Scouting is one of the main reasons why a team may be or maybe not able to succeed, as building through the Draft if the best way to rebuild following disappointing campaigns, especially if you’re not the biggest of markets.
The Minnesota Timberwolves now have their hands in 2 first overall picks in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but truth to be told, they haven’t made the most of the opportunities they’ve had to build a contending side via Draft.
Being pretty much a mediocre team for over a decade, the Timberwolves were always entitled of high lottery picks, but failed to build a strong team and weren’t much of an attractive destination for free agents either.
On the other side of the picture, we find the Golden State Warriors, arguably the greatest team in the history of the game and moreover, a team that’s mostly built via Draft, at least when it comes to their starting five.
Obviously, adding Kevin Durant into the mix has to help a lot, but the Dubs were as dominant and good without him as they are now, and most of that has to do with how great this team’s scouting was several years ago, even despite not being entitled as such high picks as the Timberwolves were. So, why don’t we take a look at both team’s Draft picks from 2009 to 2013?
2009 NBA Draft
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio - 5th overall pick
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonny Flynn - 6th overall pick
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry - 7th overall pick
So, the Minnesota Timberwolves were looking for a top-tier point guard in the Draft and thought some healthy competition would bring the most of both of them, getting not one, but two playmakers with their back-to-back first-round picks in Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.
While Rubio was a great pick for the Timberwolves when healthy, Flynn wasn’t even a part of the team’s roster a couple of years later, and it’s not even playing in the league anymore despite going as high as 6th.
On the other hand, well, the Warriors drafted a sharpshooter out of Davidson with the very next selection, a guy that wind up winning back-to-back MVPs, 3 NBA Championships, and broke every kind of three-point shooting related records.
2010 NBA Draft
Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson - 4th overall pick
Golden State Warriors: Ekpe Udoh - 6th overall pick
Well, both teams struck out in this Draft class for sure but picking Wesley Johnson as high as 4th is a major reach, especially considering the team had no patience with him whatsoever and dealt him almost right away.
Johnson has grown to become a solid role player off the bench for other teams, but the Timberwolves passed on the chance to draft players of the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, who was taken immediately after Wesley.
As for Udoh, he would also be a major bust for the Dubs, but at least he was a part of the trade that got Andrew Bogut to the Bay, a major factor in Golden State’s first Championship run 4 years ago.
2011 NBA Draft
Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams - 2nd overall pick
Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson - 11th overall pick
We saw some pretty bad picks in the 2011 NBA Draft, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have to be the ultimate worse after taking Derrick Williams with the 2nd overall pick to pair him with Kevin Love in the frontcourt.
The tweener big man had more hustle than talents and he’s not even a part of any team’s roster anymore despite being taken ahead of players like Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard.
Meanwhile, the Dubs got their hands on the best shooter in the league and one of the peskiest backcourt defenders in Klay Thompson, a major piece of their core that somehow slipped all the way to 11th.
2012 NBA Draft
Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes - 7th overall pick
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green - 35th overall pick
Well, at least we can’t blame the Timberwolves for making any bad choices in 2012, as they weren’t entitled of any Draft picks that year, while the Dubs surely made the most of the couple of choices they had.
Even though Harrison Barnes never stepped up as the talented and dominant athlete we all believe he would become during his time at UNC, he was still a major piece in their first Championship run, embracing a lesser role to make room for the Splash Brothers.
Also, getting Draymond Green that late has to be one of the major steals in NBA Draft history, as Dray grew up to become the league’s most versatile defender, a guy that can guard 1 through 5 with great ease, rebound, assist, block shots and step up for his teammates.
2013 NBA Draft
Minnesota Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammad - 14th overall pick
And finally, we find the Timberwolves latest Draft bust in Shabbaz Muhammad, a guy that went ahead of players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr and even Rudy Gobert.
The Timberwolves struck out, swinging year in and year out and now they’re paying the price for it, finally ending their long playoff drought just to be knocked out in the first round of the postseason.
In the meantime, the Warriors have become the team to beat on a yearly basis, and arguably the most dominant squad this game has ever seen, as well as being a prime example of building through the Draft without blatantly tanking.