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:
Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League Schedule...— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) July 28, 2021
August 9th, 6pm CST: v. San Antonio
August 12th, 3pm CST: v. Chicago
August 13th, 3pm CST: v. Milwaukee
August 15th, 6pm CST: v. Philadelphia
SAS has the No. 12 pick, PHI the No. 28 pick, CHI + MIL + MIN have no 1st rd picks
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.
#Timberwolves official Summer League roster: pic.twitter.com/JiBTsbLUQR— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) August 4, 2021
Since this Summer League roster was originally announced, the Wolves made one subtraction over the weekend before boarding the plane to Las Vegas:
Sounds like JJ Culver, Jarrett’s brother, is one of the #Timberwolves summer roster cuts. https://t.co/vfIwCfkigq— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) August 7, 2021
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.
Asked Jaden McDaniels about how we've only really seen him in a 3+D role, and if there is a player he watches film of when he envisions himself in an environment where he can play more freely with the ball in his hands.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) August 4, 2021
His answer was Paul George. https://t.co/BKyUS9IYmj
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.
"Everyone's different. Shoot -- I can eat as many meals and I might not gain nothin." - Jaden McDaniels pic.twitter.com/gCPQS4ybuw— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) August 5, 2021
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:
Of the 5 players Rosas has drafted since taking over in 2019, NONE of them have played a single minute of NBA Summer League:— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) August 9, 2021
❌ Jarrett Culver (contract stuff)
❌ Jaylen Nowell (injury)
❌ Anthony Edwards (no ‘20 SL)
❌ Jaden McDaniels (no ‘20 SL)
❌ Leandro Bolmaro (no ‘20 SL)
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.