Help is coming, Andrew Wiggins.
The Timberwolves won the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft lottery, held Tuesday in New York City.
The Lakers will select No 2 after jumping up from the No. 4 spot. The Sixers will select No. 3 after hopping in front of the Knicks. New York was the draft's biggest loser, slipping to the No. 4 spot after beginning the night with the second-best chance of winning the lottery.
The Timberwolves have never previously held the No. 1 overall pick, but they did acquire Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick, and Anthony Bennett, the 2013 No. 1 overall pick, in a 2014 trade with the Cavaliers involving Kevin Love. Minnesota president Flip Saunders will now look to build around a core that includes Wiggins, 2014 first-round pick Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio and Bennett.
"This is a great day for our franchise and our fans," Saunders said in a statement. "We're excited about the opportunity to have the top pick in the draft for the first time in franchise history. The No. 1 pick is a fantastic asset to have as we look to add more talent to our team."
Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke's Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay (who played professionally in China) are expected to be among the first players selected in this year's draft, which is set for June 25 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Entering Tuesday, the Timberwolves had a 25% chance to win the top selection after finishing with the NBA's worst record at 16-66. The Knicks had the second-best chance at 19.9% and the Sixers were third at 15.6%.
The Heat maintained their first-round pick because none of the four teams behind them moved up in the order. Miami's pick was top-10 protected and would have gone to Philadelphia if it had slipped to 11 or lower.
The Lakers were also at risk of losing their pick had they slipped out of the top-five. Instead, they jumped up.
Here are three thoughts from the 2015 NBA draft lottery:
1. Timberwolves go under the microscope
Winning the lottery comes with a price: scrutiny. The Timberwolves just finished a fairly disastrous season and have plenty of roster reworking to do. Saunders is in an unusual coach/executive hybrid spot, and he appeared to operate at cross purposes last season. Most notably, he traded away a first-round pick for Thaddeus Young, who he later dumped to Brooklyn for nothing of consequence besides an emotional Kevin Garnett press conference. Saunders also caught some criticism for his outdated stance on three-pointers. Now, he faces a decision: take the traditional low-post scorer in Okafor or go for the more modern, "stretchier" big in Towns. The former should help Minnesota more in the short term; the latter appears to have a higher upside. Does Saunders the executive go for the quick fix to make his life as coach easier, or does he have the patience and vision to take a longer-term approach?
There's another degree of pressure: Minnesota has never been a particularly desirable NBA destination, and the Lakers and Knicks are both breathing down the Timberwolves' necks in the draft order. Within an hour of the lottery, rumors were already circling that prospects might try to angle away from Minnesota in favor of a larger market. Will that talk subside or accelerate as the draft approaches? Will it influence Saunders' decision-making? Open questions to keep an eye on.
2. Party time in the City of Angels
The Lakers badly needed some good news after a nightmare season, and they received some great news Tuesday. Not only did they keep their first-round pick, they moved up into the No. 2 spot, giving them the chance to snag either Okafor, Towns or the point guard of their choice. Towns and Mudiay are particularly intriguing options for the Lakers, who are officially ready to build up their post-Kobe Bryant talent base. Towns and 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle would make for a super talented 4/5 pairing, while Mudiay has all the hallmarks of a franchise point guard. After a season that featured mess after mess, many of them self-inflicted, the Lakers can't mess up this pick.
3. It could be worse for the Knicks
Technically, it could only have been a tiny bit worse. The Knicks slipped from the No. 2 spot to the No. 4 spot, and their absolute worst-case scenario was the No. 5 pick. The bad karma stings even worse because every other team in the lottery order held their position or moved up. New York was the only true loser.
That said, there is a meaningful difference between the No. 4 and No. 5 pick in a draft class that features two top big men prospects and two highly-regarded lead guards. If Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to add a point guard of the future, Russell or Mudiay will almost certainly be available for him at No. 4. Either of those players, and Duke's Justise Winslow, should be able to provide help in Year 1 and hope beyond that. Although disappointment is unavoidable for Knicks fans, Jackson isn't exactly going home empty-handed here.
Here's the full first-round order for this year's draft:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New York Knicks
5. Orlando Magic
6. Sacramento Kings
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Hornets
10. Miami Heat
11. Indiana Pacers
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
15. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn Nets)
16. Boston Celtics
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. Houston Rockets (from New Orleans Pelicans)
19. Washington Wizards
20. Toronto Raptors
21. Dallas Mavericks
22. Chicago Bulls
23. Portland Trail Blazers
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
25. Memphis Grizzlies
26. San Antonio Spurs
27. Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston Rockets)
28. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers)
29. Brooklyn Nets (from Atlanta Hawks)
30. Golden State Warriors
Beating the NBA Draft Lottery Odds
1993 Orlando Magic
No team beat the odds quite like the 1993 Magic, who, after barely missing the playoffs at 41-41, made good on their 1.5% chance (1 Ping-Pong ball out of 66) to claim the top spot for the second consecutive season (they had snagged Shaquille O'Neal in '92). Orlando wound up selecting Chris Webber and trading him to Golden State for third overall pick Penny Hardaway and three first-round picks. Two years later, Shaq and Penny led the Magic to the NBA Finals.
1995 Golden State Warriors
After the Warriors delivered on their 9.4% chance, then-general manager Dave Twardzik said, ''Whoever you take, some people are going to say, 'How could pass on this [other] guy?' '' Twardzik experienced the second-guessing first-hand: The Warriors chose forward Joe Smith while the rest of the top five was Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett. Smith went on to play for 12 different NBA teams over 15 years, never once named an All-Star.
2000 New Jersey Nets
Pegged to draft seventh after a 31-51 season, the Nets instead cashed in on their 4.4% chance of winning the lottery. New Jersey picked forward Kenyon Martin, who proved to be a key part of back-to-back Finals teams in 2002-03 before being shipped to Denver as part of a sign-and-trade deal in 2004.
2002 Houston Rockets
An 8.9% chance was enough for the Rockets to leapfrog four teams and win the Yao Ming sweepstakes. Yao was productive when healthy, but the healthy part didn't happen nearly as much as Houston would have hoped. The 7-6 center retired in July 2011 after nine seasons in which he averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.
2005 Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks, with a 6.3% chance, jumped from sixth to first and selected center Andrew Bogut ahead of point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Bogut spent seven years with the Bucks, where he led the league with 2.6 blocks in 2010-11, before being traded to Golden State in 2012.
2006 Toronto Raptors
General manager Bryan Colangelo entered his first draft in Toronto with the biggest prize after the Raptors vaulted to the top despite only an 8.8% likelihood. The Raptors used the choice to make Italy's Andrea Bargnani the NBA's first European No. 1 pick. Bargnani averaged a career-high 21.4 points in 2010-11 and followed that with 19.5 points in an injury-shortened 2011-12, but he's been criticized for his defense and rebounding. In 2013 Bargnani was traded to the Knicks, where injuries have kept him off the court more often than not. The Nets signed Bargnani to a multi-year contract in 2015, only to waive him in Feb. 2016.
2007 Portland Trail Blazers
While the teams with the three worst records — Memphis, Boston and Milwaukee — got the fourth, fifth and six picks, Portland won the lottery with its 5.3% chance. The windfall didn't pay off, however, as the Trail Blazers passed on Kevin Durant in favor of Greg Oden, who played only 82 regular-season games over his first five seasons because of persistent knee injuries. The Blazers waived Oden in March 2012 and after a brief stint with Miami two years later, Oden hasn't played since.
2008 Chicago Bulls
The Bulls turned their 1.7% chance into the first pick. Chicago selected native Derrick Rose, who was the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year, the league MVP in 2010-11 and a three-time All-Star. Since May 2012, however, Rose has undergone three knee surgeries which have caused him to miss a significant amount of time.
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers used the pick obtained in a trade with the Clippers to win the No. 1 pick despite just 2.8% odds. That put them in position to draft Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who turned into the Rookie of the Year and the centerpiece of their post-LeBron rebuilding effort. The 2013, '14 and '15 All-Star was given some help entering the 2014-15 season with the signing of free agent LeBron James.
2014 Cleveland Cavaliers
Eight teams had better odds than the Cavaliers, who lucked out yet again with just a 1.7% chance this time. Their selection of Andrew Wiggins parlayed into a trade with Minnesota to acquire Kevin Love two months later. Wiggins went on to win Rookie of the Year with the Timberwolves while Love's numbers dipped with the Cavs and he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the team's 2015 first-round sweep of the Celtics.