2012 Offseason, Game Analysis, Minnesota Timberwolves, Player Analysis

2012 Las Vegas Summer League Scattered Thoughts

I never got to watch the first game of the Wolves’ Summer League campaign when they beat the Clippers, but I was in the building for the loss to the Bobcats Monday night. After talking to a few media members and people around the league, I thought I’d share some thoughts about what’s been going on:

  • First, let me do some plugging in a shameless manner. I was asked to write about Derrick Williams for the Daily Dime on ESPN.com Tuesday night. Here is the link for that. To extrapolate on those thoughts a bit, I think it’s somewhat concerning that Derrick isn’t dominating this competition, and yet at the same time I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. With lesser competition and talent on the floor, it seems like Derrick should be able to do whatever he wants, but it’s still not that simple. Something I noticed during the possessions in which Williams was attacking off the dribble from the perimeter, Charlotte was in position to get in his way if he beat Biyombo or Mullens off the dribble.
  • This doesn’t excuse Williams from not “dominating.” He clearly has things he still has to work on with how he attacks from the outside-in. His dribble is quick right now but his first step with that dribble is still slow. He also was having problems protecting the ball, but considering Charlotte’s plan was to swarm the ball at all times, it seems like he did a pretty decent job attack and trying to find the contact that he’s previously avoided. There are signs of concern but you can tell he’s working on those things when he’s on the court.
  • Where has this Wes Johnson been? I don’t think I’m going to allow myself to get too excited with his performance against the Bobcats Tuesday, but it’s a revelation — even against SL talent — to see him moving toward the basket to get shots. He wasn’t just spotting up on the wings and waiting to hesitate on jumpers. He dribbled into shots, he posted up, and he attacked the basket a bit. Toward the end of the game, he went and got some really good and key buckets. I don’t necessarily expect him to make this a regular thing. And I’m not holding out hope that he’ll finally get it. It’s just nice to see him remember how to be effective on offense for once.
  • Robbie Hummel can mix it up on the offensive boards a bit and his jumper is confident. After last season’s shooting debacle that was our perimeter, it’s weird seeing a guy raise up for a jumper, look completely calm and balanced, and then have a wave of confidence rush over you as he releases the shot. When Hummel takes a shot, it seems like a good shot. He doesn’t force anything and he doesn’t leave you wondering what he’s doing with the ball. If anything, he should probably be a bit more aggressive. I like his presence, even if he’s deep in the depth chart, because you can always use a confident shooter.
  • Paulo Prestes does not look like a big man that belongs in the NBA right now. He can mix it up inside a bit and get offensive rebounds. He can keep possessions alive decently. But when he gets the ball or has to rotate, it’s like watching an unathletic version of Ryan Hollins.
  • I have no idea how he fits into the roster, but I wouldn’t be mad if Zabian Dowdell stuck around the team. He’s a solid backup PG off the bench and you can do a lot worse than having him fighting for minutes in the rotation. If Luke or JJ end up getting moved as part of a bigger acquisition, I think Zabian has a real chance at a camp invite and staying around this organization.
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0 thoughts on “2012 Las Vegas Summer League Scattered Thoughts

  1. I don’t want to get too worked up over a summer league game, but after watching both games, I was really concerned with Williams. I just didn’t see much of anything that was encouraging or that suggested that Williams has the potential to turn into something special – sure, everyone keeps saying that he has the ability, but it’s a little discouraging when he can’t muster much against this level of competition. Young guys like Eric Bledsoe, Klay Thompson, and even Byron Mullens, guys who have put in some time at the NBA level, had clear stand-out moments over the past week, and have shown NBA level talent. I just haven’t seen it with Williams.

  2. Don’t forget Kawhi Leonard absolutely dominating.

    Summer League is worthless for telling who’s going to make it in the NBA, because the competition is so bad. I mean, if someone dominates, then that means they have a chance at making it in the NBA… but no guarantees (See: Foye and McCants.)

    But you DO know if someone really sucks. If they can’t dominate the Summer League, then they have no chance whatsoever in the NBA.

    Great draft pick Kahn. Way to not trade that pick before/during the draft when its value was at its highest. Epic Fail.

  3. If we’re going to use idiotic small sample sizes like this, how do you explain Derrick Williams dominating this game right now?

  4. Ok, so he might be able to play in the NBA at some point. That’s all I’m saying. The point is, he was the freakin #2 overall pick in the draft! He should absolutely dominate every single summer league game!!!

  5. Meh, I think I’m somewhere in between on this. There are guys who can hoop in the league that are kind of meh in summer ball because it’s less organized. It’s more like AAU than like College hoops. Take Evan Turner, I don’t remember him dominating in summer ball but he absolutely will be a solid pro over time. Maybe eventual all star material, maybe not, but still solid. Williams has that organized ball approach to his game. He plays better within a system, because one of his strengths is his work ethic and commitment to improving. He’ll shoot better this year than last, do a couple more things well, etc. Don’t know if/when to expect a breakout from him, but he’ll get better.

    Williams just is a tweener, which on some teams works but when you have the prototypical NBA PF on your team, it’s kind of awkward. That is the one knock on him that I have, and it’s mostly situational.

  6. Number 2 picks aren’t always as great as proclaimed before draft. How many did we have on the team last year that didn’t live up to their draft position? I think Williams is at least willing to put in the work and listens to his coach. He will be at least a decent player.

    Summer league is crap for judging ability. How else could Coby Karl go 6 for 7? It’s worse than the D-league. It’s the perfect place for Williams to learn what he can do, but he needs to figure it out first before he can do it. He may nor have the highest basketball IQ that lets him see the openings on court, but by going through game tape he realizes what moves he could have made and learn from that.

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