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Mavs top Wolves in Summer League opener

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The Wolves drop their first summer league game to Dallas amid absurd rumors of a trade with Cleveland and Golden State

Ok, first of all, let's just kill this rumor that the Wolves are sending Love to the Cavaliers for Thompsons Klay and Tristan.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>&quot;No FRICKIN&#39; way&quot; is what a text reads when I ran the <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeCairns5">@MikeCairns5</a> Love to Cavs trade progress report by someone w/ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Twolves?src=hash">#Twolves</a>.</p>&mdash; Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) <a href="https://twitter.com/DarrenWolfson/statuses/488111289860771840">July 13, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Oh yeah, Saunders is hard at work on a Cavs/Warriors deal <a href="http://t.co/RfckMD2aun">pic.twitter.com/RfckMD2aun</a></p>&mdash; canishoopus (@canishoopus) <a href="https://twitter.com/canishoopus/statuses/488110475373072384">July 12, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Not only does the proposed rumor not makes sense for the Wolves (other than the Flip really loves Klay Thompson angle), it makes even less sense for the Warriors. They won't give up Klay for Love, but would give him up for a bunch of late first round picks? Right. Go home Cleveland radio.

Anyways...

The Mavericks are running with a summer league team featuring a lot of guys with NBA experience. 4/5ths of their starting lineup (Ricky Ledo, Gal Mekel, Ivan Johnson and Bernard James) have multiple seasons of professional basketball under them and today it showed.

The Wolves got out to a quick lead running the floor and initiating early offense. But once the game slowed down to a halfcourt pace, the Mavericks quickly buried Minny under strong defense and superior execution. Mekel clearly has experience running an offense, and Ricky Ledo simply could not miss pretty much the entire second quarter.

The concern for the Wolves in summer league was definitely whether the could execute in the halfcourt, and that proved to be well founded today. Lavine has little experience at it: when UCLA slowed down, it was Kyle Anderson directing things. And Shved was just.....Shved. After the opening 7 minutes, the Wolves were wholly unable to initiate and sets except for 2-3 minute stretches when Markel Starks was in. Otherwise it was a lot of Bazz crashing into people, or Lavine or Shved jacking up long shots early in the shot clock.

Zach Lavine wow'd right away, throwing down an alley-oop from Shved on the first possession of the game. Unfortunately things quickly dropped off for him; he badly missed his second shot, then ended up not scoring again for the rest of the first half.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>LaVine&#39;s first basket with the Timberwolves is an alley-oop. Perfect. <a href="https://t.co/6wESc2HO8E">https://t.co/6wESc2HO8E</a></p>&mdash; Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles) <a href="https://twitter.com/crabdribbles/statuses/488089302287777793">July 12, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>And Lavine&#39;s second shot a missed layup after a triple clutch fling. Keep an eye on that. Lavine was very poor finishing in traffic at UCLA</p>&mdash; canishoopus (@canishoopus) <a href="https://twitter.com/canishoopus/statuses/488089782879141889">July 12, 2014</a></blockquote>

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In general, Lavine looked out of his depth most of the game. He settled for a lot of shots in the first half, then started off the second half with two really bad passes: one trying to thread the ball between two defenders at shoulder height, then gunning a pass at Bazz when he was running a route and wasn't looking. He also showed that tendency to just float around on offense, kind of not doing anything in particular for long stretches. His 13 points were very quiet, and he had more turnovers and fouls than assists.

That's not to say Lavine is a lot cause, by any means. He picked it up in the second half with a couple good shots, a great driving layup, and some sticky defense. There's clearly talent there to be harnessed. But as we've said all along, he is a massive work in progress.

I'll have a lot more on Lavine for you guys in the coming days to go more in depth with this. We'll see if things pick up for him in the next game. It's not unreasonable to give a 19 year old kid a pass on his first outing due to nerves.

Muhammad played extremely aggressively, leading all scorers with 27 points and crashing the offensive glass for a total of 11 rebounds. His ability to get to the ball on rebounds is really remarkable....even the TV crew couldn't help but marvel at it. He does it in a fundamentally different way than Love, but often with the same result. But still, he put up 24 shots and only made 10. There were a lot of times he'd go into double teams or start a post sequence without looking at the defense first. Whereas Lavine needs to be more aggressive, Bazz was almost too aggressive, trying to force plays that just weren't there.

The only Wolf who I felt put together a complete game was Dieng. 12 points on 6 FGA, 10 rebounds, a couple steals, a couple blocks, a couple really great passes. He was the only guy who just looked completely comfortable on the floor and the only guy who played with any sort of real efficiency. The team as a whole shot just 40%

  • Glen Robinson III had a quiet but really solid outing. I like his ability to blend with different style lineups, and he showed some great potential as a defender today. I definitely think he's making the final roster, or will at least get signed and stashed somewhere
  • Let's find a way to get Ricky Ledo
  • Given our tragic backup point guard situation, I could be talked into Merkel Starks making the roster with a couple more good games
  • (this is where you really wish the NBA had a true minor league system. I'd love to sign Starks and GR3 to exclusive DLeague deals for the year)
  • No windmill dunks from Fesenko today. Teh sadz
  • Gary Harris scored 30 points in his summer league debut today. Yeah. I'll just leave that little tidbit here