Timberwolves win draft lottery, looking at guard

written by: Joseph Cotton
LaMelo Ball is one of the most divisive prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft. Despite his overseas production and NBA pedrigree, there is concerns about whether Ball’s jump shot and defense will translate well to the league.

Photo courtesy of NBC Sports

After the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Draft lottery last Thursday, the order for the 2020 NBA Draft is now official.

The Minnesota Timberwolves select first, the Golden State Warriors choose second and the Charlotte Hornets third. The only remaining question is who will choose whom.

Xavier could see some representation in the draft as well, with Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall both draft-eligible.

This year’s draft class is rather weak compared to other draft classes. It is much more similar to the 2017 draft class where there was no clear number one pick. 

Because there is no one standout, teams will look to add to their roster with promising players they’re looking to develop later down the road. 

For the Timberwolves, the pick seems obvious: Georgia’s Anthony Edwards.

Again, it’s not that he is a better player than the rest of the pack, but that he is the best fit for the Timberwolves.

Edwards is a 6’8” shooting guard who has a knack for putting the ball in the basket.

 He embodies a “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” playstyle. For his size, he moves with exceptional grace and has a strong grasp on the fundamentals of basketball.

That being said, he struggles from behind the three point line, as he shot 29.1% from behind the arc. He also struggles with shot selection. As the primary scorer on a barely above average Georgia team, he was prone to tossing up bad shots instead of setting up his teammates.

For me the next pick is also obvious. The Warriors are selecting center James Wiseman with the No.2  pick. Wiseman gives them hope for an elite center in the future if they are able to properly develop and integrate him into the offense.

This pick would make them a scary team as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson come back from injury. 

Even during their famed NBA championship runs the Warriors never had a good center, so the selection of Wiseman would set them up for another few seasons of NBA Finals contention. For the third pick, I expect the Hornets to choose guard LaMelo Ball. They are a team willing to take risks and Ball definitely qualifies as one. He could be one of the next elite point guards, or he could be completely blown out by the tougher competition of the NBA.

LaMelo’s biggest flaw is that he is a terrible shooter and needs the ball to be successful.

His release is slow, inconsistent and looks amatuer. But with a few tweaks to his shot, he should be able to fit into a modern NBA offense.

On the other hand, he could be unproductive with the ball and not have the basketball IQ to adjust his game to a more off-ball approach.

Two Xavier players have the opportunity to be selected in this year’s draft. Power forward Tyrique Jones has excited scouts with his strength, defensive ability and rebounding sense. He hovers between the 62nd and the 58th spot in  pre-draft rankings

Forward Naji Marshall could also be picked in the draft. He could be a potential target of the Pelicans due to his playstyle.