3 options Minnesota Timberwolves should take No. 1 in 2020 NBA Draft

Who should the Minnesota Timberwolves take with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft?

The Minnesota Timberwolves have won the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery, and with this year’s No. 1 overall pick comes the pressure of complementing a promising young core that already includes Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell as central pillars.

That presents something of a problem, since many of this year’s top prospects are either point guards or centers — meaning they occupy the same positions as KAT and D-Lo. While the Timberwolves are reportedly open to playing Towns next to another center or Russell next to another point guard, the question remains: If the Wolves keep this pick and use it, which players should be at the top of their list?

In order to sort it out, here are the three players they should most strongly consider taking first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Anthony Edwards

Ranked fourth on The Step Back’s Big Board, Anthony Edwards looks like a proven albeit streaky scorer. Averaging 19.1 points per game for the Georgia Bulldogs, the 6-foot-5 guard can undoubtedly make tough shots at a higher level. The question here lies in his efficiency, as he only shot 40.2 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from 3-point range.

He’s an athletic bulldozer when driving to the rim, which would have value next to cornerstones who can stretch the floor like Towns and Russell, but his shot selection and decision-making aren’t the best right now. His defensive effort needs work and he’s not much of a playmaker either — something that would be useful given how much the ball will be in the hands of Minnesota’s two stars.

Edwards’ lack of creation might not matter as much on a team where Russell will control the rock and look to set up KAT most of the time, so this might be a nice fit if Edwards fulfills his projection as one of the few NBA-level scorers in this year’s draft class.

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is the top prospect in this year’s class, disregarding fit. The question here is whether the Wolves would be comfortable pairing him next to Russell in the backcourt, especially since neither he, Russell nor Towns play a lick of defense at this point.

If Russell weren’t in the picture, Ball’s facilitation would be a dream addition to a roster that needs to give the ball to Towns and set him up for easier looks. At 6-foot-7 and with sublime passing skills, Ball can see over defenders and make life easier for whichever NBA offense he winds up joining.

Unfortunately, between his defensive shortcomings, the presence of Russell and his poor jump shooting, the fit here is far from ideal. Ball is a willing shooter, but it will take some time before he even becomes average enough to make defenses respect him. He’s the best blend of size and basketball intelligence in the draft, and he should address some of his flaws as he continues to grow into his body, but right now, it’s hard to see the Wolves taking him first overall.

Killian Hayes

Ranking No. 2 on The Step Back’s Big Board, Killian Hayes is another 6-foot-5 guard who’d actually be a great fit in Minnesota thanks to his soft touch and playmaking ability. The Wolves wouldn’t need him to be their primary facilitator, so this lefty could thrive in a secondary playmaking role given his creativity as a passer and crafty ball-handling.

Though he’s not the greatest athlete and only made 29.4 percent of his 3s last season, he did knock down 39 percent of his long-range looks in 10 EuroCup games and has excellent touch on his floaters. He also has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble, even if his catch-and-shoot numbers are less than stellar.

Our own Trevor Magnotti described Hayes as “probably the least likely All-Star-level scorer in the top tier,” but also noted that he’s “probably the most likely elite role player, and that confidence means a lot in this class.” It’d also mean a lot to a Timberwolves franchise that already has two bona fide stars in place and needs to start building around them better. A guy who can create alongside Russell without commanding the ball, hopefully evolve as an off-ball shooter and continue to develop on the defensive end sounds like the best option for the Wolves at No. 1.

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