The Timberwolves lost 23 of their final 24 games last season. They tacked on one more loss Tuesday.
Minnesota was awarded the fourth pick in next month’s NBA draft during Tuesday’s lottery, extending its history of never moving up in via the league’s talent raffle. The Wolves’ 15-67 record was the second-worst in the NBA, but for the seventh time in 12 lottery appearances, they were moved down in the draft-selection order when two other teams, this time Washington and Philadelphia, were randomly drawn ahead of them.
The Wizards, owners of the fifth-worst record in the league, overcame 10-to-1 odds to claim the first pick for the second time in team history; Washington memorably chose draft bust Kwame Brown in 2001. The Sixers, projected sixth, moved up to second, and 12-70 New Jersey was dropped to third.
Minnesota – which also will choose 16th and 23rd in the June 24 draft, has never chosen higher than third.
Still, it’s not necessarily a disastrous outcome for the Wolves. Team president David Kahn, who appeared disappointed when the Wolves’ logo was pulled out of the envelope for the fourth pick, pointed out Monday that Sacramento moved down to fourth (from a projected No. 1) last season, and ended up drafting Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.
Among the likely candidates available to the Wolves: Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson, Georgetown center Greg Monroe, Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins or Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors. The top two choices are expected to be Kentucky guard John Wall and Ohio State swingman Evan Turner.
The rest of the lottery picks: 5. Sacramento; 6. Golden State; 7. Detroit; 8. L.A. Clippers; 9. Utah; 10. Indiana; 11. New Orleans; 12. Memphis; 13. Toronto; 14. Houston.
More from Star Tribune
More From On the Wolves
Andrew Wiggins will set a club record if he scores 20 points tonight for a 17th consecutive game, tonight in Houston
Friday night's victory was Minnesota's third in four games
It will come as no surprise that the ultra-prepared Tom Thibodeau gave the players a plan on how to stay prepared before they scattered for the week-long All-Star break.
President of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn't say how close he came to actually making a deal. Only that nothing proposed was worth acting on.
Newly signed Wolves guard Lance Stephenson likely will miss weeks because of a moderately sprained ankle