What Timberwolves Fans Should Watch For In Summer League

Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves basketball is finally back! Kinda. The Summer League starts July 7. It is our chance to see the rookies and some old friends get as much usage as necessary for their development in the Summer League atmosphere. Last year, Jaden McDaniels and Jaylen Nowell benefitted from getting some extra reps on the offensive side of the ball against some competition. It is the perfect setting for those players to work on their game in an open environment while still playing competitive games. Many of the players in Vegas are looking to show that they deserve a spot in the league.

Can Leandro Bolmaro become a reliable 3-point shooter?

Bolmaro has fallen back under the radar after a complicated rookie season. The second-year forward earned rotational minutes, but he struggled, and the Wolves occasionally sent him down to the G-League for more reps. Despite the rough stint in Minneapolis, he was still able to put his skills on display in Des Moines. Bolmaro averaged 17 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game on 40/38.7/100 splits in four games with the Iowa Wolves. Bolmaro made an impact in the NBA despite his rookie woes. His goal should be to help the team however he can and show that he can impact multiple facets of the game.

Bolmaro has an all-around game and can easily develop into a role player who can do a little bit of everything for the team. He can handle the ball well enough. Bolmaro doesn’t have enough handle to be a secondary ball-handler, but it never hurts to have another player with ball skills. He can facilitate to others off of this, and he has shown more willingness to shoot threes. Bolmaro’s 6’6” frame allows him to be flexible at small forward and gives him even more leeway in his NBA future.

Bolmaro should show us that he’s improved his 3-point shot in this Summer League. His mechanics were out of sorts last year, and he often had ugly misses, shooting 5-18 (27.8%).

The Wolves should give Bolmaro the green light to get more shots up and lots of reps on the ball, increasing his chances of improving upon this. Ultimately, a lot of it comes down to Bolmaro’s sense of urgency and if he can improve upon his shooting mechanics. Bolmaro has plenty to prove as he moves into his second season with the Wolves.

How NBA-ready are the rookies?

The next up on the agenda is the rookies. Wendell Moore Jr. and Walker Kessler should be able to move into the rotation this season, and Summer League is a chance for us to get an early look at their strengths. Josh Minott is worth watching as well, given his athleticism and size. He should also benefit from extended playing time after an up and down year at Memphis.

It will take time for us to see Matteo Spagnolo‘s potential because the Wolves have stashed him overseas. It’s still a great pick because they don’t want to bring over as many rookies. He is still 19 and averaged 12.2 points per game on 44/44.1/86.1 splits in the Italian Lega Serie A this past season, so he will be one to keep an eye on professionally. However, he likely will not be with the Summer League team.

Can Wendell Moore hit NBA threes?

Moore should have a direct impact on the success of the team. I am most interested to see how he will shoot the ball. Moore shot 40% from three this past season at Duke. He also showed the ability to get to a spot in the mid-range off the dribble if need be. In Vegas, he should have plenty of opportunity to do both.

He’s also capable of handling the ball effectively and playing as the point-of-attack defender, which should translate well in the Summer League games.

What will Walker Kessler bring offensively?

Kessler will be one of the most intriguing players to monitor because of his massive frame. He will not have to worry about fouls because players are granted ten in Summer League games until they foul out. Kessler put up intriguing stats at Auburn. He averaged 4.6 blocks, tied for first in college basketball, and 2.6 fouls in 25.6 minutes per game.

It will be interesting to see how willing he is to shoot threes. Kessler took a lot of threes in high school, and he went 10-50 this past season at Auburn. He has very slow mechanics. If he could find a way to iron out the shot more as a pro, Kessler has a lot more upside on the offensive side and could be part of more lineup combinations.

Will we see Josh Minott’s athleticism on full display?

Finally, Minott comes in with no real expectations. He’s a young, springy forward with a lot of work to do. Minott should be able to give us some nice dunks here and there and show a good ability as a cutter. Keep an eye out for him. He will take some time to develop and iron out his skills, but his raw traits of athleticism make him worthwhile to develop within an NBA program.

It’s not make or break for any of these players. Each of them is working on specific things during Summer League and developing chemistry with the other players on the roster. Their goal is just to make the most of the opportunity in front of us and show that they can eventually become an impact player in the NBA.

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