With their second pick in Thursday’s draft, the Timberwolves took another conference player of the year, Jaylen Nowell, the Pac 12 Player of the Year from Washington at No. 43.
That followed the pick of Jarrett Culver, the Big 12 Player of the Year, at No. 6 while the Wolves selected Keita Bates-Diop in the second round of last year’s draft after he was the Big Ten Player of the Year.
Nowell recently completed his sophomore season at Washington in which he took a big leap in his three-point shooting from 35 percent to 44. Nowell averaged 16.2 pointer per game in leading Washington to a 27-9 finish in the Pac 12. The Huskies lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to North Carolina.
His shooting efficiency could fit in well with a Wolves team that is looking to revamp its attack from three-point range under the guidance of President Gersson Rosas and coach Ryan Saunders.
Nowell was known for his aggressiveness and ability to score off the dribble and from outside. One of the knocks on him was his turnovers — he averaged nearly three per game. At 6-4, Nowell slots in as a shooting guard. His overall shooting percentage shot up from 45 to 50 percent from his freshman to his sophomore season.
Culver back at work
When he was at Texas Tech, Culver developed a legendary work ethic, always in the gym whenever he could be. Before the draft, Culver’s had his representatives secure a gym for him to work out after the draft.
That’s right, after the draft.
While most prospects might have been celebrating, Culver was planning to be hard at work again.
“After these interviews, after spending time with my family, I’m making sure I get in the gym,” he said.
Culver added that the national championship loss to Virginia at U.S. Bank Stadium was fuel for him in some of these workouts.
“It’s a big motivation, just all the work I put in and then it falls short, that kind of drives me a lot,” Culver said.
“I want to win an NBA championship one day. I want to get to the finals and be able to finish the job and get there and actually win a championship like I was so close to this year.”
Question over timing
Because of salary-cap considerations involving the Suns, a source said the Wolves and Suns can’t complete their trade until July.
It’s unknown how that will affect Culver’s status for summer league in Las Vegas, which begins July 5. The Suns made a series of moves to clear salary-cap space on Thursday.