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5 Things We Learned At Las Vegas Summer League

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager


1.    Matt Costello Was The Team’s Summer League MVP

In four Summer League games, power forward/center Matt Costello averaged 11.3 points and a tournament-high 12 rebounds per game. He missed one game due to food poisoning.

As far as effort was concerned, Costello’s was obvious throughout the entire time in Las Vegas. Costello, a former Michigan State standout, played 23 games for the Iowa Energy last season and averaged 9.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. With the Timberwolves now owning the Iowa squad, we’ll see if Costello earned himself a possible two-way contract or a roster spot with the Iowa Wolves.

“I’m just trying to prove out there that I can be  team guy,” Costello said. “I know anywhere I’m going, I’m not going to be Jimmy Butler . . . But I can come in and do my role.”

2.    Charles Cooke Impressed

Speaking of guys who played well in Vegas . . . Cooke was a guy who looked completely natural for the Wolves and didn’t force anything, something that’s quite common for a bunch of players trying to prove their worth. The wing averaged 10 points per game and had Timberwolves Summer League head coach Ryan Saunders praising him after the team’s win over the Denver Nuggets.

“He has a good way about him,” Saunders said. “He’s just kind of smooth and he’s able to put the ball on the floor but he’s also able to shoot the ball. He’s an intelligent player.”

3.    Perry Ellis Has Range

Former Kansas star Perry Ellis showed off his range throughout the tournament. There were times when Saunders would line Ellis up in the corner and if his man left to double the penetrator, Ellis would be open for three.

I guess maybe that shouldn’t be a huge surprise considering Ellis shot 43.8 percent from deep during his senior year in college, but that was on just 1.7 attempts per game. Ellis knows that if he wants a chance in the NBA, the ability to hit from deep is huge.

4.    Ryan Saunders Has Fashion

Saunders won the fashion game among coaches at Summer League. Maybe among all of humans, too. Then again, winning a fashion contest in Vegas isn’t the hardest thing to do.

But Saunders was rocking joggers, no socks, some crisp shoes and a tucked in polo buttoned up to the top. Real recognize real.

5.    The NBA Game Is So Much Different

Obviously college to Summer League is a huge difference. But it’s apparent at Summer League just how different it is from the NBA. That seems obvious, but it’s always worth a reminder to pump the brakes on when a young player tears up Summer League. We saw it last season with Kris Dunn and while Dunn was solid defensively in his rookie season, the offensive success didn’t translate. While there is plenty to take away from Summer League, it’s always best to take its happenings with a grain of salt.