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Jarrett Culver Won't Play At 2019 Summer League, And That's OK

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Jarrett Culver will not play in 2019 Summer League in Las Vegas.

I know, as a Wolves fan that’s disappointing. You’d rather see the No. 6 pick in the draft play than not, but given the situation that Culver couldn’t join the Wolves until July 6 after a draft-day trade with the Suns, it’s a weird situation.

When you hear Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas discuss why Culver won’t play, you have to feel better.

“We’d love for him to play here, but realistically, he’s too important to us,” Rosas said in Las Vegas. “The way things are, not having the chance to do the full training camp with our team and not having played five on five in such a long time. He’s too important. He’s doing practices and doing individual work but for him and for us we decided the best thing was to have him not participate.”

Culver has been getting work outs in with his future teammates. After arriving in Las Vegas late on Saturday night, Culver worked out with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns on Sunday morning. The next morning, Culver was working out with Summer League players, getting some four-on-four work in.

For Culver, to finally be on the Wolves (and able to talk about it), it’s a relief. 

“Yeah, in a way it’s difficult, but I can control what I can control,” Culver said when addressing the media for the first time as a member of the team in Las Vegas. “So, at the end of the day I just stay in the gym and make sure I’m in shape and stay working on my craft.”

We’ve seen the importance of wings in this league, and you might look at the Wolves roster and see a crowded position group, but that’s by design. Rosas envisions this team with a point guard, three wings and a center. Culver also showed us at Texas Tech that he can handle the ball.

“He played some point guard at Texas Tech, so I see him fitting in perfectly with that,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. “That’s one of the reasons that I think Gersson and I have a very similar thinking throughout we learned, we had a very similar thinking throughout this whole process. That’s how I like to play, things like that, ways like that, where we can put the ball on the floor. You got KAT who obviously commands a lot of attention, and then you like to have a point guard, but you know, having a guy like Andrew Wiggins or Jared bringing the ball to the floor, it’s not a bad thing.”

The more versatility, the better. 

For Culver, the fact that the Wolves traded up for him (it wasn’t a huge surprise considering the team showed interest in the pre-draft process) meant a lot to him.

“That kind of speaks volume to me and how much they wanted me and you know I’m just thankful for the opportunity at the end of the day,” Culver said. “So them just doing that and making that move, it’s a great opportunity for me.”

What are the next steps for Culver?

He’ll continue to work out with the team in Las Vegas, getting acclimated with their style of play. 

We all think some of these players can just grab a ball and go play. While that’s probably true for Culver, it’s also worth noting that these guys aren’t playing much organized basketball after they wrap up their college seasons. It’s a lot of work on individual drills and non-basketball drills to get your body ready.

Summer League is an important thing, but also a pretty small chapter for players. It’s not worth risking Culver’s health, and while that is a bummer for fans, it’s also the right move.

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