In the 2022 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the 19th overall pick and a future second-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies. In return, they received the 22nd and 29th picks that night. With the 22nd pick, they selected Walker Kessler from Auburn University.
With a 7’1”, 255-lb frame, the 20-year-old is a traditional center – a type of player we do not see much anymore. At Auburn, Kessler averaged 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks while shooting 60.8% from the field.
With these numbers, Kessler helped Auburn to an SEC regular-season championship and a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kessler was also voted the 2022 NABC Division 1 National Defensive Player of the Year.
This is a pretty impressive resume for such a young player, but now the question is, how well he will fit in with the Minnesota Timberwolves at the NBA level?
How does Walker Kessler fit with the Minnesota Timberwolves?
By drafting Kessler, the Timberwolves addressed the lacking rim protection and rebounding they showed in the 2021-22 season. They actually played an above-average defense, but ranked fourth worse in defensive rebounds in the league, fifth-worst in opponent field goal percentage within three feet, and allowed the second most dunks in the entire league.
Karl Anthony Towns (10.8 rebounds) and Jarred Vanderbilt (7.2 rebounds) were the only players who put up impressive rebounding numbers. Here, Kessler can be a valuable asset and improve the team’s numbers.