as the versatility across the roster. I project this team for an average of about 47 wins, with a likely peak in Year 3. Wolves fans – you can thank me later.