Breaking Down the Summer League Team

Ok Wolves fans get ready for some action finally as the Timberwolves take the court tonight in Vegas’ Cox Pavillion at 5pm to take on the Houston Rockets. (BTW for anyone looking to get their NBA basketball fix in, for $15 you can watch all of the Vegas summer league games here.)

Let’s take a look at the 5 most important guys on the roster and what we’re hoping we’ll see from each of them over the course of the week. (I’ll be listing them in order of importance to the Wolves for the upcoming season.) Although it should be duly noted that breaking out in summer league (see Belinelli, Marco) does not necessarily translate to NBA success it does show what a player can do. As Coach David Thorpe said while live-twittering the Orlando Summer league, “Don’t ever think that playing well in summer league does not translate to the NBA. It does, but it still takes more work.” (Coach Thorpe will be live-tweeting today as well here. I should also mention he has a new blog up here, that should be worth checking every so often.)

  1. Jonny Flynn No. 11 6-0, 185 – PG: No player on our summer league team is more important than Jonny Flynn. What we should be hoping to see is a performance much like Russell Westbrook’s a year ago in the Orlando Pro Summer League. #1 on my list is seeing him defend some bigger shooting guards well straight up as Kahn has said he can. 16 pts/5 asts/1 3pm/1 stl would be a nice stat line at the end of the week for Flynn.
  2. Wayne Ellington No. 19 6-4, 200 – SG: Second to Flynn by a slim margin in importance to the Wolves would like to see what Ellington can do as a team’s main scoring threat and whether his strong efficiency numbers at North Carolina will transfer into NBA basketball.
  3. Corey Brewer No. 22 6-9, 188 – SF: Coming off his torn ACL back in November the Wolves are hoping to see Corey back at 100%. The question is what is 100% of Corey Brewer look like. Brewer to me has the ability to become Trevor Ariza or James Posey type doing a lot of little things well and playing really good defense for the Wolves.
  4. Paul Harris No. 12 6-4, 230 – SG/SF: The favorite to make the team’s final roster spot, Harris has played with Jonny Flynn both at Syracuse and Niagra Falls High School before that. (And I’m guessing even farther back) Luckily for Harris we are in need of a swing-man (or two or three) to help round out a roster full of point guards and big men. The bad news is we probably need The good news is Harris brings a lot of toughness and doing the little things to help a team win like we hope Brewer will show. The bad news is more than anything the Wolves could use someone like Ellington that brings shooting to the table for that last roster spot.
  5. Oleksiy Pecherov No. 4 7-0, 234 – PF/C: The guy Washington once had high hopes for that was thrown into the Miller/Foye for #5 deal the day before the draft, the Wolves would really just like to see any signs of live from “Pech.” Again its not like we don’t have 26 other bigs who can play for us if he continues not to impress.

As for the rest of our summer league roster with only one roster spot there isn’t too much hope for to make the team this year. That fact is especially disappointing for a guy like Ben Woodside who if he has a nice summer league, like say teammate Bobby Brown did a year ago, he could have been a nice 3rd point guard for the Wolves this year had they needed one. The one player I don’t hope takes up too many minutes is the Bobcats Gerald Henderson. Did they send cash with him to get us to let him be on our team? It seems weird otherwise why the Wolves might give him a home for the week especially when we could be trying out wings of our own to add with our last roster spot.

I’ll be live-tweeting the game tonight and should have a short analysis here as well for everyone that doesn’t feel like shelling out the $15 for some mock-NBA action this week.