Wolves select Pokusevski 17th, reportedly traded to Thunder for Rubio
Panagiotis Moschandreou / Euroleague Basketball / Getty

With the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have selected Olympiacos big man Aleksej Pokusevski. He'll be traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran Ricky Rubio and the 25th and 28th picks in Wednesday's draft, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Pokusevski put himself on the NBA radar with a strong performance at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, averaging 7.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and a tournament-leading three blocks per contest. Less than a year later, the Serbian became the youngest player in Olympiacos history to suit up for the senior squad in a EuroLeague contest.

Pokusevski, 18, spent most of the 2019-20 campaign with the Greek club's reserve squad; he averaged 10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.3 steals during an injury-shortened season. He's under contract with Olympiacos through 2023-24, but his deal reportedly has an NBA buyout clause that varies in value depending on his draft position.

The 7-footer is the mystery of this year's class after building most of his draft stock on his solid international play. Still, he possesses a unique skill set that could pay dividends a few years down the line.

Bio

Position: F/C
Club: Olympiacos (Greece)
Height: 7-feet
Weight: 195 lbs
Wingspan: 7-foot-3
Max vertical: N/A

Strengths

  • Handles the ball like a guard; he's comfortable bringing the ball up the court and initiating the fast break
  • Playmaking threat who can pass off a live dribble, create out of the pick-and-roll, and find teammates on backdoor cuts
  • Floor-spacing big; he shows great footwork and body control when squaring up for 3s
  • Displays shot-blocking instincts
  • Uses his length to disrupt passing lanes

Weaknesses

  • His mid-range game is virtually non-existent despite being a 3-point threat
  • Will need to add upper-body strength to slender frame in order to handle physicality at the next level
  • Durability may be an issue; he missed three months this past season due to a knee injury
  • Prone to attempting ill-advised passes rather than making the simple play
  • Struggles when forced to defend in space
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Wolves select Pokusevski 17th, reportedly traded to Thunder for Rubio
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