Minnesota Timberwolves win first pick in 2020 NBA Draft Lottery

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The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery Thursday night and the first-pick right in the Draft later this year.

The Timberwolves, who finished the season with the third worst record, will be followed by the Golden State Warriors, who finished the season with the worst record, then the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls in the October 16 draft.

“There are still a lot of steps left on this journey for us, but today was an important day,” said Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. “We’re excited about the potential level of player we can add to our organization, but at the same time we’re going to be very aggressive and look at all avenues to improve this team. We have two young stars in Karl- Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell that we are building this together [with]. We have a great young core that is young and one of the youngest, if not the youngest, team in the NBA. We have a lot of advantages.

“But it allows us to take a major step in the acquisition of talent, whether in the draft or the trade market, whatever the case. It positions us really well to move forward. ”

The irony that Wolves and Warriors were the last two teams to receive their picks on Thursday night was that the two had engaged in a successful trade at this year’s deadline, sending Russell from Golden State to Minnesota in exchange of Andrew Wiggins and a top-3. protected first-round pick in next year’s draft.

Russell and Stephen Curry – who started the season as Golden State’s starting backcourt – were the last two faces on screen representing their respective organizations before it was determined that Minnesota would get the first overall pick for the first time since Towns was written in 2015..

“That’s why we brought D’Angelo here,” Rosas said. “He’s one of the faces of our organization, and he’s closer, as he showed tonight. We are excited.

” That’s what it’s about. We are building this the right way, step by step. We want to make sure we’re doing it the right way, and the opportunity… you want to be in a situation where hard work meets opportunity and you catch a break like this, and that’s where we come from. are tonight. ”

While Minnesota is built around pillars in cities and Russell’s that are in their mid-twenties, Warriors are in an entirely different place. Golden State, of course, reached the last five NBA Finals – and won three titles – before injuries decimated the roster this season. They fell to become the worst team in the league as Curry missed all but a handful of games with a hand injury and Klay Thompson has been out all season with a torn ACL.

“It’s weird,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols before the draft order was revealed. “You showed this clip from the journey we’ve been on for the past five or six years. … We want every experience in the league, so now we’re in the lottery trying to get a high draft pick.

“We’ll see what happens, but it gives a perspective on the squad we’re going to have next year with the guys coming back from injury, Klay, which Draymond [Green’s] gone through this past year, myself getting out of hand. … So we are obviously confident and know what we are capable of and we will see how it all goes. ”

Now armed with the runner-up pick, the Warriors could enter the trade market and aggressively seek talent to improve their roster around their veteran core of Curry, Thompson and Green to try and revive themselves in the championship pursuit next season – in assuming all three. the stars are back at full force.

“I know there are a lot of stories around us and what we’re going to do with it, but we really don’t know anything at this point,” Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said. “We found out half an hour ago that we had pick number two, so this is the first step in getting some clarity. And now it will be, ‘Do we love anybody over there?’ We don’t have full control over the draft, but all you have to love is have two guys be happy which makes things a bit easier.

“But I have no idea what the value of this choice is, how much people covet it, and I don’t think I’ll find out any time soon. This is something that could play out over the next couple of months. But generally the number two choices is pretty good so I imagine we’ll be happy – I think we’ll be happy with all of the options, whichever route we take we’ll be pretty happy with it. ”

Myers also said Curry, Thompson and Green will have a say in what the team does with the selection.

“These guys, I feel like they’ve earned the right to say whatever they want,” Myers said. “And I also earned the right to listen and do what we think is right. It is mutual respect.

“They have always been cooperative and thoughtful, and whether it is a minimum player, we ask them their opinion, sometimes on the trades, we ask them their opinion. When guys win three championships for you I think they deserve it.

“I hope they liked what we did. We weren’t perfect, but I think we gave these three guys some good tools to come out and win, and I think they would say the same. … But I don’t think they’re that type, and they don’t want to have the responsibility of pushing us in a direction that we don’t want to go either. It’s not something they’ve never done before. ”

The Hornets and Bulls moved up from eighth and seventh, respectively – although they weren’t as lucky as the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies to move from those spots to the top two last year.

For Charlotte, this allows the team to secure a young building block to put alongside point guard Devonte ‘Graham, the team’s rep for the Draft Lottery, and to pass Miles Bridges and PJ Washington.

“I think I’ve been pretty consistent with what we need,” said general manager Mitch Kupchak. “I don’t think our team is at the developmental stage where we could say, ‘Hey, we need a big one or we need a guard or we need a wing’ and we just pass on maybe be better talented to fill a position. We are not at this stage yet. We need to add talent to this team, whatever their position. ”

Chicago has some luck early in the tenure of executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, who succeeded John Paxson as the team’s chief decision maker earlier this year.

The Bulls, who are looking for a new coach after sacking Jim Boylen last week, will add another young player to a core of guards Coby White and Zach LaVine and great men Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

“I don’t think you meet the needs at [number] four, ”Karnisovas said. You get the best talent. That’s what we’re going to be looking for, the best player on the rise. ”

Instead of the usual gathering of representatives from the 14 teams participating in the lottery, this year’s draw was done virtually, with all 14 teams represented on a video teleconference as ping pong balls were drawn at Secaucus , New Jersey.

Unlike last year, when Zion Williamson and Ja Morant were clearly the first and second pick in the draft, this year’s harvest of prospects is wide open, with no consensus on who should go where. Two of the potential options, however, are LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of Pelicans goalie Lonzo Ball, and Georgia goaltender Anthony Edwards.

Ball, who spent the season playing in Australia, said while broadcasting the lottery on ESPN that the experience had benefited him.

“I think it made me a better basketball player than I am today,” Ball said. “I really started to take it seriously and see the world differently. ”

Edwards, meanwhile, said playing in Georgia prepared him for the ups and downs of NBA life.

“I feel like it prepared me because I learned to handle bad games,” said Edwards. “I had a lot of bad games so it taught me to face them and move on. ”

The other thing about the lottery was that the Grizzlies didn’t drop from 14th place – meaning that pick will go to the Boston Celtics, as they were ranked in the top 6. The Celtics now have three first-round picks (14th, 26th and 30th) in this year’s draft.

ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez and Royce Young contributed to this report.

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