The Importance Of Cutting And More From The Final Day In Mankato

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager


When you look at this Timberwolves roster, there are a lot of players who do a very good job of moving without the ball.

Two of those players who stick out the most are wings Josh Okogie and Jake Layman. Okogie was incredibly active as a rookie and while he’s trying to pick his battles as far at energy exertion is concerned, with the Wolves pushing the pace more, there should be more opportunities for players moving without the ball to get rewarded.  

“The way we’re playing, we’re just playing off what the defense gives us,” Okogie said. “A lot of times, teams are going to double team KAT and try to help towards Jeff (Teague) so there’s going to be a lot more opportunities to cut.” 

Last year especially, we saw plenty of backdoor cuts to Layman via Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland. So far in camp, Layman has been impressive with his cuts, but there is a craft to it.

“Being able to read your man,” Layman said on what the key to cutting is. “When he turns his head, to (know) to cut behind him. Reading the defense, seeing where they’re shifting and stuff like that.” 

Yesterday, we talked a lot about movement on the defensive end. I’d also expect for this offense to be a pretty active unit.  

How Many Positions Can Bell Guard?

So far in camp, Jordan Bell has taken the challenge of guarding anyone and everyone. He can for surely guard the 3, 4 and 5, but in camp, he’s also done his fair share of guarding perimeter players.

“I mean, yesterday we were doing a pick and roll drill and we had smalls guarding the ball and bigs guarding the bigs and he came out to guard a small and I told him to go with the bigs and he said ‘no, I got this,’ and he defended the drill,” Coach Ryan Saunders said. “That’s when we weren’t switching . . . It’s something that was really impressive.”

The Best Lasagna In The Land

On Tuesday night, players, coaching staff, the basketball ops department and members of the business side of the Timberwolves were invited to Glen and Becky Taylor’s house in Mankato to take part in the annual lasagna dinner. 

Becky provided our content team leftovers, and let me tell you, the rumors are true. It’s awesome. 

For a guy like rookie Jarrett Culver, it was a learning moment for him to learn about the Taylor family. 

“It was a special moment for us and our team,” Culver said. “To be able to go to his house and it’s good team bonding as well, just to learn about Glen and his experience and how he became the owner and stuff like that. Him telling his story, I feel like that was good for us.”

Quick hits

  • There were about 100 high school coaches in attendance at practice. The high school basketball scene in Minnesota is something that’s extremely important to Saunders. 
  • The team headed back to Minneapolis after practice. They’ll practice back at Mayo Clinic Square on Thursday.

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