Before the draft, there are few things someone who runs a basketball team is going to say definitively. The same applies to Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas.
But there was one point Rosas wanted to make clear: He doesn’t make guarantees to prospects.
“We don’t promise players,” Rosas said Tuesday. “Throughout the league, every organization has different strategies, different approaches. That’s not something we do.”
Rosas was answering a question which addressed a rumor that the Wolves guaranteed Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura they would take him should he be there at No. 11. Teams may guarantee a draft pick they will take him at a certain spot in an effort to prevent him from working out for other teams.
But it’s a practice Rosas said the Wolves won’t do. Rosas said the Wolves have contacted every team around the league to see what their options are in relation to trading up and trading down.
There could be a lot of activity because, according to Rosas, the draft is very “flat.”
“It’s flat, in a good way. There’s a lot of good depth to it,” Rosas said. “So a lot of it is the different values that teams place on talent. There’s a lot of communication. I think it’s part of our strategy. We have to examine every opportunity — moving forward, moving back, moving out. But we’ve reached out to every team in this league to see what our options are, and we’ll be prepared here on Thursday to make the right decisions for the organization.”
Need or best player?
When asked the perennial question of drafting for need vs. the best talent available, Rosas indicated he favored the latter.
“You don’t know what your roster is going to look like in three or four years,” Rosas said. “You don’t know what your needs are going to be in three or four years. So for us, our ability to acquire the best talent is our focus, and that’s what we’re looking to execute on.”
The draft could hold more value for the Wolves than it might for other franchises since they traditionally have not been able to attract top-tier free agents to the market. And with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins on maximum contracts, finding cost-controlled talent who could contribute at a high level is paramount for the next few seasons.
“The opportunity to have a young player with upside is important for an organization. … As a whole, our league values smart plays in the draft. And young players under that structure are smart plays that really build the foundation of an organization.”
Wiggins, Team Canada?
Rosas said he had not heard if Wiggins had agreed to play for Team Canada at the upcoming world championships, as Sportsnet in Canada reported. Sportsnet quoted Canadian team GM Rowan Barrett as saying Wiggins had committed to play for the team.
“At this point in time we haven’t been given any guidance officially on that,” Rosas said. “I think that’s something that maybe the Canadian federation can address. I don’t think they’ve hired a coach yet. I don’t think they’ve formally made invitations yet.”
Raptors coach Nick Nurse recently told reporters a deal for him to coach the team was “just about done,” according to ESPN.