2009 NBA Summer League round-up: Minnesota Timberwolves
July 13th, 2009
– Corey Brewer: Brewer was poor his rookie year, which was essentially a nothing year for him. His offence was enthusiastic, but it was also several kinds of inefficient, and undeserving of a #7 pick. Brewer started to make some strides, though, with a good summer league last year and a fine opening five games to last season. Unfortunately, he then popped his knee badly, which has undone all the good work. Minnesota’s forward spots are crowded, but the shooting guard spot is wide open, and if Brewer can show something then he might win the spot as a very tall two. But if he doesn’t, he’ll be fighting Ryan Gomes for small forward time.
– Bobby Brown: Bobby Brown is a testament to the point of summer league. Most players turn up to summer league to win spots in other leagues, but Brown beat the odds and played so well in summer league in 2008 that he earned himself a two-year guaranteed contract with the Kings. He was traded to the Timberwolves at mid-season, seemingly only as a money-saving venture (the three other players in the deal are all now UFAs), and now he finds himself as the second of two incumbent points guard on a team that just drafted 12 more of them. So that’s a bugger. Nevertheless, his contract is guaranteed, and if Minnesota decide they don’t want him, some other NBA team should do.
– Pat Carroll: When talking about Pat Carroll, I always feel compelled to compare him to Matt Carroll. Maybe I’m just not that imaginative. Either way, Matt Carroll has four years left to run on his guaranteed deal with the Mavericks, and Pat Carroll just spent a year in the Spanish second division. So you tell me who has the best chance of being in the NBA next year. By the way, be it an irony, a coincidence, or just an uninteresting fact, the Mavericks were also the team that gave Pat Carroll his sole NBA shot, a training camp contract in 2006. They also signed Samo Udrih in 2005, challenging the 2009 Phoenix Suns for “most inferior brothers that you can get on one team at a time that their superior brother is still in the league” award. But Phoenix wins because they’ve got two at the same time.
– Wayne Ellington: The next Voshon Lenard. Mark it down.
– Jonny Flynn: First of all, the Timberwolves should have picked Stephen Curry. Second of all, Flynn is too flawed to be a #6 pick, with questionable outside shooting, a tendency to get wild and poor perimeter defence, and it’s only the upside that comes with his athleticism and the weakness of the draft that gets him drafted that high. Thirdly, Jonny Flynn kills kittens. I haven’t finished with that joke yet.
– Devin Green: Green started last year with the Spurs in training camp, but didn’t make the team even after playing pretty well in preseason. He then went to Belgium, and later moved on to the Ukraine, averaging 17.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists for Dnipro. If the Timberwolves can’t or won’t bring back Rodney Carney, then Green makes for a pretty good replacement. He has a chance of making this roster, since it’s not deep on the wings right now.
– Paul Harris: Paul Harris reportedly flew up draft boards in the very final run-up to the draft after a series of impressive workouts. In fact, he flew up them so far that he went from being an undrafted talent, to being undrafted. Oh no, wait, he didn’t move up at all. Sorry.
Everyone seems to like Harris for his athleticism. And he does have every athletic advantage in the book; he’s quick, strong and a huge leaper, even if he tends to lose his leaping ability and front-rim dunks at the 58 minute mark on the second game of a back-to-back. However, he’s only 6’4, without much of a slashing game, and with next to no jump shot. He could be a defensive stopper, but he tends to drift around on that end, and as such, he isn’t. He also has a criminal history, which doesn’t work in your favour when you’re on the fringes. Harris initially agreed to join the Cavaliers summer league team, but changed his mind and is now reunited with Syracuse team mate Flynn. Maybe he thinks this will help. I’m not convinced.
– Gerald Henderson: The Bobcats don’t have a summer league roster this year, so they’re letting Henderson play for the Wolves so that he doesn’t miss out on the experience. It’s a pretty cool idea, but not as cool as ponying up for your own damn team. Cowards.
– Steven Hill: Hill is about as one-dimensional of a shot-blocker as you can get. He doesn’t rebound much, and he doesn’t score; he’s all just blocked shots and hair. I like him a lot. But read the Bucks round-up, specifically the bit about Chris Richard, and then tell me why Hill has chosen this team to play with. I just don’t get it.
– Rob Kurz: Kurz was signed by the Warriors for training camp, then waived, then almost immediately brought back when Monta Ellis was suspended. He managed to survive the whole year, with even Richard Hendrix being waived before him. CLast year, he totalled 157 points, 82 rebounds and 78 fouls, shooting 39% in 40 games. The Warriors then finally let him loose and didn’t extend him a qualifying offer.
– Oleksiy Pecherov: Pecherov didn’t do much better. He’s a tall jump shooter with a solid rebounding rate, but that’s pretty much it. There’s scant little defence and no interior offence, and somehow he managed only 2 rebounds and 2 assists all of last season. That’s got to be hard to do. Still, for as long as Pecherov looks like Stewie Griffin during his unheralded needle drug period, I think we’ll all continue to like him.
– Garret Siler: If you’re 6’10 and 305 pounds, yet playing in NCAA Division II, then there’s something wrong there. And Garret Siler’s problem is that he’s only played basketball for a scant few years. Siler averaged 16.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for the mighty Augusta State Jaguars last year, on percentages of 66% and 79%. However, contrary to usual practice, that’s 79% from the field and 66% from the line, a total of 566 points on 285 shots. If you don’t believe me, read this. Pretty impressive, although given that he probably played mostly against 6’6 210lbs opposing centres, it’s not entirely without context. Siler is large and slow, which hampers any NBA prospects, but if he can find a similar level of professional competition to that of Augusta State’s schedule, then he’ll have himself a career. Might I recommend China?
– Ben Woodside: Similarly, if you are both one of the leading scorers and assist makers in all of Division I, and you don’t get drafted, then there’s something wrong there too. And that’s what just happened to Ben Woodside, who averaged 23.2 points (eightth in NCAA) and 6.2 assists (joint-fifth) in his senior season for North Dakota State. He scored big, he scored efficiently, and he racked up the assists to boot. He even had a 60-point, 8-rebound and 8-assist outing, where he shot 35 free throws and his team lost anyway. Good times, sort of. However, Woodside’s problem is that he’s small. He’s listed as 5’11 and 185 pounds, and isn’t physical or strong. And rightly or wrongly, that doesn’t get you in the NBA. Woodside might hang around the NBA fringes for a while, but a career in Europe is probably best suited to him anyway.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.
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