Well hello there 🙂 You might remember the name from Vikings Training Camp this past summer. And if you do, you know that there is fun in store for the next few days/weeks. We are just under a week away from Timberwolves training camp and it’s time to take a look at how the Wolves roster competition is shaping up. We already know who’s going to hold the 1 and 2 positions for most spots. But, the competition for the last 1-2 roster spots could come down to 4-5 guys. Let’s start it off with the most “open” backup position of the team… Point Guard.
1st – Ricky Rubio
2nd – JJ Barea
Although the first two spots are locked up, barring injury, there is a huge hole to fill for the 3rd backup spot. It may seem ridiculous, but the 3rdpoint guard plays a crucial role, especially on our team. Last year, our 3rd string point guard was Luke Ridnour. Luke not only played at the point, but also started at shooting guard some nights. Overall, he played in all 82 games last season. The two guys fighting for Luke’s spot this year are:
Competing for a Spot: Lorenzo Brown, Othyus Jeffers
Othyus Jeffers: You may have heard his name around the league before. Jeffers has been in and out of the NBA since 2010. After spending 2 years with the Iowa Energy and a club in Italy, Jeffers finally got his big break with the Utah Jazz. After signing handfuls of 10-day contracts with the Jazz, Spurs and eventually Wizards, he ended up back in the D-League last year. The Wolves invited him onto their summer league team and he made such an impression, he was invited to training camp.
Lorenzo Brown: Lorenzo is about the same height as Jeffers at 6’5, but a tad bit thinner. The team drafted him this year in the 2nd round as a hybrid Point/Shooting Guard. In the summer league he averaged 8 points a game and shot 50 percent from 3. I think Lorenzo has the edge come training camp because of his youth and specialty with the longer-range shots. Brown isn’t as much of a pure point, but I think that benefits him with the foundation of our roster. We need a guy that can not only play point, but also mix it up and make shots.
1st – Kevin Martin
2nd – Alexey Shved
Alexey had a streaky season last year, which leads him to solidify his game behind Kevin Martin this season. Right now, we have a few players who can switch into the 3rd shooting guard role, one being Lorenzo Brown, and others being any of the three shooting forwards.
1st – Chase Budinger
2nd – Corey Brewer
3rd – Shabazz Muhammad
Losing AK-47 was our biggest downfall of the offseason. Instead of keeping his salary, we opted to sign two players instead. Those players include Budinger and Brewer. Chase is more of a pure shooter, while Brewer is known for his lockdown defender abilities. Shabazz has much to prove after a comical behavior at the draft and throughout rookie activities this summer. He won’t see much time early on, as coach will rely on those with experience.
Competing for a Spot: Robbie Hummel
Robbie Hummel kind of got stuck in a tough spot here. Although he by far played better than anyone else in summer league, he’s trying to find a home with a team that is stacked at forward. Robbie’s talent may win out, but I’m doubting he can fit in with this year’s squad.
1st – Kevin Love
2nd – Derrick Williams
3rd – Dante Cunningham
One misconception going around is that Derrick Williams is set to make the transition to shooting forward. If that’s true, I think it’s a huge mistake. D-Will could potentially be a 6th man off the bench. This is the “it” year for him. Either he finds himself and what his role is with this team, or he potentially gets traded away/cut. Dante may in fact be a more consistent backup to Kevin Love anyways.
1st – Nikola Pekovic
2nd – Ronny Turiaf
3rd – Gorgui Dieng
When the Wolves drafted Gorgui, I was sold that he was going to be our back-up center this year. It wasn’t until they signed Turiaf, that I realized the value of a veteran backup center. I think Ronny will provide veteran leadership in the locker room and on the floor. He’s already proven off the court that he’s a vocal and fun-loving guy. Dieng will learn tremendously from his high spirits and defensive skills.
Competing for a Spot: Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is an interesting case. He played well enough to hear “MVP” chants from fans last year. However, rumors are that he doesn’t fit into Rick Adelman’s system. With the addition of a veteran and rookie center, Johnson is squeezed out of the rotation. He can play a bit of forward, which helps. However, the Wolves may buy him out to make room for talent at other positions. Let’s hope not considering he was the very first participating of the Budinger games!
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