Shabazz Muhammad erupted for 27 points in the Wolves first Summer League game, but only played 15 minutes Sunday as he sat out with ankle soreness.
NBAE/Getty Images

Positives Persist Amid Summer League Loss To Wizards

Dane Mizutani
Web Editorial Assistant

Email / Twitter

There hasn’t been much to be excited about looking at the box scores of the Wolves first two Summer League games — a pair of games, a pair of losses.

A little deeper look at the way the games have played out, however, should have some a bit more optimistic.

Though every player on the Summer League roster made it very clear that the goal is to win as many games as possible in Las Vegas after second straight loss Sunday — this time a 67-59 loss to the Washington Wizards — there are some promising takeaways from the action.  

Zach LaVine looks the part of a point guard — or at least as another competent ball handler. Shabazz Muhammad has translated his effort from Summer League practice to game situations. Gorgui Dieng has dominated in the post when given the chance to shine. Glenn Robinson III seems to be coming along nicely in his first taste of NBA action. And other fringe roster players have stepped up and played well in certain situations through the first two days of competition.

So there were some positives.

Those positives were all evident in the Wolves loss to the Wizards on Sunday night. It definitely wasn’t the prettiest game — most aren’t during Summer League play — but there were flashes where things looked pretty good.

LaVine only finished with 11 points Sunday night, but looked more than comfortable as the primary ball handler on the team. He ran the point a majority of the time he was on the floor and flashed his speed and athleticism all game. LaVine got a little out of control at times, but showed his aggressiveness getting to the charity stripe 10 times.

Alexey Shved actually led the team in scoring with 16 points, but he turned the ball over four times and was exposed on the defensive end as Glen Rice Jr. lit him up for 22 points in the game.

Though there were some positives in the game, it’s impossible to overlook the poor effort on the offensive end. Minnesota shot just 32 percent from the floor and didn’t support a relatively strong effort from its defense. The Wizards led for most of the game Sunday night and still managed to pull away late even though they only scored 10 points in the final frame.

The Wolves fell into a groove in the second quarter and took the lead a few different times, but they never scored more than 21 points in a quarter and that made a late comeback difficult. They hung around for most of the contest, but never mounted a serious comeback attempt. 

Minnesota is still guaranteed at least three more games in Las Vegas. There will no doubt be more growth in that timespan — really the point of Summer League — but some wins would be nice, too.

View Game Highlights and Box Score

THE NUMBERS GAME

  • Shabazz Muhammad only played 15 minutes on the night as he dealt with a case of ankle soreness after halftime. He never returned to the game after the break, but it doesn’t appear to be an injury that will keep him out too long. 
  • Minnesota only got 11 points from its bench players Sunday night — Matt Janning had 7 points and Kyrylo Fesenko had 4 points.
  • Glenn Robinson III played 25 minutes and only finished with 8 points but 2 of those points came on a thunderous putback dunk. He showed the ability to create his own shot against Washington. Now he has to find a way to convert on those attempts.
  • The Wolves scored 26 points less than they did in their 93-85 loss against the Dallas Mavericks to open up Summer League competition. Minnesota only scored 26 points after halftime and only had 3 players in double figures.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Wolves will play their third Summer League game on Tuesday at 3:30 PM CT against the Chicago Bulls. That game can be viewed online with an NBA Summer League subscription.

While teams are guaranteed five games during the Summer League tournament, the Wolves play over the first three games will determine  where they play in the bracket portion of the Summer League circuit. Stay connected to all the action at Timberwolves.com.