Your guide to the Timberwolves' 2020 NBA Draft Lottery odds

Kyle Ratke is covering the draft process from head to toe.
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Karl-Anthony Towns

Kyle Ratke, a native of Cold Spring, Minnesota, has nearly a decade of experience covering the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

When is the 2020 NBA Lottery?

The 2020 NBA Lottery is on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Where can you watch?

It will air on ESPN.

How will it be COVID-friendly?

It will all be virtual. Surely, nothing can go wrong. Nope, nobody’s screen will freeze halfway through causing us to wonder if there’s some greater conspiracy for pick-your-least-favorite team winning the lottery. Instead of the frozen envelope it will be the frozen screen.

In all seriousness, doing this virtually was absolutely the right move. I’m sure the conversation to have it in-person or virtually lasted about 20 seconds.

Who will be representing the Wolves?

David Kahn.

Just kidding!

It will be D’Angelo Russell. Russell was the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and was the big get for the Timberwolves at the 2020 trade deadline which seems 18 years ago.

I was pulling for Robby Sikka, who has been an absolute rockstar over the last few months, but Russell isn’t a bad choice.

What are the Timberwolves' odds?

The NBA does not like tanking. In order to not reward teams from tanking, the worst three teams in the league have the same 14% to land the No. 1 pick. That actually works out well for the Timberwolves this season since they have four more wins than the Warriors and a better win percentage than the Cavaliers. Even so, all three teams have the same 14% to land the No. 1 pick and draft someone like James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball.

While the Timberwolves do have the top odds to land the No. 1 pick, this is where I should probably tell you that there’s an 86% chance the Timberwolves will not land the No. 1 pick. It seems cruel, doesn’t it?

Minnesota could actually fall all the way back to the No. 7 pick. As someone who used to work for the team, I can assure you that would certainly be a buzzkill around Timberwolves’ headquarters and lessens the excitement heading into the season. The Timberwolves are already behind the marketing 8 ball considering NBA fans have been able to watch 22 of the other 30 teams over the last two weeks in Orlando. Landing the No. 1 pick would get the basketball buzz back in Minnesota. Falling back to seventh would kill that buzz real quick.

Here’s a look at the Timberwolves’ full odds from 1-7:

  1. 14%
  2. 13.4%
  3. 12.7%
  4. 12.0%
  5. 14.8%
  6. 26%
  7. 7.0%

Have the Wolves ever won it before?

Why yes they have. One time. Back in 2015, the Timberwolves were the favorites to land the No. 1 pick and they did just that. Instead of drafting Jahlil Okafor, which was all the rage a month before the draft, the Wolves drafted Karl-Anthony Towns. That move has worked out pretty well.

The Wolves, however, have never moved up in the lottery from their projected odds.

Since landing the first-overall pick in 2015, the Timberwolves have drafted in the lottery three times. In 2016, that resulted in the Wolves drafted Kris Dunn fifth overall (Jamal Murray went two picks later). In 2017, the Wolves drafted Lauri Markkanen seventh overall only to be sent along with Dunn to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade. Last season, the Timberwolves traded their 11th pick and Dario Saric to draft Jarrett Culver sixth overall.

Do the Wolves have any other picks?

Yes! The Timberwolves are loaded with picks. They also have the 17th selection, a pick they have thanks to the Nets making the 2020 postseason. Who could the Timberwolves take with that pick? I’m glad you asked!

The Timberwolves also have the 33rd overall pick. Per Tankathon, the Timberwolves have the most draft value in the draft. Of course, much of that depends on what happens with the team’s pick in the lottery.

When is the actual draft?

The 2020 NBA Draft will take place on Friday, Oct. 16. Yes, having the NBA Draft two weeks before Halloween seems incredibly odd, but that’s kind of where we’re at with life right now.

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