The Minnesota Timberwolves have selected Jarrett Culver with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after a trade with the Phoenix Suns put them in that position. Culver did everything for Texas Tech last season. He needed to. Their success was predicated on having the nation’s best defense, and considering their status as a lower-level major conference team, that meant making major compromises on offense. The solution was giving Culver the ball and letting him figure things out. He averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in leading the Red Raiders to the national championship game. He didn’t slack on the other end of the floor either. Culver is a very good athlete with a body type capable of guarding pretty much anyone on the perimeter.
He just comes with one glaring hole in his game. Culver can’t shoot. He made only 30.7 percent of his three-point attempts last season, and as a high-usage perimeter player, that is a significant blow to his value. Culver isn’t likely to be a primary ball-handler. That means that defenses are going to sag off of him quite a bit if he doesn’t improve. His free-throw percentage was promising enough to indicate that he has room to grow, but until he shows that he can make open three-point shots consistently, he is going to struggle to stay on the floor as a big-minutes wing.
The Timberwolves thought they were making the leap from rebuild into contention when they traded for Jimmy Butler on draft night two years ago. Things didn’t quite work out as planned. Butler demanded out after only a year leaving the Timberwolves with less young talent than they started with and an unsettled front office structure. But now Tom Thibodeau is gone, Gersson Rosas is running the team and Ryan Saunders is the new head coach.