In most years, they would have been the night’s biggest news: First-round NBA draft picks coming to a Timberwolves team still in building mode.
But on Wednesday, Leandro Bolmaro and Jaden McDaniels were co-stars, a bit down in the billing.
The Wolves entered the NBA draft with the first overall pick and the 17th. They took Anthony Edwards No. 1, and then the trading started.
Gersson Rosas, Wolves president of basketball operations, sent the 17th pick to Oklahoma City for Ricky Rubio and the 25th and 28th picks. A deal with New York brought Bolmaro — who had been picked 23rd — to the Wolves for picks 25 and 33. Then, with the pick at No. 28, the Wolves got McDaniels.
A busy night. Busy enough that a couple late-round picks might have been overlooked.
But both are intriguing.
Bolmaro is the first player from Argentina picked in the first round of the NBA draft since Carlos Delfino in 2003. He played for FC Barcelona last season, splitting time with the senior team and the program’s B-team.
He is a 6-7, 190-pound wing with elite passing skills and a quick first step. He will have to work on his outside shot.
McDaniels is a power forward who played at the University of Washington — a player many felt could have gone higher in the draft.
His slim 6-10, 201-pound frame will need some bulking up. But he has a 7-foot wingspan and is a fluid athlete with good mobility. He is a talented, if raw prospect considered something of a late bloomer.
He averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks in his freshman year with the Huskies. He shot 40.5% overall, 33.9% on three-pointers.
Because the trades had not yet become official Wednesday night, Rosas wasn’t able to talk about anything but the first overall pick.
He jokingly dismissed a question aimed at the Rubio trade and was silent on Bolmaro or McDaniels.
But McDaniels could talk about coming to Minnesota, which sounded like a bit of a surprise. He said Wednesday was the first time he had talked with Wolves coaches or members of the front office.
But he’s excited about his destination. He said he learned a bit about the state during the predraft process from former Gophers center Daniel Oturu.
“I feel like I’ll come in with high energy,” he said in a post-draft Zoom call. “I think I can come in and play defense at a high level. On offense I can knock down open shots. Just buying into what the coach wants me to do.’’
Though rather raw, McDaniels could be seen as a shot-blocking rim protector to play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. He said he was excited to be on the roster the Wolves are assembling, saying he felt he would mesh well with Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Edwards.
“I think I’ll fit in pretty well,” he said, pledging to learn from Towns.
“I can take pieces of his game, little tips on how to guard bigger dudes in the post, or working on pick and rolls. There is a lot to learn.”