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Jaylen Nowell Is Ready To Earn His Spot With The Wolves

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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When Jaylen Nowell was drafted by the Timberwolves with the 43rd-overall pick, it was a surprise to him.

The Wolves never worked Nowell out, but sometimes that’s how it goes, especially with second-round picks. Teams sometimes try to hide what they think could be a gem. 

Nowell comes to the Wolves as shooting guard, who is also comfortable handling the ball. Defensively, he said he can guard any position and while that confidence is a wonderful thing, we’ll see about that.

The most impressive thing about Nowell, besides the fact that he shot 45 percent from the 3-point line last season with Washington, is his attitude.

As a second-round pick, Nowell will be fighting for a roster spot in training camp, and could very likely spend some time with the Iowa Wolves this season.

Just because he was drafted doesn’t mean the work is done. Nowell embraces that.

“I’m not coming in and expecting anything, this is a business world. Nothing is given,” Nowell said in a conference call a day after the draft. “So whatever is given to me it’s something that I’ve earned. I’m going to come in and work my hardest. Whatever happens, will happen. I’m really ready to just come in and play and make sure that we get as many wins as possible like I said. . . .I’m looking coming in and looking at these guys like brothers and being able to learn how to be a pro.”

Nowell has experience with those who have competed at the professional level. His dad, Mike, played in the CBA and earned himself a tryout with the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, he passed when Jaylen was just 15 after battling cancer at age 46.

Nowell also has relationships with Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy and Will Conroy, all staples in the Seattle basketball community. And ironically, all of those players also played for the Wolves.

Both Roy and Conroy played for Washington as well. Conroy is now an assistant coach and had been for Nowell’s two seasons there.

Nowell actually talked to Conroy after being drafted. 

We’ll see more of how Nowell’s game looks in July when he plays with the Wolves in Summer League. At the very minimum, Nowell has an NBA body to play multiple positions and he can shoot. That’s a really good place to start. 

“For us, he’s a very versatile player, he’s a guy that very early in his career has accomplished a lot,” Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said after the draft. “His ability to be Pac 12 Player of the Year as a young player on his team and his productivity from the perimeter, as a versatile player, a combo guy who also defends with his size and physical tools were very intriguing for us.” 

In this league, winning is hard. And the Wolves will go into the 2019-20 season with a new identity. Nowell is on board for anything he has to do, as long as it helps the team win.

“With me, all I really care about is winning,” Nowell said. “That’s all I want to do, win, win, win. So as long as I’m winning, stats don’t really matter to me."

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