The Minnesota Timberwolves announced today that the team has signed forward Nathan Knight and guard McKinley Wright IV to two-way contracts. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not released.
Knight, 23, most recently played for the Atlanta Hawks last season where he saw action in 33 games while averaging 3.8 points on 37.0% shooting and 2.2 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per game. He appeared in six playoff games with Atlanta in 2020-21, totaling four points and six rebounds. His best game of the season came on Dec. 26 at Memphis, when he scored 14 points in nine minutes of action, becoming the first rookie in Hawks franchise history to total at least 14 points in nine minutes or less.
He is the third NBA player from William & Mary, where in four years, he averaged 17.1 points on 56.0% shooting and 7.7 rebounds. Knight became just the second player in league history to be named both the CAA Player and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season in 2020. Knight instantly becomes the most exciting free agent offseason acquisition for the Wolves, which in and of itself is pretty deflating, but that shouldn’t take away from the potential upside that the 23-year old possesses.
Some personal news:— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) August 4, 2021
It’s been roughly 24 hours since the signing was announced, but I have officially come around on Nathan Knight being Dollar Tree John Collins™️
Thanks to everyone for their support — I cannot wait to see what the future brings.
While he’s no John Collins, Nathan Knight flashed some eye-popping athleticism with the Hawks last season, and gives the Wolves something they haven’t really had in years — a springy center who, as Dane Moore points out below, is still learning how to play defense at the highest level:
Nathan Knight was predominantly used as a big that would switch pick and roll actions in his minutes for the Hawks last season.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) August 3, 2021
A few clips of Knight in pick and roll coverage here... https://t.co/0U9KW2ix9C pic.twitter.com/ERKtYbDOdQ
Again, Knight isn’t exactly the player many of us had at the top of our wish lists this summer, but to acquire a player with his potential on a two-way contract is definitely a win (albeit a small one), so the risk here seems fairly mild compared to the possible reward.
As for the Wolves other two-way signing — McKinley Wright, IV (22) averaged 14.2 points on 46.7% shooting, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game during his four-year career at the University of Colorado Boulder. He finished his college career as Colorado’s all-time leader in assists with 683 and owns school career records for double-figure scoring games (109), double-figure assists games (10) and points-assists double-doubles (10).
The North Robbinsdale, Minn. native became the only men’s basketball player in Pac-12 Conference history with 1,800 points, 600 assists and 600 rebounds and one of just seven to reach that mark in NCAA Division I (since 1985-86). He was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team for the third-straight year his senior season, becoming the first Buffalo in the Pac-12 era to garner three all-conference first team honors.
The scouting report on Wright is even smaller than the one on Knight, but if there’s one thing Gersson Rosas and his front office have done well during their tenure in Minnesota, it’s identifying low cost talent with respectable upside. Plus, as Jack Borman points out below, he’s already super clutch:
McKinley Wright (@kin_wright25) called game‼️— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) August 4, 2021
Great ending to a close one back and forth at the @TwinCitiesProAm!
Kin finished with a game-high 38 points. Josh Okogie poured in 20 points of his own in the win. pic.twitter.com/qJwSGZLYGy
The 2021 offseason for the Minnesota Timberwolves hasn’t exactly been one for the record books, but these latest two transactions could prove to be valuable ancillary moves once the season kicks off later this fall.