SummerDubs 77, SummerWolves 69: Summer (League) Has (Essentially) Come and Past

Let’s just rip the Band-Aid off quickly: the dream of the Minnesota Timberwolves winning an NBA title* is dead.

(*It’s only Summer League, but technically it still would’ve been a league title.)

In what can only be described as an upset of microscopic proportions, the 11th seeded SummerWolves fell to the 22nd seeded Golden State SummerWarriors in the play-in round of the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League playoffs, ending the Wolves’ chances of appearing in their second straight finals. The SummerWolves were coming off a “thrilling” victory against the SummerWarriors the night prior, in which the team won in Sudden Death(!). The SummerWolves were without Summer League star Mat Costello who was sidelined with an illness.

C.J. Williams led the SummerWolves in scoring, hanging 19 points on 7/15 shooting overall and 2/6 from deep. Perry Ellis contributed 12 points as well as eight rebounds and Jack Gibbs also added 12 points on…13 shots.

It was that kind of game for the SummerWolves, whose shooting was more arid than the surrounding Mojave Desert; the team was 27/76 overall, 5/23 from three, and 10/16 from the free throw line.

Patrick McCaw, who is probably too good to be playing in Summer League, lead the way for the SummerWarriors, posting a line of 26 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Bryce Alford and Elgin Cook were the only other Golden State affiliated players to post double-digit points with 13 and 12, respectively. Jordan Bell, who the Warriors essentially bought from the Chicago Bulls on draft night (wyd, Bulls?) had six points, 16(!) rebounds, and three blocks.

Although the SummerWolves can no longer bring a championship back to Minnesota (sigh), they aren’t quite done. The SummerWolves wrap up Summer League action this coming Friday with a matinee contest against the SummerWizards.

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6 Responsesso far.

  1. gjk says:

    Playing a team with actual draft picks makes it clear how much of a struggle it would be for these guys to survive in the NBA without at least one top-level physical skill. Even a 2nd-rounder like Jordan Bell was dominant. The Wolves summer league team, at least the guys who played big minutes, included a lot of guys who knew how to play off the ball and had some skills, but except for maybe Cooke, there isn’t a single one I’d want them to even sign a 2-way contract for those 16th and 17th roster spots. Guess that’s what the other summer league teams are for.

    It’s almost breathtaking how bad Marcus Paige is at scoring around the rim. That and his thin frame rule him out of a roster spot for me unless he can make 40-45% of his 3s. The notable difference between him and 2-years-younger Tyus Jones is a good example of why age often matters with draft prospects.

  2. Tom says:

    Sadly, it would have been so much fun to see Patten play with this group. As mentioned, age isn’t a factor in this league, but skill and NBA experience is. I don’t know if I liked the offense they ran, but I think Patten would have had some highlight moments on pick and roll as well as a swat or two on the other end. I hope that some of the other teams G leaguers can be had for two way contracts for our 14th and 15th players, because I don’t see talent in this group. Rather have someone who is younger and cheaper for those spots than a veteran (Jordan Hill) kind of player, but it would have to come from another team.

    Has anyone found out if Glen was open to paying for a second rounder like GState was? He has always been open to getting money for those picks, I guess I would have liked to see him add one more player in the draft.

    • gjk says:

      Just a clarification: the two-way contracts are spots on top of the 15 they get for an active roster, so those are the 16th and 17th spots.

  3. jmndodge says:

    Patton would have made it more interesting. If the rumors are true, and the wolves at Allen as well as Crawford – they could run two rotations one for 34 minutes and one for 14. Big rotation is the biggest question – KAT/Dieng/Bjelica remain joined by Gibson and on the roster by Patton although when he plays is a big question. No mystery who will play at the wing and point – with the additions of Butler/Teague/Crawford and possibly Allen – Wiggins and Jones remain – If healthy and no injury problems this team should compete every night. KAT/Wiggins should both improve (and were good last season) Dieng has been consistent and continues to show improvement – but we don’t know if he will continue to start at PF – move to backup C – or play both positions like he did last season. I do expect he will play 30+ minutes again. Without young talent yet on the deep bench we can’t dream about Bazz/Dunn/Payne making it to the next level, but might question could this year be breakout seasons for Bjelica(coming off injury) and Jones – a critical piece going forward. Imagine 34 minutes from a starting lineup – KAT/Dieng/Butler/Wiggins/Teague backed up by Gibson/Bjelica/Crawford/Allen/Jones – could Jones become something special with these veterans to space the floor? Not much salary or depth beyond these players. Crawford and Allen might not have much left in their legs – Gibson a bit more, but if they can play 14 minutes (letting Jones and Bjelica pick up a few more * Bjelica some SF in certain match up situations, and Jones playing more PG when Teague slides over to a 2 guard look – Could be an interesting year. Stay healthy. Please!!!

  4. pyrrol says:

    Have not been able to watch the games, but two quick thoughts: The odds of our roster having usable talent with our pick out were low. But I was hoping for some fun surprises–guys that were at least interesting and raising eyebrows. I’m not seeing evidence of that, for the most part. I was told to watch the novel Burton, and it seems he’s likely too ineffectual to get anywhere in the D league.

    What happens in summer league stays in summer league. Which is to say, don’t read too much into it. Of course, this tends to be more ‘don’t get excited about someone kicking butt’ than ‘if you suck at summer league you might still be a really good NBA player soon!’ That said, I’m thinking I might have been wrong about Lonzo Ball. Basically, I was intrigued by him, more that Fultz (who may end up being a fine player) but also leery. He’s got my eyebrows raised now. I’m becoming a fan, fast. Showtime Lakers may be back soon, as annoying as that is…

  5. Tom says:

    As you say pyrrol “what happens in summer league stays in summer league.” Many the star of summer league has come crashing to earth once he plays against men that have more game than the summer league folks. He shoots a lot for a pass first point guard, and the results weren’t even Ricky Rubioesque. Will young Lonzo still be the darling of the league when he shoots 20 shots a night and hits 30%? His passes are pretty, but will they still work against NBA teams? Lastly, anybody his size should be able to get 10 rebounds a night, if they hustle. PG’s in this draft were very highly rated and the Mavs, Sixers and possibly Knicks and Kings may all have better PG than Lonzo Ball. Of course, if Westbrook, LeBron and George all decide to retire in LA, Mr. Ball could be a bowling ball and be successful.

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