Wolves have plan for anything that could happen in tonight’s draft lottery

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  • Gersson Rosas
    Gersson Rosas

Gersson Rosas said the team has plans in place if the Timberwolves end up with a top-three pick after Tuesday's draft lottery, or if they have to relinquish the pick to Golden State.

So, does that mean there's a File A and File B they will open depending on how the pingpong balls fall?

"There's like 25 files," the Wolves president said with a laugh last week.

Suffice it to say, Rosas and the Wolves front office have a game plan for whatever happens Tuesday night, when the Wolves have a 27.6% chance of keeping their first-round pick.

The Wolves enter the night with the sixth-best odds in the draft. A late season surge when the Wolves defied tanking and went 7-5 over their last 12 games allowed Detroit, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Houston to finish closer to the bottom.

Rosas and the organization wanted to see what the Wolves looked like when Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell were healthy and playing together. The Wolves were prepared to take the hit in terms of lottery odds to get a better feel for how the team operates when its two max-contract players are on the floor. Before the final weeks of the season, Towns and Russell barely played together.

"There's not a lot of nerves," Rosas said about the lottery. "I think there's excitement for the future and we're looking forward to seeing how that comes together. The finish to the season where our top guys were at, healthy and playing at the end of the year, our young players are developing, that excites us."

That run did mean the Wolves went from about 40% odds of keeping a top-three pick to their current odds. The Wolves give up the pick to Golden State if it falls at No. 4 or lower as part of the trade that brought Russell to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins. If the Wolves manage to hang on to the pick this year, Golden State will get the Wolves' first-rounder next year unprotected.

Of all the slots the Wolves' pick could fall, it has the greatest odds of landing at No. 7 (29.6%), then No. 8 (20.6%). The odds of it staying at No. 6 are 8.6%, with a small chance of it falling to No. 9 (3.8%) and No. 10 (0.2%) depending how many teams behind the Wolves jump them into the top four.

The Wolves were able to cash in 14% odds of getting the top pick last season and choosing Anthony Edwards, a pick that looks like a good bet given the second half Edwards had.

This time around, the Wolves have a 9% chance of landing the top pick, 9.2% for the second pick, 9.4% for the third.

The Warriors are hoping the Wolves hit their 9.6% odds of landing the No. 4 pick, and the Wolves have zero chance of moving up to the fifth spot, since per lottery rules teams from outside the top four in odds can only move up into that area of the draft and not anywhere below.

Should the Wolves keep the pick, it's another asset they can use to build around Towns, Russell and Edwards. Should the Wolves relinquish it, Rosas emphasized it would provide some financial flexibility for them to still make moves considering they wouldn't have to account for a top-three pick's salary slot.

"That'll allow us to be more aggressive in terms of trades and free agency based on our financial position," Rosas said. "We prepared accordingly. We drafted a player last year that has the opportunity to come this season in case there wasn't a pick."

That would be Leandro Bolmaro, the 23rd pick from last year's draft who spent the season playing in Barcelona and was named "Most Spectacular Player" of the Spanish ACB League.

"We had open conversations with him and his agent ..." Rosas said. "But there's mutual interest. We see opportunities where he can be good with us next year. Him and his representation feel the same way and once we have the opportunity to further those conversations we will. We're excited about his growth, his development and feel he can be a player that can help us here in the future."

Tuesday will determine if there will be another top-three pick to add to that future.

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