This is a weekly piece where I pick one prospect from this year’s upcoming NBA draft that the Timberwolves have a legitimate shot at to draft. They will also need to fit the style of the team as well as addressing a current need of the roster.
Week 1 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Week 2 – Anfernee Simons
Week 3 – Troy Brown
This weeks selection – Khyri Thomas – Guard – Creighton
We are just 40 days away from the 2018 NBA Draft. The NBA Lottery will be taking place this Tuesday, a vital factor that affects the future of the NBA forever. The Timberwolves will not have to worry about where their pick lands as their 1st round pick (via Oklahoma City Thunder) sits at 20, which sits five spots outside the lottery.
However, The Wolves will need to address the need of a 3 and D wing. With Jamal Crawford opting out of his player option for next fall, and with Nemanja Bjelica heading into restricted free agency, the already thin depth on the wing could be essentially bare after the likes of Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins.
One prospect that fits the mold and should still be around at pick #20 is Khyri Thomas from Creighton University. He stands at 6-foot-3 with a long wingspan at 6-foot-10. One facet of his game that has been commended is his ability to play defense against bigger players that try to overpower him. He switches well when defending the pick and role. Thomas also has great instincts to sit in the right space to close off passing lanes and stop opponents from driving to the rim.
Thomas, while praised for his defensive capabilities, has an effective offensive game to pair along with his defense. He shot 41% from three this year on 4.6 attempts per game. He shot 78% from the line which is promising to see as well. On a per 40 minute basis, Thomas recorded 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.1 steals, numbers that would provide a Timberwolves team tremendous value.
While he is a more polished player than many in this year’s group of prospects, Thomas is one of the older ones at age 22. This could give general manager Scott Layden and head coach Tom Thibodeau a reason to feel skeptical about whether or not Thomas can improve all that much more than the level he is at now. Thibodeau however isn’t scared to draft an older college prospect, as supported by the selection of Kris Dunn (22 at the time) with the 5th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
As the season came to a conclusion three weeks ago, there have been plenty of murmuring around Twitter about the possibility of trading Andrew Wiggins due to his lack of production and Thibodeau’s reported frustration with the player. On draft day I would not be surprised if our 1st round pick is traded away in some type of deal, but if we stand put, Khyri Thomas at #20 would be a great addition to a team looking for all the wing help they can get.
photo credit gocreighton.com