Timberwolves Midsummer Recap: On Jordan Hill, Las Vegas, and Thigh Bruises
It’s allegedly the NBA offseason, but looking around, you wouldn’t really know it. The first few days of free agency were a whirlwind, Summer League is in full swing, Olympic qualifying is ramping up ahead of the (ill-advised and soul-crushing trainwreck commonly referred to as the) Rio Games, the Wolves signed one big man, then another, Glen Taylor announced the team is going to re-brand, and big, important questions are being asked about competitive balance and the financial health of the league as a whole. There’s a ton to write about.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it), the rest of the world never received the “no such thing as an offseason” memo, and despite all the news, a week (!!!) has gone by without a post. There’s been a bit of traveling among the crew; Tim went out east, Steve went up north, and I went down south. Zach, for his part, is busy taking care of the cutest puppy in the world. But we’re back, now. Time to recap a little of what’s going on in the Wolves’ world, one item at a time.
(Chance the Rapper voice) “Summer Wolves don’t stick around”
- Zach provided a nice breakdown of the roster prior to the beginning of Summer League play, and many of the questions he asked have been answered. Primarily, he (and everyone else) wanted to see what Kris Dunn could do, and the 5th-overall pick didn’t disappoint. He looked terrific in the Wolves’ first two games (averaging 24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 54% shooting) before suffering a concussion and missing the next three contests. (If you’d like to see some video of his exploits, check out this awesome breakdown of his performance over at Hardwood Paroxysm.) As to whether he’ll play again in Vegas, but I’ll bet he doesn’t, because… why push it?
- Tyus Jones has been the squad’s other big performer, which is important for him, because come October, there’s a decent chance he’ll be fighting for a roster spot, He put up a solid 15 points and 5 assists through the first four games before taking over Thursday’s victory over the Grizzlies by scoring 26 points and dropping 10 dimes.
- The third player with a guaranteed contract who is playing for the Wolves in Vegas is Adreian Payne, who is averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds on 37% shooting. I… I don’t know what to else to say about him anymore. I give up.
- Coty Clarke and Touré Murry are two intriguing non-roster players getting a bunch of time for coach Ryan Saunders in Vegas. Clarke has been solid, but a bit turnover-prone, and Murry is really struggling to shoot the ball, but it’ll be interesting to see if one or both of them earn an invitation to training camp, especially given the team’s thin wing/backcourt situation.
- I can’t tell Kevin Punter from Adam, but I do know that he went 0-for-12 from the field in 14 minutes during a blowout loss at the hands of the Summer Cavs back on the 11th. 12 shots, all misses, in 14 minutes, because SHOOTERS SHOOT. I love him for this.
- The Summer Wolves take on the Summer Raptors on Saturday in the quarterfinals at 3pm on Saturday. No word as of yet on whether it’ll be televised.
Hey, the Wolves signed a player!
- Jordan Hill inked a 2 year, $8 million deal with the Wolves on Wednesday. The soon-to-be 29 year old was selected 8th overall in 2009 by the Knicks, and has since bounced around a bit, going from New York to Houston to the L.A. Lakers to Indiana, where he spent the 2015-16 season. He only really began getting consistent minutes over the past three seasons, and has put up averages of 10 points and 7 rebounds per game over that stretch. He can play both frontcourt spots but is probably best suited as a center, as he doesn’t really have the foot speed to hang with most power forwards. He’s been a capable pick-and-pop big in the past, but really struggled with it last season, hitting just 33% of his attempts from the long 2 area. Long story short, he’s a replacement-level player who signed a very team-friendly deal, and gives Tom Thibodeau one more option in the front court rotation. Speaking of which..
Hey, the Wolves officially signed Cole Aldrich!
- Also yesterday, the Wolves officially signed and introduced Cole Aldrich, confirming reports that Tim summarized back on July 3rd. A solid defender, rebounder, and career 53% shooter from the floor, the Burnsville, MN native (HASHTAG ONE OF US) is another value signing (especially in this new market). As Tim put it two weeks ago:”Aldrich is a native of Minnesota and attended Bloomington-Jefferson High School, but this does not have the feels of a “country club” signing. Tom Thibodeau is not from Minnesota. He doesn’t care about who is and isn’t from Minnesota. This move, a relative bargain of a move (look at what centers of similar reputation have made this summer), is about basketball.” I couldn’t agree more.
Ricky injured his thigh, but don’t freak out, I forbid anyone to freak out
- Rubio left Team Spain’s Olympic tuneup game against Angola with what was initially reported as a “knee injury,” but turned out to be a thigh bruise. Ricky reportedly called Tom Thibodeau and reassured him that everything was fine, and that he could’ve returned to the game if necessary.
The Wolves are re-branding
- Finally, a bit of welcome news – Glen Taylor told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal that the team will re-brand, including new uniforms and a new logo. Jon Krawczynski says that it’ll likely happen the season after next. This is something I’ve argued passionately for in the past. It’s finally happening. Woo hoo!