Gersson Rosas: “We’re Not Praying This [#1 Overall Pick] is a Franchise Piece”

At the top of the Star Tribune this morning, — placed just above another “back in my day I knew this guy that nobody else cares about” feature piece by Patrick Reusse — Minnesota Timberwolves beat writer, Chris Hine, had a great article about Gersson Rosas, and his outlook on the newly won #1 pick for the upcoming NBA Draft.

Chris sat down with the Wolves’ President of Basketball Operations, after Rosas had some time to step back from the excitement of Thursday night’s lottery. The POBO’s comments were much different than what I thought they’d be.

I know this isn’t expected to be a “top of the gene pool” type draft… but I thought Rosas would be playing hype man, no matter his honest thoughts on this year’s crop of talent. Gersson’s performance did have a “hype-man” vibe to it, though. The hyping was just geared toward current Wolves #1, Karl-Anthony Towns.

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“We’re not praying this guy is a franchise piece,” Rosas said. “We’re not praying that this guy is our No. 1 player. We’re fortunate to have that already with Karl. We have a guy we acquired at the trade deadline in D’Angelo, a complementary superstar point guard to our top guy. … This No. 1 pick gives it another layer of value to find whether it’s the No. 2 or No. 3 guy. We’re not this organization that’s bare and is praying for a franchise pick, which I think gives us a different perspective as we go into this draft.”

Gersson Rosas via the Star Tribune

Is Rosas Worried About Hurting KAT’s Feelings?

There is a lot to digest here… but let’s start with Rosas’ dedication to kissing the feet of Karl-Anthony Towns. I’m glad Gersson believes in KAT and really thinks he is someone a franchise can build around. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ commitment to landing KAT’s best friend, D’Angelo Russell, is even more evidence of his belief in our first #1 pick.

Does anyone feel the slightest bit of insecurity within these quotes, though? It almost feels like Karl-Anthony Towns is standing over Rosas, with one hand on Gersson’s shoulder, as this interview is being conducted. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the logic behind telling anyone that there might not be a franchise player in this draft (when you hold the #1 pick and all of the cards).

As much as I’ve heard it declared by others, we don’t know if there is a legitimate — #1 NBA roster — type talent in this NBA Draft. Rosas later admits that, in this same interview. We’re talking about a very respected person inside NBA circles. So, why give away your cards?

Gersson Rosas Has a Big Brain

I could be grasping at the wrong straws, while reading these quotes. It’s possible Rosas’ words are all very purposeful and have nothing to do with KAT’s feelings. It’s also possible likely that our POBO’s brain is much larger than mine and he’s just thinking at a different level than I am.

Maybe this is a cry out for a trade partner, in some way. If so, it’s in a different tongue than any language I speak. If I’m trying to entice blockbuster trade partners (Phoenix/Philadelphia), I’m not sure I would be devaluing the #1 pick. Announcing that nobody in this NBA Draft can hold Karl-Anthony Towns’ jockstrap (when KAT is entering his 6th NBA season and hasn’t shown he can lead a team anywhere), doesn’t seem wise on its face.

Later in the interview, Rosas throws these quotes in, which completely dismiss everything he said earlier about KAT as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ obvious #1 talent. Hopefully he knows what he’s doing, even if I don’t.

“I’d be naive to say we’re playoff contending next year because that’s not how it happens, especially in the West,” Rosas said. “You have to build a winning program. You have to build an identity, you have to build your DNA, and that takes time. My goal is that we become a winning team next season and become a playoff team in the following couple of seasons.”

Rosas doesn’t buy the notion that there’s a lack of talent in the draft this year.

“There’s always talent in any draft, any year in any sport,” Rosas said. “Just to be fair to the organizations, we get it wrong more often than not. It’s not an exact science. The draft is a process of not only do you have to identify the best player, you have to make sure that he fits into your system. You have an opportunity for him and that he stays healthy.”

Gersson Rosas via the Star Tribune (Chris Hine)


Flip Flopper or Smooth Talker?

Gersson Rosas is smooth talking and flip flopping all over this interview. He’s good enough at it, too. I’m confused. He’s accomplished that much. Only time will tell what this man’s plans actually are. At the end of the day, I think the Minnesota Timberwolves trade the #1 pick by draft night. It makes the most sense, given KAT’s spot in Rosas’ headspace.

The first target would obviously be Devin Booker. Unfortunately, all reports currently lead to his value being too sky-high, after his performance in the bubble. If not Booker, many have pointed to Ben Simmons… but that’s not exactly the wing shooter this team needs. His defense is exactly what this team needs, though…

I don’t know man. I just hope Gersson is up there playing chess, while I’m down here playing checkers with myself.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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