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Timberwolves 2021 NBA Summer League Preview

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The Wolves kick off their 2021 Summer League campaign later today against the San Antonio Spurs.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been 85 long, boring days since the Minnesota Timberwolves last played a competitive basketball game, but all of that will change later today... kind of.

The Wolves will kick off their 2021 NBA Summer League campaign this evening against the San Antonio Spurs, their first of four games this week (as part of their preliminary round schedule). The rest of this week’s schedule can be found below:

This year’s Summer League roster is headlined by the one and only Jaden McDaniels, who is expected to get plenty of run in the first few games (and plenty of opportunities to expand his game as well). The rest of Minnesota’s Summer League roster can be found below, and includes some interesting names like Kenny Wooten from Oregon and Isaiah Miller from UNC Greensboro.

Since this Summer League roster was originally announced, the Wolves made one subtraction over the weekend before boarding the plane to Las Vegas:

Back to McDaniels for a second — with Anthony Edwards no longer participating in Summer League due to that mild ankle injury he sustained back in July (which from all accounts he has fully healed from), Jaden will be the focal point for Wolves fans in the desert and should be thrust into a much larger offensive role.

Joseph Blair, who will coach the Wolves’ Summer League team this week, said last week during his media availability that “we want to let him loose” in regards to Jaden McDaniels’ role in Las Vegas, which for degenerates like myself is absolute word porn.

In addition to Jaden, the other familiar name on this roster is Jaylen Nowell, who should see plenty of time running point for the Summer Wolves as they experiment to see if Jaylen can possibly play backup PG behind D’Angelo Russell next season.

While the overall Summer League product can be tough to watch at times as young guys go through the growing pains of player development, this week should give us a good glimpse at what kind of “second-year leap” a guy like Jaden McDaniels can make as a sophomore in the NBA. While the Wolves have remained relatively quiet since the start of free agency last week, it may simply come down to the internal growth of some of their own players if this team is truly going to take a step in the right direction next season.

Last but not least — how crazy is this statistic:

Since Gersson Rosas took over two summers ago, he has yet to see a player that he specifically drafted play a single minute of NBA Summer League action (Naz Reid made a good impression on the 2019 team that lost in the Summer League championship to the Memphis Grizzlies, but he was of course undrafted). Just another reason to tune in this week as Jaden and Jaylen — two of the Rosas regime’s better draft picks — look to make a name for themselves on a national stage.