Jake Layman Has Earned This Opportunity With The Wolves
Last season, for the first time in his career, we saw forward Jake Layman get an opportunity.
In his third season, Layman averaged a career-high 18.7 minutes per game, while starting 33 games, for the Blazers.
The Blazers were the third team in the West. These minutes weren’t a fluke. They were earned.
Earning minutes, respect, or whatever it is, isn’t new to Layman. He was drafted 47thoverall in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Maryland by the Magic only to be traded to the Blazers for cash considerations and a future draft pick.
In his first two seasons in the league, Layman appeared in 70 combined games and averaged 5.8 minutes per game.
It’s hard to showcase what you have in such a limited time. Not a whole lot of time to get into a rhythm or even break a sweat for that matter.
That all changed last season and Layman averaged 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from the 3-point line.
He hit double digits 22 times. He also scored 20 or more points in four games (the Blazers were 3-1 in those games).
So, what exactly does Layman bring to the Timberwolves?
He’s a player who can play either forward spot. He moves . . . like all the time. He’s the guy at pick-up ball that you don’t want to guard unless you’re trying to burn like 10,000 calories. Cut after cut after cut. Layman hustles and that gives him plenty of easy layups when opponents fall asleep.
And while Layman’s 3-point percentage might not jump off the screen, he’s a solid shooter and I’d be surprised if he didn’t improve in that category for the Wolves next season.
One thing that should help Layman’s transition to the Timberwolves is associate coach David Vanterpool. Vanterpool was an assistant coach for Layman during his three seasons in Portland.
“He’s been an unbelievable coach for me in Portland,” Layman said. “I’m excited to get a chance to work with him here as well. He was actually at my wedding, so it was nice to have him there and then spend that time with him. I mean, I’m excited, you know, he’s definitely a player’s coach for sure. He is very easy to approach, easy to talk to, always there to listen to whatever you have to say, so I’m excited for the guys here to experience that as well.”
We’ll see what type of role Layman plays with the Timberwolves next season. It appears as if he’ll get plenty of minutes off the bench and as a spot starter. At 25, Layman recognizes that last season was a good one for him, but there’s still plenty left to prove.
“I’m obviously a very young player too, so to be coming in here with all these young guys, it’s going to be a lot of fun for sure,” Layman said. “Everybody’s here to prove something, so it’s going to be a grind for training camp to fight for spots, so I’m excited for that.”