T-Wolf Rank: #12: Greg Stiemsma

Greg Stiemsma may have trouble getting off the bench for the Timberwolves.

This is the second post in a series here on Howlin’ T-Wolf ranking the Timberwolves roster player-by-player. Ideally, Derek, Tom or Jonah will post a new player everyday for 13 days. As always, you can follow Jonah (@howlintwolf) Derek (@DerekJamesNBA) and Tom (@Tom_NBA) on Twitter as well.

Jonah accused me of being likely to gush over Greg Stiemsma, probably because I love the Celtics and Stiemsma provided some surprisingly solid minutes for the C’s last season. But I promise to keep my gushing to a bare minimum (seriously!).

A list of Greg Stiemsma’s best basketball qualities:

  • He’s very tall.
  • He has excellent defensive timing, leading to some crazy shot-blocking numbers (seriously, 4.0 per 36 minutes last year? Absurd.)
  • He shot 54% from the field last year, which is serviceable, but also largely useless, since he only averaged two shots per game.
  • Did I mention that he’s tall?

None of these traits are mind-blowing, by any means. Certainly, the Timberwolves will be well-served having a better shot-blocker on the roster, particularly one not named Darko Milicic (also: someone who might actually give a crap). But Stiemsma’s only position is center, meaning that whenever he is in, Nikola Pekovic, who is much more productive, will be out.

This is the dilemma of Stiemsma, and it’s really not much of a dilemma. It’s much more important to play a productive player than it is to play an unproductive player who might prevent the opposing team from being productive. And honestly, aside from his shot-blocking, Stiemsma isn’t an elite defensive presence. He had a very high defensive rating, but much of that was a byproduct of the team he played for. He got lost on rotations too often, and he certainly isn’t an elite athlete (let’s be honest: you knew that by looking at him).

But I don’t mean to be crapping all over the Stiemer, either. He’s a fun player, even if the fun is somewhat ironic (sort of like a new-school, even taller version of Brian Scalabrine). He tries really hard, even if he isn’t always very good. He DOES block a ton of shots, and the lack of a defensive presence in the paint really hurt the Wolves last season. So maybe he will have more of an impact than I’m anticipating.

He also had my favorite quote of the summer (as I mentioned back in my reaction to the Stiemsma signing):

“It feels good to be wanted,” Stiemsma said. ”It feels good to have all your hard work pay off.”

I don’t know how well Stiemsma will play this season, but I can tell you this: it will feel good to cheer for him.

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Stiemsma is no star, but he's certainly a very solid backup behind Nikola Pekovic.  I loved watching him in Boston--he was all heart and balls.  At 27, his playing days will soon be over, but at least he is getting his just due.