Despite not logging many minutes with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jarred Vanderbilt should become a part of the regular rotation when the season continues.
The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Jarred Vanderbilt from the Denver Nuggets in that crazy four-team deal that took place before the NBA Trade Deadline that was headlined by Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez.
As a bit of a hidden addition, Vanderbilt has stayed hidden. The second-year big man has appeared in just two games, scoring two points and grabbing a single rebound over just five minutes of play.
Relatively speaking, that’s in line with what he did with the Denver Nuggets in a season and a half, logging just 26 games during that span. In his rookie season, he averaged 1.4 points and rebounds in 4.1 minutes per game across 17 contests.
But while the numbers he’s put up in 28 games doesn’t suggest that he’s an NBA caliber player, they also don’t tell the whole story, as previously noted by our own Ben Beecken.
Vanderbilt was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky, so the expectations were never set high, though he was the No. 19 recruit in the 2017 class.
However, he’s just 21 years old and has not had much experience playing in the NBA. There’s a lot to like about his game and his play in the G League speaks for itself.
In seven games with the Iowa Wolves following the trade, Vanderbilt compiled a stat line of 15.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks, all while shooting 51.7 percent from the field.
Where he does need to improve is his turnover rate, 3-point percentage and efficiency at the line. Vanderbilt turned the ball over four times per game, shot 21.4 percent from 3-point range on two attempts per game and just 55 percent from the free throw line.
Though, at 6-foot-9 and 214 pounds, the former Kentucky Wildcat has the athleticism and motor to help minimize some of those negatives.
There’s a lot to like about his game and just watching how he performed in Iowa does enough justice.
He’s showed he can play defense, facilitate, and get to the rim relatively easily with his athleticism and rebound the ball well.
Another noteworthy game for Vanderbilt was on March 4 against the Northern Arizona Suns. In this game, he recorded 24 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. He shot 52.9 percent from the field in that game and shot 2-for-3 from distance.
Most of the issues in his game will fade with experience, but for now his skillset is enough to warrant that he should be getting some more runs with the Timberwolves. Minnesota should at least look at what they have in Vanderbilt and at worst case, it doesn’t pan out.
His contract isn’t taking a huge hit on the salary cap, which will allow Minnesota to continue to develop him while not really affecting the team. With time and experience, Vanderbilt could become a nice rotational piece for the Timberwolves long-term.