Opinion: Why Tyrese Haliburton to the Timberwolves makes sense


Tyrese NBA Draft Analysis series design

Zane Douglas

Editor’s note: Over the next five weeks, the Iowa State Daily sports editors will be doing a series on why every team that has a top 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft makes sense for Tyrese Haliburton and why he would want to play with them.

With the No. 1 pick being granted to Minnesota, there are rumors circling — some saying the Timberwolves could move down while others have them using their No. 17 pick to move back into the lottery.

Both of these options could make more sense if the team had its eye on Tyrese Haliburton, but for now, Minnesota only has the No. 1 pick in the lottery.

Why the Timberwolves want Tyrese

Tyrese is an interesting draft prospect because some scouts will label him as a low-ceiling, immediate starter in the NBA who will contribute but doesn’t have much upside, while others think his upside is there with his plus size and shooting touch.

One thing is for sure: Minnesota needs a player that can help them win before Karl-Anthony Towns leaves.

Towns has been the franchise centerpiece for a few years, but injuries, the Jimmy Butler saga and a host of other issues has left him with only one playoff appearance, which ended in a first-round exit.

Finding someone who can facilitate to him on the pick and roll, operate in transition smoothly and provide an option from 3 is too good to pass up.

With reports swirling of the Timberwolves being high on Haliburton, it seems I don’t have to tell the team why they would want the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, native.

Point guard is a position Minnesota has been desperately trying to fill for years — including in a trade for D’Angelo Russell — and Haliburton checks a lot of the boxes that need to be filled for the team.

Think of Haliburton as a cleaner version of Ricky Rubio. Haliburton has masked what Rubio’s main fault is in his jump shot by being one of the more efficient 3-point threats in the nation in his sophomore year of college and bringing a level of playmaking the Wolves have been missing since Rubio left.

Haliburton has also shown the ability to play off ball well, which could blend in nicely with Towns and Russell as the two often attract double teams.

Haliburton is an excellent fit with Minnesota.

Why Tyrese wants the Timberwolves

The list is shorter here, given the Wolves have been a bad franchise for seemingly forever, but the main thing Haliburton would want in Minnesota is the setup of the team.

Haliburton may not crack the starting lineup in a lot of places, especially when places have solid point guards like Minnesota does, but the Timberwolves are still set up well to give him ample playing time.

Russell has played off ball in his career, and as the NBA transitions to a small-ball league, Russell, Haliburton and Malik Beasley can all play together and make up a deadly combo on the outside.

Haliburton would be the pass-first playmaker, Russell would be a scorer with playmaking abilities and Beasley will thrive in the catch-and-shoot role like he did in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.

This isn’t even mentioning the fun Haliburton can have running a pick and roll with Towns — one of the best offensive players in the NBA.

There’s something to be said about Minnesota’s lack of depth, but if the rumors are true of Minnesota moving into the top 10, then another possible young star and Haliburton could join the Wolves together and see if a top-heavy team can win.

As a bonus, Haliburton would also have the chance of playing close to home, like he would in Chicago or Milwaukee, as Minneapolis is not far off from Oshkosh, or Ames for that matter.

The Timberwolves are bad and Haliburton won’t probably go No. 1 overall, but the match could be too perfect for Minnesota to not take it.