Seeing as to how no one has reviewed the first summer league game of our beloved T-wolves, I thought I would offer up my analysis (for what it is worth). My general thought on the game was that coaches were really trying to get everyone on the roster pretty equal playing time. Had the team been more interested in winning the game (which is not really the focus of summer league), certain players would have received much more playing time than they were allotted. Playing the D League All Stars is always an interesting match up for two reasons: (i) the players are usually much older and more physically mature than the collection of rookies typically placed on the summer league teams and (ii) the players tend to give more effort as the summer league is more of a proving ground. That being said the T-wolves summer squad was there to compete. Below are some player-specific observations that I had over the course of the game:
- Robbie Hummel was the best player on the floor HANDS DOWN for the timberwolves. Hummel made plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball leading the team in scoring (on 55% shooting) and taking several charges throughout the game. One thing that was evident was his hustle as he was often the first player back on defense after a turnover. I was also impressed by his shooting stroke and his ability to allow the offense come to him rather than forcing shots. I think Hummel could have a future in league somewhere even if not for us as an energy guy off the bench.
- Chris Johnson showed a wide range of skills on both ends of the floor leading the team in rebounds and scoring 11 points on 4-7 shooting. He displayed a great shooting touch from outside as he hit several jumpers from 17-20 feet. He could end up being the second center off the bench behind Pek if he can put on some more muscle.
- Muhammad had a rough go of things in his first game in a T-wolves uniform. For a player that was hailed as someone who really moves off screens to get the ball, he did a lot of standing around waiting for a pass out by the three point line. The couple of times he worked his way into the post he was successful. When he caught the ball at the three point line and tried to create his own shot off the dribble, he often turned the ball over. In order to be successful in the NBA, he will have to move better without the ball and not force shots the second someone passes it to him. I can attribute some of this to rookie jitters but it is something to keep an eye on throughout the summer league.
- Lorenzo Brown showed that he can be an elite passer but still struggles with creating his own offense. There were multiple times that he was left open with the defense daring him to score and he would pass on his own shot. Once again, some of this might be rookie jitters, but he will have to develop a solid three point shot to keep defenses honest. That being said, I would not be disappointed to see him as our third PG as he is extremely quick, could turn into a good defender, and is an excellent passer.
- Dieng did not make a ton of impact in the game posting only 4 boards and 4 points. He looked a little lost on defense failing to make it over for help defense on a number of occasions. On offense he showed that he has a nice touch on his jump shot and could prove to be reliable from 15-18 feet out. Hopefully we get to see a bit more of him over the next few games.
- Darnell Jackson (D League All Star) is a man child and proved to be too much for any defender the wolves could throw at him .
- Mickell Gladness (D League All Star) will be a serviceable player for a team looking for a defensive specialist as he blocked or altered almost ever shot that came his way.
- Stefhon Hannah (D League All Star) was the best player on the floor of either team on both sides of the ball. He provided tremendous on-ball pressure while showing a great touch on his jump shot (scored 23 points on 8-11 shooting). Could be a third string point guard in the league somewhere.
That is all for now as I wanted to get everyone else's take on what they saw during the game. I realize I am no expert at evaluating talent so I welcome someone telling me that I am wrong in any observation that I had.