Wolves prepare for NBA summer league
MINNEAPOLIS — The Timberwolves announced their final 19-man roster for this year's Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday afternoon. The team traveled to Las Vegas on Sunday in advance of its Monday evening game against the Clippers.
Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson headline a roster that features five players with NBA experience. Williams and Johnson are the only two players from last season's Timberwolves roster to participate; Malcolm Lee will sit the games out in order to work on his strength and conditioning after he underwent December knee surgery and missed much of last season.
Other notable names on the Timberwolves' roster include Robbie Hummel, the team's second-round draft pick, and William Buford, an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State. Garrett Stutz, another undrafted rookie, attended Wichita State and worked out for the Timberwolves this spring. The remainder of the roster comprises Jet Chang, Papa Dia, Lior Eliyahu, Tony Easley, Zabian Dowdell, Corey Fisher, Mike Harris, Coby Karl, Sylven Landesberg, Lamont Mack, Luke Nevill, Paulo Prestes, Luke Sikma and Kammron Taylor.
Only two players who attended last weekend's minicamp are not on the roster: Lee and Gary Johnson. The players traveling to Las Vegas range in age from 21 (Williams) to 29 (Harris), and many of the older players have spent the majority of their careers overseas and in the D-League. Summer league allows them to gain experience against younger NBA players and to play in front of scouts and coaches from around the league. The games are important less so for the score than for the individual performances of draft picks and even last year's rookies, who lacked normal offseasons during their first summers in the league.
In 2011, summer league was cancelled due to the NBA lockout, so last year's rookies did not get a chance to participate. In 2010, the Timberwolves' summer league roster featured current NBA players Wayne Ellington, Jonny Flynn, Lazar Hayward, Johnson, Jeremy Pargo and Greg Stiemsma. Ellington and Johnson both remain with the Timberwolves, and Hayward made the roster but was traded to Oklahoma City before the 2011-12 season. Flynn was also traded, during the 2011 NBA Draft to Houston, and he now plays for the Trail Blazers. Neither Stiemsma nor Pargo played a regular season game for the Timberwolves, but Stiemsma caught on in Boston and has met with the Timberwolves about a contract this offseason. Pargo now plays for the Grizzlies.
In 2009, the roster included Corey Brewer, Ellington, Flynn, Gerald Henderson and Garret Siler, who are all still in the league. Brewer was traded during the 2010-11 season and now plays in Denver, and Henderson had a breakout season in 2012 with the Bobcats. Siler played for Phoenix in 2012 before being waived, but he'll be in Las Vegas this summer on the Wizards' summer league team.
Going back as far as 2008, the roster names look even less familiar; Brewer and Kevin Love are the only noteworthy names. In fact, the team didn't feature a player with more than one year of league experience; this year's team will boast three.
The Timberwolves will play five games in Las Vegas: Monday against the Clippers, Tuesday against the Bobcats, Thursday against the Cavaliers, Saturday against the NBA D-League Select Team and Sunday against the Grizzlies. All five of the games will be televised on NBA TV.
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