Welcome, Wednesday morning readers! I'm filling in for John today, so please bear with me on the slight difference in format. John will be covering my post Friday morning, so everything will even out ... promise.
Now that the 2015 Summer League has wrapped up for Minnesota, we're really heading into that slow offseason space prior to the preseason. I don't know about you, but even with the 1-4 record coming out of Las Vegas, I'm feeling confident about where the Wolves stand heading into the 2015-2016 season.
You always have to take Summer League play with a grain of salt, because so many faces on the floor won't even make the final roster cut. However, fans also got to see new draft picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones make their NBA debut, and there was plenty to celebrate there.
Over the five games, Towns averaged just over 31 minutes on the floor. During that time, he averaged a solid 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Towns also notched double-doubles against Portland and Utah.
Here are some of the things being said about the No. 1 overall draft pick after his Vegas performance:
"Basketball is played on the court, but listening to the 19-year-old chat postgame with an unusual combo of confidence and humility, it's hard not to see a winner. When suited up, Towns was always the most intuitive player on the floor -- an impressive passer out of double-teams, a defensive presence who will excel at that end, and an unselfish, communicative teammate. There's very little here not to like." - Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com
"In the absence of sustained dominance, you're looking for flashes. Towns gave us that in a variety of different settings, both as a passer and a finisher, and it's just hard to identify any real significant weaknesses in his game at such a young age. He's easily the safest bet for high-level production in this draft." - D.J. Foster, True Hoops
"It might be a cop out to select the No. 1 overall pick as the Rookie of the League, but Towns was an absolute beast in Las Vegas. All of the things that we thought he would be able to do were on full display. As usual, he was unstoppable going over his left shoulder, and his strength and quickness on the block is going to be tough for NBA defenders to stop." - Austin Peters, Upside and Motor
As Peters said, some may say this is no surprise, and maybe it isn't. However, we all have seen stories of the No.1-pick-gone-bad, and there is never a guarantee of a fluid transition from college ball to the pros. By all accounts thus far, however, Towns seems like the real deal. His offense is obviously an asset, but what stands out the most as an immediate need for Minnesota is his tenacity and ability to control the pace on defense.
Towns also displays a basketball I.Q. and overall maturity that isn't often seen in players this young. Thinking about the things he'll be able to learn from a veteran like Kevin Garnett on top of his existing skills makes me more than impatient for the season to tipoff. Put all that on the court with Andrew Wiggins, and I have chills.
While we're all counting down the days until we can see everything come together, take a look at this video the Wolves put together about Towns' Summer League adventure: