The Minnesota Timberwolves are doing alright now, with a chance to draft the first overall pick in the coming NBA Draft and already have a legitimate franchise player in Karl Anthony Towns on the roster. They are an organization that is dedicated to winning and seems to be a popular destination for players.
But they must use the first overall pick wisely. In the past, Minnesota has made some poor choices in terms of their picks. They have had the chance to sign some Hall of Fame quality players only to miss out by a single pick. This means that after the Timberwolves drafted their player, a much better player was drafted right after them.
Here are the 5 worst Draft mistakes the Timberwolves made between the period of 2008-2014.
O.J. Mayo (2008 NBA Draft) – 3rd Overall Pick
Next Pick: Russell Westbrook – 4th Overall Pick
This was extremely unacceptable. The Timberwolves felt that they were smarter than everyone when they took O.J. Mayo with the third overall pick. Teams valued Mayo greatly, because of his shooting and scoring ability that could have translated to the NBA, but you don’t pass up on a guy like Russell Westbrook. Westbrook as a rookie was incredibly raw, but he had so much athleticism that he could clearly be molded into a great player.
The Wolves could have found their franchise player if only they didn’t get convinced with Mayo’s shooting. Obviously, fast forward 12 years later, and Mayo is out of the league for silly behavior while Westbrook has an MVP Award to his name.
Jonny Flynn (2009 NBA Draft) – 6th Overall Pick
Next Pick: Stephen Curry – 7th Overall Pick
The biggest disaster in Minnesota Timberwolves history was drafting Johnny Flynn in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Wolves thought they made a perfect choice. They thought no other franchise took a chance on Flynn, and that he would be a diamond in the rough. Instead, the Wolves are being laughed at for their silly and baseless decision. Flynn lasted 1.5 seasons with the Wolves and was out of the NBA after his third season in the league.
This draft class was loaded with talented point guards, including Jeff Teague and among others. But the biggest travesty is not drafting Stephen Curry, the best shooter in NBA history, and a 2-time MVP. Teams valued Curry, but he had an injury history that was scary. It made sense why the Wolves had doubts about him, but why not go for the player who is most skilled? Flynn had good size for a point guard but he flamed out and only lasted seasons in the NBA.
Wesley Johnson (2010 NBA Draft) – 4th Overall Pick
Next Pick: DeMarcus Cousins – 5th Overall Pick
Wesley Johnson has not had a bad career but he was never even close to being the player that the Timberwolves needed. In fact, Johnson has been a role player for his entire career. Averaging only 7.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG for his career, Johnson was a waste of a 4th overall pick in a talented NBA Draft class.
The fact that DeMarcus Cousins, arguably the most talented big man in the game in his prime, was available and not taken is astounding. Cousins fell all the way to 5th, and each one of the prior three teams needs to be scolded for their decision (Wall went first). The Timberwolves really missed the mark on this one.
Shabazz Muhammad (2013 NBA Draft) – 14th Overall Pick
Next Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 15th Overall Pick
In the 2013 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves once again drafted a wing player but not the right one. Shabazz Muhammad had some talent and was valued by many teams, but once again an athletic freak of nature was available in the draft. Giannis seemed very raw, which he was, but his size and length meant he was a better prospect than Muhammad. If the Wolves wanted a wing for the future, why not go for the one who can be molded the best?
Giannis Antetokounmpo has obviously had a better career than Muhammad. Giannis has a DPOY Award and a second MVP Award coming on the way. Antetokounmpo looks primed to be the face of the league and the Wolves will never get to know the feeling of having a dominant two-way forward on the team.
Glenn Robinson III (2014 NBA Draft) – 40th Overall Pick
Next Pick: Nikola Jokic – 41st Overall Pick
The 2014 NBA Draft had some gems, none brighter than Nikola Jokic. It seems that the Wolves started going after wing players because they were hell-bent on Glenn Robinson III who is nothing but a role player. Robinson III did not do much for the Timberwolves, averaging 1.2 PPG and lasting only one season.
Jokic, on the other hand, is currently the best center in the game and has changed the Denver Nuggets franchise by making them a title contender for the past two years. Once again, the Timberwolves decided to go after wing players instead of drafting a big man with unique guard-like skills. Nobody expected Jokic to be as good as he is with the 11th pick of the second round, but the fact that the Wolves missed him by a single pick is unbelievably bad luck.