No two-ways about it, rookie Martin shining in recent stint with Wolves

With an established star and several young talents to build around, the Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to establish themselves as a playoff contender once again.

From established players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to newcomers like Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, we’re taking a weekly look at the present, and future, of the Wolves.

Each Thursday we’ll also track the progress of the Iowa Wolves standouts who might be of help to the Wolves in the future, or a current member of Minnesota’s roster.

This is the third edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker.

Spotlight on …

Guard Kelan Martin

Martin might not be going back down to Iowa any time soon.

The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Martin to a two-way contract in early August. The guard made his NBA debut Oct. 25, was inactive for the next nine games and returned to action Nov. 15.

Martin got on the floor late during blowout losses to Washington and Houston last week. But over the last two games, a home-and-home series with Utah, the rookie has proved he might have something to offer in head coach Ryan Saunders’ new offensive system — and not just in garbage time.

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Martin poured in a career-best 14 points in 24 minutes during Minnesota’s 112-102 win over Utah on Monday, as the Timberwolves handed the Jazz their first loss at home. Martin shot 6 of 7 from the floor and added six rebounds.

The former Butler star followed it up with 10 points, seven rebounds and his first career block against the Jazz in Minnesota’s loss Wednesday night.

One thing Martin has shown is he’s not afraid to chuck up 3s. The rookie missed his first 11 career attempts from 3-point range before nailing 4 of 8 over the past two games. It appears he’s found the shooting touch that helped him finish as the second-leading scorer and fourth-best 3-point shooter (224 makes) in Butler program history.

After a four-year career at Butler, one that saw him gain recognition as an honorable mention All-American and a two-time All-Big East selection, Martin wasn’t selected in the 2018 draft. He opted to play last season in Germany’s top basketball league, where he averaged 13.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 27 games for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

Minnesota gave Martin a chance on its Summer League roster, where he posted 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in seven games. It was enough to earn one of the Timberwolves’ two-way deals.

As a two-way player, Martin can only spend 45 days with the Timberwolves this season.


— First-round pick Jarrett Culver has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games. He also posted a career-high three blocks against Utah on Monday.

— Second-round pick Jaylen Nowell leads G League Iowa in scoring at 20.5 points per game. The rookie Nowell, who shot 44.0% from 3-point range at Washington last season, has sunk 13 of 30 attempts from downtown for the G League Wolves (43.3%) through four games.

— Nowell and Lindell Wigginton drained seven 3-pointers apiece in Iowa’s 129-105 victory over the South Bay Lakers on Wednesday night.

— Those two weren’t the only players in the organization to knock down 3s. Karl-Anthony Towns splashed seven of his own 3s Monday in Utah, tying a career best.