The Minnesota Timberwolves held the 7th pick going into the 2017 NBA Draft. They were linked to select players like Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith, and Jonathan Isaac. In the end, the Wolves selected Arizona’s forward Lauri Markkanen. However, a trade proposal involving Minnesota and the Chicago Bulls shook everything up on draft night.
The trade would involve the Timberwolves giving up guards Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, including rights to the 7th overall pick in this year’s draft. In return, the Bulls would give Minnesota Jimmy Butler and the rights to the 16th overall pick this year.
This trade was confirmed just before the Brooklyn Nets 22nd overall pick. Before we discuss what this trade means for both teams, let’s look at who was selected at each spot.
The 7th pick in the draft ended up being Lauri Markkanen, a small forward from Arizona. Markkanen stretches the floor especially well and can shoot the basketball from deep. His athleticism is exceptional and can play as a versatile combo forward.
Creighton center Justin Patton was selected 16th overall. Patton serves as a dynamic offensive posts. He excels on his putbacks and moves one-on-one in the post. Patton also can shoot from deep when he is given space. His defensive capabilities are questionable, but he holds his own when his team has possession.
Chicago clearly have shown they are prepared to completely rebuild their roster. Sending their best performing player throughout the season is a clear indicator that the team is ready for a full retooling of their squad. They may even get rid of Dwyane Wade because of his $23 million contract.
The Timberwolves have put themselves into immediate playoff contention. Shipping out a future piece of any team for a all-star caliber player in his prime really gets the Timberwolves’ name out there. With Butler, Wiggins, and Towns on the squad heading into next season, sneaking into a playoff spot should not be at all surprising.
I may be a bit biased as a Timberwolves fan, but I think that Minnesota won this trade. Tom Thibodeau has wanted to bring his former player Jimmy Butler to his new team for a while now, and at last, he has got his wish. The Wolves have need a star player that has experienced the league for more than three seasons. Prior to the season, the T-Wolves have been lead by Towns, Wiggins, and Lavine. All these players are under 23 years old.
In the end, I can completely understand the perspective of this trade from both sides. Thibodeau needs a veteran player that he knows can contribute directly on arrival. Chicago is looking for a complete rebuild, so they are bringing in multiple young and talented players while maintaining veterans for those players to learn from, such as Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.