FanPost

Review of Timberwolves vs. Sacramento Summer League Game (Shabazz Shows Life)

Sorry all but I was not able to watch the third game of the summer league against the Heat in order to provide you with a wrap up. Let's start with the obvious, the Wolves absolutely crushed the Kings 92-54. The Kings could not seem to buy a bucket shooting 30% from the field, 18% from three, and 55% from the line. This compares to the Wolves outstanding shooting of 54%/55%/64%, respectively. The Wolves continued to rack up the fouls and turnovers but were fortunate that there was such a large shooting disparity that it did not seem to matter. I believe that the poor shooting performance by the Kings was caused by a few things including: (i) poor shot selection (and some general bad luck), (ii) a good job by the Wolves players of challenging each shot that went up, and (iii) having at least one shot blocking threat on the court at any given time. The last one of these can not be emphasized enough as every time a Kings player tried to drive the lane they were consistently having to alter their shots due to the presence of Johnson and Dieng. This caused bad shots, blocked shots, and turnovers. The Wolves finished the game with 7 total blocks compared to 0 for the Kings. Oh and by the way, the Wolves have been absolutely on-fire from three the last few games! On to the player-specific observations:

  • Chris Johnson was only on the floor for 11 minutes and ended the game with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 assists. You read that last part right, he led the team in assists. He really showed a knack for making smart passes from the high post and had one incredible feed to a cutting guard to open the game. He has also shown a really nice touch on his jumper. Despite the weight he put on this summer, I would love to see him put on 30 more pounds to really bang with NBA centers. I think he and Turiaf will split time as the number 2 and 3 center on the roster depending on who we are playing. Turiaf will be called upon for the Dwight Howards of the world while CJ will be more effective against the Larry Sanders and Anthony Davis's. As I mentioned before, his shot blocking has been very good.
  • Robbie Hummel has tempered many people's initial enthusiasm (including my own) the last couple of games. It should be noted that he has played limited minutes and many believe it is because the wolves do not want to showcase his abilities too much as they hope no other team will pick him up. In 9 minutes of play he had 4 points and 4 boards on 2-5 shooting. He did appear to tweak his ankle and the wolves training staff were cautious given his history to put him back in the game.
  • Demetri McCamey gets his first mention here in my reviews because he has been so consistent the past few games and is really making a push for that last roster spot. He ended this game with 15 points on 6-9 shooting (3-5 from three), 3 assists, 2 steals, and 3 boards. His jump shot is pure and he is built like a brick wall (6 foot 3, 210 pounds). He could prove to be a bit of a combo guard as he is good with the ball in his hands or moving without the ball to knock down an open shot.
  • Lorenzo Brown had his best game of the summer scoring 11 points on 5-9 shooting (1-1 from three) and netting 6 rebounds (lead the team), 2 assists, and most importantly only 1 turnover. As I have mentioned before, he looks comfortable with the ball in his hands and this was the first game that he really looked for his own offense. He had a couple of nice shots (although I still think his jumper his flawed) and some nice cuts to the basket where he almost seemed to get at will. LB also has a really nice pump fake to get defenders in the air which helped create his shot or set up an assist.
  • Shabazz Muhammad had easily the best game of the summer scoring 17 points on 6-10 shooting (3-4 from three) and really showed a nice shooting stroke working off screens, in the post, and spot up from three. He also finished the game with 4 rebounds and 1 assist. He really flipped some switch in this game because he was really hustling on D, crashing the boards, and looking for his shot (in a responsible way). He was not simply floating out to three and chucking up the ball the second he touched it. When he worked off the dribble he was highly effective and got to the line more today than he has in the other games. This is what we will need him to do when he comes off the bench; use screens to get to the hoop and take open three pointers when they are there.
  • Ben McLemore was absolutely horrendous and forced way too many bad shots. Shabazz completely owned him on both ends of the court. In order to be effective as a rookie he will need to review his tape from Kansas to see what made him so effective in a lineup with some established players (also worth noting he went the entire summer with out registering a single assist). I also think the Kings got a second rounds steal two years in a row in Ray McCollum. While he may play in the D League this year because of the log jam the Kings have at the guard position, i believe he can be a third or even second string point guard in the league.
That is all until next game. What originally looked like a two man race for the last roster spot suddenly looks like a three man race with McCamey joining the crowd. It will be interesting to see if the wolves decide they need (i) a pure point guard with above average passing ability but below average offensive generation, (ii) a combo guard who can both score and handle the ball, or (iii) a combo forward with a silky smooth jump shot that may struggle defensively and athletically. As always, please feel free to agree, disagree, or comment on anything else you have seen.
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