Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves concluded their NBA preseason last Wednesday versus the Bucks. In two games, the TWolves went undefeated (both against Milwaukee). We got to see sixteen different Timberwolves players put their skills to the test, to try and prove they belong in Adelman's 9-10 man rotation.
Today, we'll take a look at how our guards did this preseason.
As of today, the Timberwolves' roster now stands at fifteen after Minnesota waived veteran guard Bonzi Wells--who was looking to make an NBA comeback after a three-year hiatus from the League.
The guards under contract are as follows: Luke Ridnour (PG), Ricky Rubio (G), J.J. Barea (G), Malcolm Lee (G), Wesley Johnson (G-F), Wayne Ellington (SG)
Let's take a look at how our guards did this preseason...
LUKE RIDNOUR: 20pts, 1reb, 7ast, 2stls, 3fls, 4tos, 8-for-17 (47%) FG, 2-for-4 (50%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 2 games--49 minutes as a starter
--Luke was the starter in both preseason games, but I wouldn't expect that to last much longer. I believe he'll be the starter on opening day, but eventually Ricky will take over as the starter. Ridnour did all right. But, ultimately he's a role player and a mentor. He's a great three-point shooter, free-throw shooter and is solid at layups and floaters in the lane.
RICKY RUBIO: 6pts, 6rebs, 7ast, 2stls, 1fl, 1to, 1-for-4 (25%) FG, 0-for-1 (0%) 3PT, 4-for-4 (100%) FT, in 1 game--24 minutes off the bench
--An ankle injury early in the first game, allowed us to only see Rubio in one game this preseason. He sat out the second as a precaution to be sure he'd be ready for the opener vs. Oklahoma City on Monday. In those 24 minutes during game one, we saw some great passes, solid defense and even some rebounding from the young guard. His scoring was less than impressive, but that's ultimately not his game. If he averages 8pts, 10ast, 4rebs & 1stl a game as a starter this season, he'll be exactly what the TWolves need out of their point guard.
J.J. BAREA: 14pts, 3rebs, 6ast, 3fls, 3tos, 5-for-10 (50%) FG, 2-for-3 (67%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 1 game--26 minutes off the bench
--Another point guard, a champion, a leader, a veteran presence. He'll be a great guard off the bench for the Wolves this season--and when we saw that Rubio--Barea backcourt it was surprisingly effective and it was a disappoint we couldn't see it in the second game, however like Rubio, Barea was out with a minor thigh injury--he should also be good to go for the opener on Monday.
MALCOLM LEE: 12pts, 5rebs, 5ast, 3fls, 4tos, 2stls, 4-for-7 (57%) FG, 1-for-1 (100%) 3PT, 3-for-4 (75%) FT, in 2 games--28 minutes off the bench
--We didn't see much of Lee in the first game, with all guards healthy. However, in the second game he played 24 minutes as the main backup point guard behind Luke Ridnour. The second round pick rookie may not get a lot of time at the point guard this season, however at 6-5 he's got the length and quickness to play the shooting guard as well and could very well eat up a lot of time while competing with Johnson & Ellington for minutes (two players who weren't spectacular during the preseason). The coaching staff has liked what they've seen from Lee and I must admit--in the game on Wednesday--so did I!
WESLEY JOHNSON: 10pts, 10rebs, 2ast, 2stls, 2fls, 2tos, 3-for-9 (33%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) 3PT, 3-for-4 (75%) FT, in 2 games--42 minutes (1st as starter--2nd off the bench)
--If it wasn't clear that Wesley should play small forward full-time rather than shooting guard, his preseason performance showed he just looked lost out on the court. Johnson played over 40 minutes and could only muster 10pts?! He's an athletic player, but as a rookie last year--this year he's already 24-years-old (almost 25). He could be a solid role player on this team, even though they're loaded with forwards. Hopefully Adelman will be able to continue to mold him into a solid shooting guard, but I didn't like what I saw. Will he be the starting shooting guard come Monday's opener? The Wolves don't really have any other options.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: 13pts, 2rebs, 1ast, 1blk, 2fls, 1to, 4-for-10 (40%) FG, 3-for-4 (75%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 2 games--33 minutes (1st off the bench--2nd as a starter)
--Ellington is a great shooter, a hard worker, who does anything the coaching staff asks of him, however, I don't see him grabbing too much time with all these guards. Guys like Barea & Lee (besides Wes) will take up a lot of time at the two-guard. Ellington is a good prospect, however in Adelman's 9-10 man rotation--he seems to be the odd-guard out. I could be wrong though--we'll have to wait and see (of course injuries could change this as well).
BONZI WELLS: 3pts, 4rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 5fls, 2tos, 1-for-7 (14%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) FT, in 2 games--25 minutes off the bench
--That stat line doesn't exactly look NBA material to me, that's obviously the reason he didn't make the team. Bonzi was attempting to make an NBA comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he didn't look very good out there in the two preseason games he had. Adelman had said he can definitely still play, he just wasn't sure he'd be able to play for Minnesota. I'm not sure if he'll be able to hook up with another team, unless of course he decides to play in the D-League to really show he still CAN play. I really hope he can hop on with a team at some point this season..but chances do seem slim.
One of the biggest questions for the Wolves moving into the season is who will be the starting shooting guard and/or who will take up the most time at that position. As well as, will Adelman be able to allocate time between four different point guards (especially Rubio, Barea & Ridnour) evenly? The opening week could answer a lot of these questions.
That's all for now, stay tuned for the Forward Preseason Analysis coming soon! As well as the center & a gameday preview for the Dec. 26th opener vs. Oklahoma City before tipoff on Monday. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
A TWolves fan, bringing you the daily updates.