The Minnesota Timberwolves made a splash in the 2019 NBA Draft, trading up to select NCAA Tournament darling Jarrett Culver with the sixth overall pick. Was it worth it?
The Minnesota Timberwolves only had two selections in Thursday night’s draft — the 11th and 43rd overall picks. Hours before 2019 NBA Draft began, the Wolves traded the 11th pick and Dario Saric to the Phoenix Suns for the sixth pick.
One’s impression of this year’s draft solely hinges on that move. In the long windup to Thursday night, the Wolves looked dead-set on taking their point guard of the future, either Darius Garland or Coby White. Minnesota moved up because it had to in order to get either one of those guys.
Some pessimists out there in the north have speculated that the Wolves were working with bad intel when they traded up, believing Garland would still be there at No. 6 (he was taken fifth by the Cleveland Cavaliers). The Wolves apparently listened to some offers for their newly acquired sixth pick before deciding to select shooting guard Jarrett Culver, despite Coby White being on the board still.
Long story short, Dario Saric looked unhappy all year after being traded to Minnesota. It would be logical to assume it was his benching immediately after the trade, but by the time Ryan Saunders took over as head coach, Saric was starting the majority of games. Theoretically, Saric and Karl-Anthony Towns were a tremendous match, and despite that duo seeing some success together on the court, his individual production was lacking.
Packaging Saric — who was also about to get expensive as a restricted free agent after the 2019-20 season — and the 11th pick to move up into better territory and draft a future All-Star is a bet most teams should take when given the chance.
No matter how you feel about Culver, teams need to take big swings every now and then. Until you make contact, the NBA won’t stop dunking on you in the most savage possible ways:
Here are the Timberwolves’ grades for the 2019 NBA Draft — let’s hope this year works out better than most have.