Time to do a little housecleaning with Media Day on Monday and training camp in Mankato starting on Tuesday. The team has added players to the roster for training camp purposes and three of the four names are pretty familiar to fans. The Minnesota Timberwolves announced yesterday that they signed three players. Those three players were the 2013 second round pick Lorenzo Brown, Othyus Jeffers from the summer league squad, and 2012 second round pick Robbie Hummel. From the team’s press release:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed 2013 second-round pick Lorenzo Brown. The Wolves also today signed Robbie Hummel and Othyus Jeffers. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Let’s have a little refresher course on these three players:
Lorenzo Brown, PG: 52nd pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Brown was a solid facilitator type of point guard in his three years at NC State. His jumper needs some work and he wasn’t terribly strong at finishing in the lane and around the basket, but he seems to have pretty good balance with just about everything he does. His handle is also not as strong as you’d hope, but he still does a good job of protecting the ball from pressure. The key for him will be cutting down on turnovers if/when he gets a chance in the preseason.
Othyus Jeffers, G: Undrafted out of Robert Morris University. Jeffers is like having a power forward in a shooting guard’s body. He’s incredibly physical and strong. His massive hands allow him to have great control over the ball when he’s handling and finishing around the basket. He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2010-11 season when he split time with the San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards. Jeffers won over the coaching staff during summer league when he played great perimeter defense, even demoralizing the 7th pick in the draft Ben McLemore during their matchup. He’s dominated for years in the D-League with averages of 18.4 points and 7.8 rebounds to go with 50.2% shooting from the field in four seasons.
Robbie Hummel, SF: 58th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Purdue University. We all know the tale about Hummel. He’s blown his knee out multiple times and it turned him from an All-American that was destined to flirt with the lottery to a guy that got taken at the end of last year’s draft. He is a solid scorer from all over the floor and shoots really well from outside. He’s also a very good rebounder for his position. He spent last season playing in Spain for Obradoiro CAB where he scored 10.1 points in 20.3 minutes per game. He shot 47.0% from the field and 41.2% from 3-point range.
The Wolves haven’t announced it yet, but word from various media members is that A.J. Price is going to sign a one-year deal with the Wolves and compete for the final roster spot. Price spent his first three seasons with the Indiana Pacers and played point guard for the Washington Wizards last season. He started 22 games last year and moved to the backup role when John Wall returned from his knee injury.
Price has never been a great shooter (38.0% from the field and 32.2% from 3-point range for his career), but he’s a solid third point guard to have on the roster if needed. He’s also responsible for the Wizards and their “Watergate” mentality from last season.
Minnesota has 14 players with guaranteed contracts for next season and is bringing 18 players to camp (20 is the maximum). If they decide to keep a 15th player, it’s highly unlikely that any of the contracts would have guarantees for the entire season if at all. Meaning they could just experiment with a certain player to start the season and see if he belongs on the team for the full 82. As Jerry Zgoda notes, it’s possible that the Wolves release Chris Johnson, eat the guaranteed money for this year, and keep two of the four guys above.
The Wolves have eaten money before and the one year deal for less than $1 million isn’t a horrendous thing to undertake for them financially. But are any of these guys going to be better than what we know about Chris Johnson? That’s an honest question, actually. The Wolves have plenty of interior depth with Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham, Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng. They’re a little thin in the backcourt and could use some depth.
If I had to rank whom I’d want out of these four players above, I’d go:
1. A.J. Price
2. Othyus Jeffers
3. Robbie Hummel
4. Lorenzo Brown
I wouldn’t take Jeffers over CJ but I could be talked into Jeffers over Price. Hopefully it will be a fun, spirited, and healthy fight for everybody during training camp.