Who: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies
What: 2019 NBA Summer League Championship Game
Where: Las Vegas, NV
When: 8:00pm CT (ESPN2 and WCC Radio)
Why: Because after tonight, you won’t sniff NBA basketball for almost two months.
The Summer Wolves (6-0) are back in action tonight for one last performance, this time squaring off against the Summer Grizzlies (5-1). This is the second time in four years that Minnesota has made it to the final game of the Summer League tournament, with their last appearance coming back in 2016 when the Tyus Jones-led pups fell to the Summer Bulls in overtime.
With both 2019 draft picks Jarrett Culver and Jaylen Nowell sitting out the entire Summer League, the Wolves have had to rely on less-popular names to spark their championship run, including Naz Reid (12.5 points per game), Kalen Martin (11.8 points per game), and Mitch Creek (10.8 points per game).
Reid’s performance in the desert has been the most eye-opening, as 6’10” big man out of LSU went undrafted in the June draft but has turned a lot of heads since signing a two-way deal with Minnesota. At only 19-years old, Reid may not contribute much for the Wolves this upcoming season, but he’s definitely a project worth investing in for the team down the road.
As for the opponent, the Grizzlies have been without their top pick as well (Ja Morant), but have gotten strong production from fellow first-round pick (and Summer League MVP) Brandon Clarke. The Gonzaga big man was often tied to the Wolves in various mocks leading up to the draft, and has been a great contributor for the Grizzlies thus far, averaging 14.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Overall, tonight’s game may not include any needle-movers for this upcoming season, but it does pit two young, rebuilding franchises against one another that appear to have a lot of back-end talent to grow and develop. Add in the Wolves recent adoption of “Pablo-Ball” and you have all the makings of a fun (albeit meaningless) competition in Sin City.