No matter how much the Warriors hope otherwise, the Minnesota Timberwolves appear destined to own the NBA's worst record.
Just as former Golden State guard D'Angelo Russell is set to return for Minnesota on Monday, guard Malik Beasley has been ruled out for at least a month with a grade 3 left hamstring injury. Beasley could be out for as many as six weeks, according to the T-Wolves. Six weeks from Monday is May 17, a day after Minnesota's last scheduled regular-season game.
The T-Wolves entered Monday with the league's worst record (12-38), and ownership of the best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. That's relevant to the Warriors, as you might've heard, because Golden State acquired a 2021 top-three protected first-round pick from Minnesota ahead of last year's trade deadline.
Beasley, 24, is the T-Wolves' second-leading scorer (career-high 19.6 points per game). Minnesota surely envisioned having both of him and Russell in the lineup, alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, down the stretch, and that (at least theoretically) could've helped the T-Wolves climb out of the cellar.
That's probably not happening with Beasley set to miss a significant portion of the remainder of the season, if not the entirety of it. As long as the T-Wolves' record holds up as NBA's worst, they'll have a 59.9 percent chance of conveying the pick to the Warriors.
A 60-40 chance to land one of the five best players in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory? The Warriors have to like those odds, and they almost certainly would've taken that probability when they acquired the pick and Andrew Wiggins just over a year ago.
Jalen Suggs might not fall beyond the top three, but NBC Sports Bay Area's James Ham projected G League Ignite stars Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga to be selected No. 4 and No. 5 overall, respectively. Both of those players would shore up one of the Warriors' positions of need, and Golden State should be happy with better-than-a-coin-flip odds to land one of the two.
The Warriors would prefer it not come down to the bouncing balls during the June 22 NBA draft lottery, which Beasley's injury all but ensures. Even then, it's still more likely than not Minnesota's pick conveys to Golden State.