Wolves Handle Nuggets In Summer League Scrimmage, 75-64

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Minnesota Timberwolves spent their off day on Wednesday at the UNLV men’s basketball training facility competing in a scrimmage against the Denver Nuggets. All Summer League rules applied, equipped with on-site referees officiating the game, and the Timberwolves walked away with a 75-64 victory.

No statistics were recorded in the scrimmage, but the vast majority of the Wolves’ 19-man roster got playing time in the event. Robbie Hummel and Luke Sikma both had strong showings offensively, as did guard Kammron Taylor.

For many of the Summer League players, each day is a chance to showcase their skills not only for the team they’re currently playing for but also for other organizations who might be watching. That’s why even in a non-official game setting Wednesday’s game was up-tempo and had a regular Summer League matchup feel to it.

“You never know when you’re going to get your chance on the floor, but what I’m trying to do is make sure that I’ve got guys in place on the floor, make sure I’m running the team,” Taylor said. “Just staying ready at all times, because you never know when your name’s going to be called.”

Taylor, a Minneapolis native who played for the University of Wisconsin, has spent much of the past five years playing overseas and is hoping he can make his mark here in Las Vegas this week. He started Monday’s game against the Clippers and had a strong showing offensively both scoring-wise and leading the offense at the point on Wednesday.

“Going against my teammates and just getting a chance to go against guys who actually play in the NBA is going to make me a better player,” Taylor said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to help the Wolves out next season, so we’ll see.”

Another Big Ten connection got significant minutes on the floor Wednesday. William Buford, the sharp-shooter from Ohio State, put together a strong showing offensively at the scrimmage.

It was Buford’s first minutes of the Summer League season—he didn’t play in the team’s first two games—but the undrafted shooting guard made the most of his time on the court.

He said he’s made the most of his time with the Wolves watching guys like Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson up close.

“Just watching the older guys, Derrick and Wes, just watching those guys—seeing how they approach the game and just learning from them because they’re in the league,” Buford said. “I’m seeing what I can take from their game.”

Others who got significant playing time were Lior Eliyahu—whose draft rights came over from Houston in the Chase Budinger deal—as well as Ohio State’s William Buford and BYU-Hawaii’s Jet Chang.

Johnson did not participate in the scrimmage after tweaking his ankle in Tuesday’s game against the Bobcats. He is not expected to play in Thursday’s Summer League game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, either. Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried and Wolves forward Derrick Williams also did not play in the scrimmage.

Heading into Thursday, the Wolves now have a few more guys on their roster who have NBA minutes under their belts. Both the team and the individuals will likely benefit the rest of the week from those extra minutes.

“It’s a great experience,” Buford said. “Being with a whole bunch of different guys, just learning about people and it’s a great opportunity for me to be down here. For the Timberwolves to give me this opportunity is a blessing.”

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