Las Vegas Summer League basketball begins this Friday and I will be in Vegas for the entire time this goes on.
That may sound like a long time to be in Las Vegas to many of you. You probably feel that way because it is a very long time to be in Vegas. But during that time, I’ll be taking in the finest basketball that the summer has to offer. Your Minnesota Timberwolves will be there as well. Today, the Wolves announced their summer league roster and there are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on what happens on the court in Vegas over next week.
Here’s the roster:
Here are my brief thoughts on every player on the roster that have either come from my knowledge about the player or what I could find in a quick swipe of the Google search:
Marqus Blakely: There are a couple of things about Blakely to like. He’s a very athletic player that won the 2010 NCAA dunk contest. He’s been a very solid combo forward for a few seasons in the NBDL and his shooting percentage has been great during that time (57.8%). The problems I have with Blakely? He’s a 6’5″ forward that badly needs to learn how to play the wing if he wants a shot at playing in the NBA and his first name missing an “I” really throws off my typing rhythm.
Lorenzo Brown: Lorenzo Brown is not much of a shooter but I think seeing a real point guard like him in this environment should give him plenty of opportunities to show how he runs a team. He’s unlikely to make the squad next season, but stashing him in Europe or the D-League could give him some valuable development time that begins this summer.
Kee Kee Clark: Keydren “Kee Kee” Clark might be the most fun player we see on the Wolves during this week. I’m not sure he’s going to be good, but much like Bobby Brown (former point guard, not the singer), Kee Kee Clark doesn’t seem to have a shot filter. He’s an NYC-type of point guard that will pull-up from just about anywhere. I’m excited to watch him.
Gorgui Dieng: I loved the pick for the Wolves when they grabbed him at 21 and I still do. He’ll probably have a very awkward summer league, people will freak out, and then we’ll forget all about it when he’s holding his own in real NBA games.
John Holland: This is the only thing I could find on him, from 2009:
Robbie Hummel: Hey, it’s Robbie! Hummel had some knee issues to begin his season in Spain last year but still ended up playing 30 games with Obradoiro. He averaged just over 10 points in 20 minutes of action in the ACB league and made 41.2% of his 3-pointers over there. It will be nice to see him back.
Othyus Jeffers: I have very little to say about Othyus Jeffers. He’s had a couple of cups of coffee in the NBA, has had a solid four-year run with Iowa in the D-League, and I really think he’d be better off trying to make a career in Europe. But I respect his determination to make it work and make the NBA.
Chris Johnson: Oh hello, sailor!
Phil Jones: I know absolutely nothing about Phil Jones.
Solomon Jones: It’s always weird to see guys that have been in the NBA a while go to the summer league, but you have to swallow your pride sometimes to continue to make this work. He’s a seven-year veteran in the NBA that needs to continue to show he’s worth having as a big body to round out your roster. Showing mobility and awareness are key for him this summer.
Demitri McCamey: I would put McCamey in a similar boat that you may have seen with Donald Sloan at past summer leagues. He has to show a steady hand and the ability to run a team. Being the third point guard on any roster isn’t a stretch for McCamey necessarily (he’s been solid running D-League teams), but he has to prove to be trustworthy.
Shabazz Muhammad: We’ve discussed this pick a lot and I’m sure whether he plays well or plays poorly, his summer league exploits will be overly dissected. I am just excited to see how he responds with his decision-making on the court. I don’t care about the production; I just want to see the decisions.
Brandon Paul: Brandon Paul has the ability to be as fun as anybody on this roster. He’s an outside shooter that likes to let it fly. He’s also a great personality on social media. He will have a great chance to earn training camp invites with a number of teams and turn that into a 14th or 15th spot on the roster for any of those organizations.
Luke Sikma: Last year, Luke Sikma was waiting in line in the lobby of the hotel I was staying at during LVSL. In fact, we were staying in the same hotel. I don’t know what he needed from the front desk, but I do know he waited at least 20 minutes to get it figured out. He definitely has patience, so there’s that.
Mychel Thompson: His brother is really good at shooting.