After months of delay and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 NBA Draft is now expected to be held on Nov. 18. Though further details about the event and how it will proceed are murky, teams are well underway with preparations, which include a virtual draft combine that began Monday.
With still nearly two months until draft night, there's plenty of time for things to change, but we're already starting to get a sense for how teams are thinking, thanks to an interesting report from Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Per Wasserman, the Minnesota Timberwolves are still unsure about whether to keep or trade the No. 1 pick, but in terms of prospects, LaMelo Ball is gaining an edge over Anthony Edwards.
According to a Western Conference executive, word around the league is Minnesota isn't leaning one way at No. 1, sounds "confused" and feels pressure after "messing up last year by trading for Jarrett Culver."
The belief is that Minnesota's priority is to trade, realistically down the board assuming an established star won't become available. If the Wolves stick at No. 1, multiple sources say they'd bet on LaMelo Ball having the edge over Anthony Edwards.
Minnesota acquired D'Angelo Russell in a blockbuster trade at the deadline, but he only ended up playing a handful of games for the Wolves before the season shut down. Still, it's clear from what they gave up in the deal -- Andrew Wiggins and a first-round pick -- that the team is invested in Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns as the centerpieces of their future.
It's understandable then that they'd be hesitant to add another ball-dominant player in Ball with the top pick. At the same time, if they aren't able to find any trades that make sense, or offer fair value, it could be worth rolling the dice with Ball. After all, he's extremely talented, and even with Towns and Russell, the Wolves are still a number of pieces away from making any noise in the postseason.
A few weeks ago, Wolves president Gersson Rosas said in an interview with The Athletic that the team will "knock on every door and we're going to have a conversation with everybody." If they are indeed having discussions with dozens of teams, it's not surprising that they'd be "confused" about which direction to take. Especially considering just about everyone on their roster is moveable save for Towns and Russell, and likely Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie.
Sometimes, having so much flexibility can actually make it more difficult to pick a path forward.