Everyone has an opinion about how the NBA draft is going to go Thursday night, and there are enough differing thoughts about most of the picks above the Wolves that analysts have the team going in a number of directions with the seventh pick.

Here's a look:

Sports Illustrated, Dennis Smith, North Carolina State point guard.

If the Wolves can't land Isaac, they should take Smith. Either they can keep him—as a supercharged version of the lottery pick they wanted Kris Dunn to be—or they can auction his services to the highest bidder. Smith spent most of his high school career as the top point guard prospect in this class. Then a knee injury derailed his senior season, while "going to NC State" derailed his lone year at NC State. Still, he's an incredible athlete and a great scorer, and he's got a chance to be as explosive as Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker, and every other point guard we've seen anchor offenses over the past few years. Put him in the spread pick-and-roll and he could be a nightmare. Whether it's Minnesota or someone else making this pick, Smith shouldn't slip any lower. 

Reid Forgrave of CBSsports.com: Jonathan Isaac, Florida State small forward

A home-run swing for a team that's one young star away from making some serious noise in the Western Conference. I loooove Isaac's potential. Think it's the highest ceiling in this draft, in fact. He's 6-11 and, according to his college coach, still may be growing. A late growth spurt meant that he grew up playing guard positions before he shot up in height, a la Anthony Davis. Coaches have raved about his unselfishness and work ethic. Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, a onetime NBA coach, told me Isaac has one of the best basketball IQs he has ever seen. And a near-seven-foot athlete who can shoot, pass and blocks shots is a huge asset in today's NBA. While his offensive game is far from complete and he needs to pack muscle onto his thin frame, Isaac is a helluva shooter for a big man, making 34.8 percent of his 3s and shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line. "He has the versatility to be whatever a coach wants him to be," Hamilton told me. If this pick hits, the Timberwolves will be contending in the West in a few years. And I think it'll hit.

Andrew Lynch of FOX Sports: Lauri Markkanen, Arizona power forward

There's a distinct possibility the Wolves trade this pick, likely for a point guard. If they do keep it, I like Markkanen's floor-spacing next to Karl-Anthony Towns' outstanding offensive game and promising defensive potential. As long as Towns reaches his ceiling on that end, he should cover any flaws in Markkanen's game.

USA Today: Frank Ntilikina, France point guard

Frank Ntilikina has been rising as fewer teams view him as a project. His polish, commitment to defense and rapid learning curve have turned heads. The Timberwolves should be praying that Isaac falls here, but if not, they’re stuck without an ideal fit no matter who they take. Ntilikina can play both guard positions and has increased trade value with the Knicks and Mavericks highly interested.

Hoopshype,com: Smith

It’s too early to call Kris Dunn a bust, but if he has another season like the past one, the team is likely to grow impatient. Smith is not universally loved, but his talent is undeniable. Reports that Minnesota targeted Jimmy Butler last year with the 5th pick lead to an interesting trade idea. Minny gives 7, Zach Lavine and Ricky Rubio for Butler and 16.

Bleacher Report: Isaac

Jonathan Isaac makes the most sense for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who could use a defensive-minded 4 between Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.  But this is a pick that's also likely to be shopped, with the Wolves already loaded with young players. Does another one this deep in the draft help?  Isaac jumps out as a high-upside trade target for someone looking to move up, just like Marquese Chriss in 2016. He fits Minnesota, but Isaac should also be coveted by other teams for his unique two-way versatility. 

Sporting News: Markkanen

The Wolves are continuing their pursuit of point-guard solutions, but they do need a stretch-4. If any of the "Big Three" point men slip, the Wolves would probably scoop one of them up. Or they could take a shot on (Frank) Ntilikina or Smith. But Markkanen’s value as a big shooter is low-hanging fruit, and the Wolves can check a box by taking him. Of course, Minnesota is also eyeing a trade here, as usual.

Draftexpress.com: Markkanen

Among the most efficient offensive players in the country last season, despite a February shooting slump, Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen had an outstanding freshman season. Adding a potent new dimension to a KenPom top-20 ranked Arizona offense, Markkanen was critical to the Wildcats' run to the Sweet 16, and earned All-Pac 12 First Team honors while scoring 15.6 points per game on 42% shooting from beyond the arc, solidifying himself as a likely top-ten 2017 NBA Draft pick in the process.
 
 
Smith is arguably the most explosive athlete in the draft, despite tearing his ACL a little over a year ago ... He is very shifty with the ball in his hands and has tremendous burst ... An elite level athlete who attacks the rim like a player 5 inches bigger ... Possesses solid size for a PG at 6'2 in shoes with a 6'5 wingspan and 8'1 standing reach ... He is also a strong, physical guard with the ability to absorb contact and finish acrobatically at the rim
 

 

Older Post

Ben Clymer: Ex-Gopher, Stanley Cup champion, TV analyst ... and golf phenom

Newer Post

Fleck, Gophers snag Florida RB over two other Power 5 schools