Ranking the 5-Worst Draft Picks in Minnesota Timberwolves History
All the years they have spent in the NBA Draft Lottery has resulted in them improving their draft position a whopping zero times. This year, they were "lucky" enough to select in the ninth position, where they were originally projected to pick.
There have been very few draft picks where management didn't look back without regret. Besides Kevin Garnett, the best players ever drafted by Minnesota were Ray Allen and Brandon Roy, who were both eventually traded.
Here's to hoping a breakdown of the worst picks in franchise history can lift the draft day hex off of the Timberwolves.
5. Donyell Marshall
Donyell Marshall did not squeeze his way onto this list because of his overall NBA success. He was a good player for a long time in the NBA.
Marshall ended up on this list because he was drafted No. 4 overall in 1994 and turned out to be the only player in that year's top five to never make an All-Star team. Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Juwan Howard were the second, third and fifth picks that year, respectively. All three also made All-NBA teams.
None of those comparisons would have meant anything at all had Marshall been a productive member of the Timberwolves for years. However, he lasted just 40 games with 37 percent shooting through his rookie season before being traded to the Warriors for Tom Gugliotta.
A fourth overall draft pick is expected to produce much more for a franchise, especially one that was only five years old at the time. Marshall was a wasted pick in hindsight because of Timberwolves' management. Very little of it was his fault.
4. Luc Longley
Not to rain on his parade, but before Luc Longley was the starting center for the Chicago Bulls' dynasty during their three championships in the late 1990s, he was a colossal bust as a No. 7 overall draft pick by the T-Wolves.
Longley was the first Australian player in NBA history. At 7'2", the expectations of him were as lofty as his stature. He ended up falling drastically short, averaging just 4.3 points per game during his rookie season while having a marginal impact on defense.
He did go on to have some productive years in Chicago. Michael Jordan and the rest of that bunch reaped the benefits of his prime basketball years.
Still, his two-and-a-half unproductive seasons to begin his career in Minnesota left yet another stain on the young franchise. He was, once again, a big swing and a miss for an organization trying to establish some consistency in the league.
The pre-Kevin Garnett winters were brutally cold up in Minneapolis.
3. Wesley Johnson
Wesley Johnson was pegged as a can't-miss prospect out of Syracuse with a very high floor in terms of bust potential. At No. 4 overall in 2010, he was heralded as a safe pick by the Timberwolves, filling a huge need at shooting guard.
Johnson turned out to have a much lower floor than originally thought.
The former Orangeman seemingly won over scouts with his charming grin. It was incredible how the oldest player in the draft at almost 24 played with such physical immaturity. The killer instinct he showed at Syracuse, as well as his lights-out shooting and jaw-dropping athleticism, never translated to the next level.
Johnson showed little more than spurts of potential during his rookie season. He put up nine points per game while shooting under 40 percent and then regressed during his sophomore season across the board.
After two disappointing seasons, the front office cut their losses and shipped Johnson to the Phoenix Suns. Yet again, Timberwolves' management failed in another attempt to draft a franchise shooting guard.
2. Ndudi Ebi
When the highlight of your career is NBA commissioner David Stern butchering your name and calling you "Doodie" on draft night, you know you could have done better.
Ndudi Ebi was only drafted 26th overall back in 2003. Minnesota was becoming a borderline dominant team in the West and was one Ndudi Ebi away from pushing Kevin Garnett and the boys to the promised land. After three years of no first-round picks due to the Joe Smith scandal, 2003-04 was supposed to be the year.
In his less-than-stellar NBA career, Ebi scored a total of 40 points. After his first two seasons, where he managed to make it into only 19 games, the Timberwolves tried to get the league to make an exception and allow him to play in the D-League, but it did not work, as he was a third-year player.
Subsequently, the team cut Ebi and his 40 total points. That miss stung badly while watching Minnesota fall just short in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers. They may have been one good player short from a title, and Ebi was far from that guy.
1. Jonny Flynn
Seriously, what happened to Jonny Flynn?
Unlike everyone else on this list, he was actually decent during his rookie season. Besides Al Jefferson, Flynn had a roster with absolutely no talent to work with, yet he managed to put together some quality numbers by averaging 13.5 points per game.
Flynn won over the entire country during his two-year stint at Syracuse with his contagious smile and legendary 67-minute performance in a six-overtime victory in the Big East Tournament over Connecticut. He then played all 45 minutes the very next night in an overtime victory over West Virginia.
No one thought Flynn would be a bust. When he was drafted sixth overall, right after the Timberwolves took Ricky Rubio fifth, he was regarded as the safe pick.
Sadly, Flynn's fall from glory would be quick and drastic. After his rookie season, he had hip surgery and only started eight games the following season, averaging 5.3 points. After that, Rubio made his way overseas and Minnesota quickly kicked Flynn to the curb, where he bounced around a couple teams before ending up out of the league.
Former Timberwolves general manager David Kahn selected the two of them to play together in a high-octane backcourt, since the league had been going smaller. The thoughts of a possible Ricky Rubio/Stephen Curry backcourt make this pick hurt even more.
With four first-round draft picks that Kahn had at his disposal during the 2009 draft, it was catastrophic to the team that he missed on this pick.
The Timberwolves were wallowing in the basement of the league with Jefferson as the only relevant player on the team. If executed correctly, this draft should have sped up the rebuilding process dramatically in Minnesota. Instead, Kahn drafted Flynn over Curry, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings before he later on selected Ty Lawson at pick No. 18 and traded him as well.
You know what? Let's all just forget the 2009 draft happened. Let's enjoy Rubio, wipe the slate clean and hope that with Flip Saunders in charge now, he can draft someone great and keep the ship in Minnesota moving in the right direction.
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