The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2020 NBA draft lottery Thursday night and the right to the first pick in the draft later this year.
The Timberwolves, who ended the season with the third-worst record, will be followed by the Golden State Warriors — who ended the season with the worst record — the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls.
While the two teams that made significant jumps were the Bulls, who moved up from the seventh lottery position, and the Hornets, who moved up from eighth, Minnesota gets the top pick to pair with D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. And the Warriors now have a significant trade chip to add to their roster.
“Wow. Super exciting,” Russell said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after the lottery was complete. “I trust [general manager] Gersson [Rosas] and [coach] Ryan [Saunders] and all those guys making Minnesota a home for guys coming up, and even All-Star guys coming in.
“The bar is set now, and we’re excited to get it going.”
Instead of the usual gathering of representatives from the 14 teams participating in the lottery, this year’s lottery drawing was done virtually, with all 14 teams represented in a video teleconference as the pingpong balls were drawn in Secaucus, New Jersey, for who will pick where in the draft, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 16.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Russell — who were teammates six months ago before the Warriors traded Russell to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins at the deadline — were the last two people shown on screen before the top pick was revealed.
Before the picks were revealed, Curry spoke about the strange season the Warriors went through, with Klay Thompson missing the entire season with a torn ACL, Curry missing most of it due to a hand injury and Golden State going from making it to five straight NBA Finals, and winning three titles, to having the worst record in the NBA.
“It’s weird,” Curry told Nichols. “You showed that clip of the journey we’ve been on the past five or six years. … We want every experience in the league, so now we are in the lottery trying to get a high draft pick.
“We’ll see what happens, but it gives perspective on what team we’re going to have next year with the guys coming back off injury, Klay, what Draymond’s been through this last year, myself coming off the hand. … So, we’re obviously confident and know what we’re capable of and we’ll see how it all shakes out.”
Unlike last year, when Zion Williamson and Ja Morant were the clear first and second picks in the draft, this year the crop of prospects is wide open, with no consensus about who should go where. Two of the potential options, though, are LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards.
Ball, who spent the season playing in Australia, said the experience was beneficial for him.
“I think it made me a better basketball player that I am today,” Ball said. “I really started taking stuff serious and just saw the world differently.”
Edwards, meanwhile, said playing at Georgia prepared him for the ups and downs of life in the NBA.
“I feel like it prepared me because I learned how to deal with bad games,” Edwards said. “I had a lot of bad games, so it taught me how to take them on the chin and move on to the next.”
The other piece of business from the lottery was that the Memphis Grizzlies did not move up from the 14th spot — meaning that pick will go to the Boston Celtics, as it was top-six protected. The Celtics now have three first-round picks (14th, 26th and 30th) in this year’s draft.