Minnesota Timberwolves select Josh Minott and Matteo Spagnolo in second round

Minnesota Timberwolves select Josh Minott and Matteo Spagnolo in second round

After rolling and trading late in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves remained active in the second round.

Wolves selected Memphis freshman forward Josh Minott at No. 45 overall after acquiring the pick and a 2023 second-rounder from the Charlotte Hornets for No. 40, by Rod Boone of Charlotte Observer. At No. 50, Minnesota selected Italian guard Matteo Spagnolo from Vanoli Cremona.

The team also traded the No. 48 pick, who became Baylor winger Kendall Brown, to the Indiana Pacers for a future second-round pick, by Jon Krawczynski of Athletic.

Minott is a bet on growth and development. The 6-8 forward averaged 6.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game and started just five of the 33 games he played for the Tigers. He ranked ninth on the team in minutes per game and 44th on the Canis Hoopus Big Board.

However, judging Minott by tally stats belies his impact. He’s long and incredibly bouncy, and he uses those tools to good effect as a defender, especially off the ball. His steal percentage of 3.1 is proof of his ability to fly around the field and make plays.

He is currently incapacitated as a ball handler and shooter, which hurts his half-court impact. He made just two of 14 3-point attempts this season, and he threw some stunning turnovers. What he can do is use his spring to finish at the basket as a cutter and transition runner; he scored 1.27 points per shot around the rim per NBA.com.

Minott is at his best on the open court, where he can eat up space with his long stride and throw thunderous dunks. He was a menace in the Memphis press and proved to be one of the best athletes in class at turning defense into offense. He is also a strong positional rebounder, grabbing the third-highest percentage of rebounds available from the field of any team member.

Minott will likely spend time with the Iowa Wolves in the G League as he continues to develop.

Spagnolo averaged just 12.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a 19-year-old in Italy’s Serie A. Given the existing roster crisis and the use of three other picks on the night, Spagnolo is likely a draft and a hideout. He ranked 67th on the Canis Hoopus Big Board.

Spagnolo has a solid profile as a shooter, connecting on 44.1% of his attempts from deep and 86.1% on his shots from the free throw line. He uses the threat of that shot and good ball handling to score well in the pick-and-roll, stringing together crosses to get into his pull-up. Spagnolo has extended his range on that 3-point shot this season.

Spagnolo’s ability to finish shots in traffic is more in question — he’s only shot 44% on 2-point shots — and he’s not a hard-hitting defender; he had just 19 interceptions and one block in 25 games in 2021-22.

Standing 6ft 4in with a wingspan of 6ft 8in, Spagnolo does have being a defensive passive, even if his movement speed is a real question mark. He has to work harder to keep faster players from blowing past him, and he has committed 2.2 fouls per game.

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