This is not a Wolves summer roster long on talent, but I have been impressed by their effort and organization in winning their last two games to move into the tournament portion of the week with a 2-1 record. Tonight was a poor shooting, back and forth affair that the Wolves sent to overtime on a Charles Cooke driving hoop, then won in the second, sudden-death overtime period when C.J. Williams attacked a close-out and banked in a runner for the 78-76 victory.
They have actually tried to run things, getting guys rolling to the basket (not an effective strategy tonight against the Warriors shot blockers), setting pin-downs, doing things that basketball teams do.
A lot of that credit has to go to Marcus Paige, who had his poorest shooting night of the tournament so far, but hit a few big ones late and ran the team with good poise throughout. He’s been among the most impressive of the summer Wolves, though in reality he’s probably a lesser version of Tyus Jones, which makes him a marginal NBA player at best. He’s small, not lightning quick, and just an OK, not great, shooter. Still, he’s smart, appears to know what he’s doing, and clearly has the trust of Ryan Saunders to run things.
Charles Cooke has come on a bit after being left out of the first game. He had 11 points tonight including the aforementioned driving hoop late, which he followed up with a block on Patrick McCaw to send the game to overtime. He competes defensively, but his ball handling skills are very weak and I doubt he’s got the necessary physical gifts to be an NBA player.
Matt Costello...sort of reminds me of Adreian Payne without the propensity to hurt guys (though he did knock down McCaw on a steal attempt late in regulation.) He’s a low skill, high energy big who has the hops to block some shots and is leading the Summer League in rebounding. He had another double-double tonight, with 14 points and 15 boards.
McCaw showed at various times why he got real minutes for the actual Warriors last season, but also made some surprisingly poor plays, including missing two free throws late to give the Wolves a chance.
Jordan Bell was probably the most impressive guy on the floor tonight. He actually posted a quad-nickel. Not a lot of offense there, but he blocked six shots and completely dominated the paint on defense for stretches of the game, grabbed 11 boards, had five steals and five assists. That guy looks like a player, and an impressive maneuver by the Warriors to buy into the second round and nab him.
Of course, it isn’t just the players on your own summer league squad you are looking at; there are plenty of guys looking for jobs in Las Vegas right now. Whether any of them have caught the eye of Tom Thibodeau remains to be seen, but they do have a G-League team and two two-way contracts available to use on guys they want to develop.
- Tom Thibodeau was interviewed during the 2nd quarter, and ignoring the uncomfortable moments, he didn’t say anything new. Mentioned blowing 22 double-digit leads last season for the second time recently...maybe connect that to the minutes load Thibs?
- Andrew Wiggins was also on hand for the tilt as well, as was John Lucas sitting on the Wolves bench.
- Ryan Saunders actually seems pretty good at this. As mentioned above, the summer Wolves move the ball and run things, unlike many teams here. Also some decent ATO actions.