The most redeeming part of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Thursday night Summer League “regular season” finale against the Sacramento Kings was the fact that Michael Grady was on the call. Man, I really miss hearing that guy call the Wolves every other night.
We got a couple “cash!”s, even a “nothing but nylon”. Was that the only thing that kept me around watching? Outside of a third quarter surge by Josh Minott, yeah, pretty much.
Need a Little Moore
One of my bigger takeaways from Summer League that happens to be negative was my disappointment in Wendell Moore Jr.’s performance. Moore made his return to the lineup Thursday after missing the last two games.
A few huge plays, mainly on defense from Moore during the 2022-23 regular season, including a successful spot start against the Memphis Grizzlies and a massive put-back in game 82 against the New Orleans Pelicans had me really looking forward to watching him take a leap forward against inferior Summer League competition. I’m not sure we got that.
Wendell Moore Jr banks in a 3 pic.twitter.com/3E6YkUOaSm— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) July 14, 2023
I think Moore’s vision is really good. I could see him being solid on the fast break in the future. He frequently pushed pace and found teammates ahead of him. Right now, it seems as though his confidence may be low and his lack of decisiveness takes a lot away from his potential. His “should I attack, shoot, or pass?” question plays out in front of everyone’s eyes. When he goes quick, things like 2:54 in the second quarter happen, where he drove it for a seemingly effortless and one.
The flashes remain there. I’m just not convinced he’s better than he was last year, and I think that gets reflected by his presence in an already tough-to-crack rotation for him.
Minott Wakes Up in Second Half
A missing persons report was almost send out for Josh Minott in the first half.
Minott covered his bases earlier in the week when he said he couldn’t do early games, and early in the game his slow start was reflected by the entire team.
Minott started the game 1-7 from the field in the first half, but flipped the switch as the game went on. He closed the game out with a 16 point second half on 5-9 shooting, hitting a couple corner threes and finding much more of a rhythm.
Like he's done so far in Summer League, Josh Minott is coming out hot out of the break.— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) July 14, 2023
After a 1/7 shooting first half, he's 3/3 to start the third quarter and has the Wolves back within three, 50-47.
Just need Leonard Miller to join him and Minnesota will be in business
Thursday enlightened a bit of a comparison between Minott and Josh Okogie towards the end of his Timberwolves tenure. Okogie never had issues with his athleticism and ability on the defensive end, but his ability to get minutes was dependent on the team needing energy and his ability to knock down shots. Minott has more potential on the offensive end, but step one will be his ability to see his shot fall from the corner and take players off the dribble from that. I don’t think defense will ever be the issue, but just how polished can his offensive game become? And how much of it can come from a consistent shot? Time will only tell.
Miller Comes Back Down To Earth
They can’t all be perfect, and even on an off night for Miller came a 10-point, double-double. Along with Minott, Miller struggled early in the game and didn’t score until the third quarter. He was still active on the boards, and recorded 11 rebounds.
This guy is awesome. He runs on the fast break and is fearless. I think it’s only a matter of time until NBA minutes are recorded for him this season.
The Wolves will wrap out Summer League in the “consolation” portion of the proceedings against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday at 1:30 CT. The game will be on NBATV.