Minnesota Timberwolves: Mitch Creek and Aussie grit

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Mitch Creek #55 of the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Mitch Creek #55 of the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the season with Aussie Mitch Creek on the roster. Let’s take a look at his long-term prospects in the league.

One could form an NBA roster solely made up of Australians currently under contract in the NBA.

Ben Simmons is the best of the bunch, followed by Joey Ingles, Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Thon Maker , Ryan Broekhoff, Mathew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Aron Baynes, Issac Humphries, plus recent signees Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia 76ers) and Deng Adel (Toronto Raptors).

Mitch Creek, who finished out the last couple weeks of the season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, may also be added to this list.

Now, all these players are completely different from one another. They have different skill-sets, play different roles and their talent also varies. Other than their nationality, the never-say-die attitude, gritty determination and complete lack of respect for any star player they are facing is pretty much a given for any Australian basketball player. (See: former Timberwolves guard Shane Heal and his shove on the Dream Team’s Charles Barkley after drilling several 3-pointers over him.)

Heal was primarily an end-of-the-bench player with the Wolves. And though Mitch doesn’t have the same skill set as Heal did, he most likely has a similar attitude to the game.

Mitch Creek: Next-up for Aussies in the NBA

Mitch Creek signed a 10-day contract on March 30 and was rewarded a roster spot for the remainder of the season, rounding out the Wolves’ 16-man roster.

Creek only appeared in one game for the Wolves, in which he scored six points in 12 minutes of court time. Previously, Creek averaged 11.9 points per game in his seven-game stint for BG Gottingen in the German league.

It’s always possible that the Wolves could sign him next year and give him a go. For instance, look no further than Utah’s Joey Ingles for an example of taking a chance on a little-known Aussie. He is now a starter and has more than proven his worth, causing annoyance on defense for the NBA’s elite, hitting threes and dishing assists.

Though Creek is not a 3-point shooter, his defense and athleticism should be considered. The 6-foot-5 guard has an impressive vertical leap, is lightning-fast and has a decent handle.

Here’s Creek as a 16-year-old.

Creek spent six seasons in Australia’s NBL with the Adelaide 36ers. The league is an eight-team group that plays with heavy contact yet is a highly skilled league. Plenty of NBA prospects have developed their game their and went on to have great careers, such as Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick and Al Harrington. Even Andrew Bogut, having returned to Australia to play for the Sydney Kings and was crowned MVP, was not able to take his team past the quarter finals, as the top four teams are too competitive.

Creek’s former team Adelaide, on the other hand, was victorious with him leading the team in points as captain when he was leading the way.

To sign or not to sign

Should the Wolves sign the Aussie? They could benefit from a high-energy guy coming off the bench, playing his heart out for a spot, trying to prove himself.

Creek would be cheap and would give Wiggins someone else with hops to go up against in practice. Creek definitely has that gritty determination that may be well received this long off season for the Timberwolves.

Ultimately, it’s a low-risk signing that could pay off later.