It has been all but official for several weeks now, but yesterday the Timberwolves made their signing of ex-Celtics’ center Greg Stiemsma official, signing the 6’11, 26 year old journeyman to a two year contract, only one year of which is guaranteed. Stiemsma averaged 13.9 minutes per game last season for the Celtics, and averaged 7.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. Filling in for various injured players, Stiemsma started 3 games for Boston last year.
Stiemsma is, of course, far from a franchise changing player. He is, rather, a decent, big defender off the bench who blocks a LOT of shots (seriously, 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes?) and can replace Darko Milicic with better offensive production (13.6 PER to 9.0 last season) and twice the passion. It should be mentioned, of course, that the reason Stiemsma’s offensive production was better than Darko’s last year was at least partially because he was playing with an All-Star point guard with incredible court vision in Rajon Rondo. It should also be mentioned that he is about to be playing with a potential All-Star point guard with comparable court vision in Ricky Rubio. So while Stiemsma won’t be a scoring threat off the bench, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his production continue to stay at the same level.
Stiemsma’s signing helps the Wolves defensively as well. The Wolves best shot blocker was, unfortunately, Milicic, as Nikola Pekovic, for all of his positive attributes (wide, strong body, good instincts), has average length and vertical leap. Stiemsma doesn’t have extreme athleticism or length either, but he has excellent timing defensively, and his addition will help shore up the Wolves defense close to the rim.He struggled at times with rotations in the complex Celtics’ defensive system, but part of that can be attributed to a lack of familiarity, given that he arrived just last year and Boston barely practiced during the season in an attempt to save old legs from undue stress.
But while all of that is important, none of that is as fun as the fact that Stiemsma is just, well, fun. He works hard, he always gives a crap, and he’s eminently coachable. Sure, his signing contributes to the “EVERY TIMBERWOLF IS WHITE!” meme, but I think I speak for most T-Wolves people on Twitter when I say “Meh.” That meme is played out and white or not, the Wolves have vastly improved themselves in this offseason. So kudos, Mr. Kahn. A tip of the Abercrombie and Fitch baseball cap to you.
Plus, Stiemsma’s signing comes with the added bonus of having the best quote of the summer. From several sources:
“It feels good to be wanted,” Stiemsma said. ”It feels good to have all your hard work pay off.”
I repeat: “It feels good to be wanted.” Greg Stiemsma has all of your D’AWWWWs.