Breaking down the Wolves in 2018 NBA Las Vegas Summer League
FOX Sports North
The Minnesota Timberwolves' finished 3-2 in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League, and much like their record there were some ups and downs with player performances, with the offense generally lacking but the defense -- a Tom Thibodeau staple -- ramped up.
The bad news was that Justin Patton, last year's top pick who missed most of the season with an injury, was unable to participate. However, both of Minnesota's draft picks from 2018 played -- although top pick Josh Okogie missed the final game -- and the Wolves got a look at some other players
So how did they do? Did any players make an impression? Let's delve in a little deeper into the Wolves' summer-league results.
Most valuable player: Amile Jefferson
Jefferson keeps putting himself on Minnesota's radar. After getting a two-way contract and eventually a full deal last season, Jefferson was the top player on the Wolves' summer team. His 12.6 rebounds per game led the summer league and, on a somewhat offensively challenged roster, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 8.6 points per game while shooting a team-high (among regulars) 45.2 percent from the field. Jefferson also led Wolves regulars with a 17.9 player efficiency rating (PER) and his 100.7 offensive rating (ORtg) was second on the team.
Most surprising player: Isaiah Cousins
A couple of years removed from being a second-round draft pick by Sacramento, Cousins has yet to play a regular-season NBA games, spending the past two seasons in the G League with a handful of games in France in 2018 as well. The 6-4 combo guard wasn't exactly on the "must watch" list of young players on the roster. However, all Cousins did was lead the Wolves in assists (3.2), finish third in points (9.4), tied for third in steals (1.4) and fourth in minutes (21.4). In addition, he had a 16-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio, a 17.8 PER (second on the team, just .1 behind Jefferson) and a 98.2 ORtg (third on Wolves). Cousins went out on a high note -- perhaps capturing an NBA team's attention -- with 12 points, six assists, four rebounds nad three steals in Minnesota's final game.
Best flash of potential: Keita Bates-Diop
You could easily make the case for first-round pick Okogie, who averaged 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks, but he shot just 29.8 percent from the field. Bates-Diop did a little bit of everything as well. He led the Wolves in points (14.8), was second in rebounds (7.4) and steals (1.6) and also had 1.2 blocks per game. Bates-Diop shot 39.7 percent from the field and had a good 85.2 defensive rating.
Considering he's a second-round pick with no guarantees of being on the regular-season roster, Bates-Diop gets the nod here for his overall performance, which belied his draft standing
Underdog worth watching: Jared Terrell
Here's one big reason to keep an eye on Terrell, a 6-3 guard who went undrafted after four years at Rhode Island --- the Timberwolves signed him to a two-way contract on July 5. That doesn't mean we'll be seeing himin Minnesota this season, but he has an early leg up. Terrell started all five games for Minnesota this summer, averaging a respectable 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds. While he struggled from long range, Terrell made 53.3 percent of his 2-point attempts.
Dark horse candidate: Charles Cooke
Cooke was on Minnesota's summer team last year, too, when we labeled him the team's most surprising player. The fact that Cooke was back with the Wolves could be a good sign as far as their interest in him, but he played fewer minutes this go-around. Still, Cooke shot 44.8 percent from the field, made 10 of 12 free-throw attempts, averaged 7.6 points per game and his 16.8 PER was third-best on the Wolves. He also now has some NBA experience, appearing in 13 games for New Orleans last season after signing a two-way contract. Maybe he's in line for one with Minnesota one day, too.