3 key takeaways from the Minnesota Timberwolves at NBA Summer League

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 14: Mitchell Creek #55 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Brooklyn Nets during the Semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 14: Mitchell Creek #55 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Brooklyn Nets during the Semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – FEBRUARY 08: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

2. Andrew Wiggins and Jake Layman will thrive on offense in 2019-20

Count me among the believers that Andrew Wiggins will have a terrific year this upcoming season.

He won’t be along, either, because new Timberwolf Jake Layman will be right there with him turning in career-best numbers.

There are key similarities between Andrew and Jake, which is why I see them both as perfect fits in a modern motion-based offense.

  • Both possess first-class athleticism.
    • Wiggins has an out-of-this-world vertical of vertical of 44 inches.
    • Layman holds his own, with a vertical of 40 inches.
  • Both are extremely dangerous cutters when they do so, especially Wiggins.
    • Below is one of my favorite plays from this past season, featuring a great cut from Andrew
  • Both guys have very solid shooting form.
    • If they can be more active cutting, it will set them up for more open, spot-up looks from deep.
  • Both can be very effective in transition.

The new Minnesota offense will feature a ton of off-ball cutting that will be best utilized with KAT gets the ball in the high-post and above the break following high ball screens and dribble hand-offs.

Per the NBA’s Advanced Analytics Portal, Jake Layman scored 1.39 points per possession as a cutter, and scored 70.9 percent of the time he got the ball after a cut, which placed him in the 73.7 percentile among all NBA players last season. Layman received the ball on cuts in 15.9 percent of the possessions he was on the floor, which goes to show how much Portland loved utilizing him as a cutter.

Wiggins wasn’t far behind. He averaged 1.34 points per possession on cuts, and converted 67.5 percent of his looks after cutting. Andrew only received the ball after cuts on 5.4 percent of his offensive possessions, which is far too low for a player with his athleticism and that spends as much time off the ball as he does.

While on the floor together, Wiggins and Layman would form a formidable cutting duo that would have defenses running all over the place trying to contain them.

This would help space the floor, open up driving lanes for guys like Teague, Okogie, Culver, and KAT, create open looks from deep, and enable the Wolves to become an offensive dynamo out of the high screen by creating more passing options for the pick-and-roll ball-handler.

Layman was also an elite transition player last season for the Trail Blazers.

He averaged 1.34 points per possession out on the break, placing him in the 88.6 percentile across the league. Jake posted an Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of 71.7 percent, which elucidates his ability to both finish at the rim and knock down transition threes at a very high clip.

Related Story. What can the Wolves expect from Jake Layman?. light

Conversely, Wiggins averaged just 1.11 points per possession in transition, good for the 49.4 percentile league-wide last season. However, he was very effective when he shot the ball, recording an eFG% of 57.8 percent, which is still terrific efficiency shooting the ball, especially for a guy like Andrew who is widely seen as an inefficient player.

Prigioni will want to utilize KAT’s ability to throw great outlet passes and ask Teague to push the pace considerably this season in order to get an athletic Wolves squad easier looks in transition and tire out the opposing defense.

The more active Wiggins and Layman are on the break and in the half-court off the ball, the more dynamic and explosive the offense can be for fans at Target Center next season.

I fully expect Andrew Wiggins to score 22-25 points per game next season while increasing his shooting percentages across the board, provided he spends most of his time at his natural position, the 2. In Prigioni’s offense, Wig would be a matchup nightmare playing shooting guard, because of his ability to shoot over smaller defenders, bully them in the post, and still blow by them when he wants.

Maple Jordan has been in Minnesota for a good part of the offseason working with the training staff and developing a relationship with Prigioni, who has proven to be an exceptional player development coach.

He loves Ryan Saunders and Ryno knows how to get the most out of his incredibly talented young scorer. Under Saunders, Wiggins was noticeably more engaged on both ends of the floor.

His scoring increased from 17.3 under Tom Thibodeau to 18.9 points per game under Saunders, but his rebounding told the story. He averaged 5.7 boards and 1.5 offensive rebounds per game playing for Saunders, compared to collecting just 3.9 boards and 0.8 on the offensive backboard per game with Thibodeau.

Whether or not Andrew will fully buy into the system is still yet to be seen until early returns in November, but there is plenty of reason to be excited for the Andrew Wiggins comeback tour this upcoming season.