Recap of Workout Week

Get To Know Tony Ronzone (via MNwolves)


While it wasn't quite up to the high bar of last year's Point Guard Battle Royale, the Wolves were host to a 4-day session of workouts that saw a bucket load of basketball dignitaries descend upon Target Center to watch mid-to-late (and beyond) first round prospects duel against one another in three-on-three action, drills, and more.  We had a chance to make it out to 600 First Avenue for the final day of action and we put in some pre-workout footwork to have some contacts who could give us updates throughout the week.  Our thoughts on the week's events are below the fold.

First and foremost, there wasn't a "holy crap, we have to have this guy" player present at the proceedings this week.  While there were a few guys who turned some heads, there wasn't anyone who showed a type of game that was different than what was expected or who played at a level above and beyond what anyone had thought was possible. 

That being said, there were a few guys who made an impression:

Lazar Haywood: Call it the Wes Matthews effect.  Haywood impressed with his size and his ability to play all over the court.  He's not the most skilled player in the world, but he appears to be a guy that could give solid rotation minutes in an area the Wolves need help in the most: the wing. The Wolves' Jonah Ballow interviewed Haywood after his workout:

Question: You played with Wesley Matthews at Marquette who has had a pretty good start to his NBA career, how does that help you? Have you talked to him about the process of making the jump to the league? 
Hayward: "I have been keeping in touch with him all year long. He did a great job, you couldn't write a better story for him. He basically told me to be in the best shape, play hard, make sure I don't try to do too much, play defense. Just reminding me of the little things that teams care about." 

Question: With Marquette's style they were a little bit undersized which forced you to the four, could you jump to the two or three in the league? 
Hayward: "Naturally I'm a three but because of our size at Marquette I had to play the four. I think it helped me a little bit, it showed that I could play different positions and be tough and play bigger guys. It's no problem naturally to play the three. A lot of teams are skeptical because they haven't seen me play, which is fair. I just have to get in the gym and get my little fundamental skills back." 

Question: How do you fit in with the Timberwolves? 
Hayward: "I know Jonny (Flynn). I grew up with him. I know Wayne (Ellington), played him on the circuit. I think I fit in real well with those guys. I'll come in and guard whoever we need to guard, rebound the ball. I don't have to score. I'll do whatever the team wants me to do."

Lance Stephenson:

He's not the highest jumper (I literally have a higher no-step vertical), or quickest wing player, but Wolves new assistant GM Tony Ronzone quickly summed up what we heard over and over about Stephenson: "he's tough...he'd bounce off of [all you guys] and score....he [has the frame] to get to the rim."  Stephenson comes with a lot of baggage, but according to everything we heard, he was humbled in his freshman year and he has shown himself to be a young man willing to work for his spot in the NBA.  The words "a poor man's Tyreke Evans" were used in regard to Mr. Stephenson.  There were also several comments made about his ability to operate in the lane and in the mid-range game in the NBA.  He has decent length and good size for the 2 guard position.  FWIW, I'm really hoping the Wolves find a way to get this guy on their roster.  He's like a Ryan Gomes at the 2.  I know it's not much, but he is someone who is comfortable with the ball in his hands and that is worth something.  Jonah's interview with Stephenson is here.

Samardo Samuels:

OK, I won't spend much time on this one, but the guy is a nice looking power forward with ok size and a fantastic motor.  As for the Wolves...well, if they draft a power forward or a point guard not named Wall, you should be pissed.

Random thoughts

  • I did not expect Dork Elvis to be so tall.
  • It's really weird to watch the Celtics/Orlando game on TV and then to find yourself face to face with Danny Ainge in Minneapolis. 
  • It was equally weird to see Dork Elvis walking a few  footsteps ahead of Derek Jeter in downtown Minneapolis on the way back to the parking garage. 
  • Charles Garcia is a nice project, but he is a man without a position.  He'll likely end up at the 4 in the NBA but he'd be best served at the 3.  His ball handling skills are upper level for a big forward, but he lacks the strength to really guard the 4 and the quickness to really guard the 3 in the NBA.  
  • Omar Samhan deserves a roster spot in the NBA.  The guy couldn't be a better interview and he is very self aware about a) him being valuable for his interview and b) his need to out-hustle everyone else.  He isn't quite as big as I thought he would be, but he appears to be the type of guy who will keep a locker room loose and work hard in practice.  He's my top pick for the 2nd round.  If anyone deserves a shot in the D-League, it's Samhan...plus, I can't say enough about how good of a quote the guy is.  "We're all just overpaid kids" was my favorite.  The dude has worked hard and he'll continue to do so.  That has to be worth something in a 6'11" package.
  • Avoid Willie Warren
  • Avoid Scottie Reynolds and Luke Harangody.
  • Dennis Clemente will work his way to the NBA. 
  • Jarvis Varnado was more disappointing than I expected. 
  • Grevis Vasquez is going to be a nice NBA role player.  
  • It's still kind of funny to see a room full of 40 something giants in track suits. 
  • Bill Laimbeer deserves to be an NBA coach.
  • Tony Ronzone knows what the hell he is doing. The guy sounds competent in an interview and his peers have nothing but good things to say about him.  While Kahn still has a bit of a used car salesman to him, Ronzone is the best front office hire the team has made in a long, long time.  He's the best outsider they've had since Casey. 
  • The Wolves have come a long way with their on-line offerings.  Jonah has put together a nice draft page on the official site.  Knowing what we know about the team's thoughts on new media, Jonah is to be commended for his work on the team's official site. 
  • The Portland TrailBlazers guys are nice as can be. They really are hard to root against. 

Finally, It is beyond cool when you meet someone who reads the site and thinks that you have smart readers.  Thank you to everyone for taking part with the site.  The words "the pulse of the team," "smart fans," and "a really good fan base" were used by people we never thought read the site. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

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