Newest Timberwolves roster additions offer unique possibilities

Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to search for players to round out their roster, let’s take a moment to assess the two newest players signed to the Timberwolves roster: G Javonte Cooke and F Vit Krejci.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will need to act fast, as they open training camp on September 27, 2023. Players can report to the team facility on September 26, 2023, to prepare for the 2023-24 NBA season.

A quick analysis of Javonte Cooke

The Iowa Wolves benefited from Javonte Cooke’s play throughout the 2022-23 NBA season. Throughout last season he was a Steady-Freddie contributor for the Iowa Wolves, appearing in 25 games and five starts for the Iowa Wolves.  His stat line for the Wolves was:

25 GP | 5 GS | 20.5 MPG | 8.0 PPG | 42.4 FG% | 30.4 3P% | 3.0 RPG | 1.6 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.5 BPG

He also competed for the Minnesota Timberwolves 2023 Summer League team, and those stats are:

5 GP | 1 GS | 16.5 MPG | 6.4 PPG | 38.7 FG% | 31.3 3P% | 2.2 RPG | 0.8 APG | 0.4 SPG | 0.6 BPG

What I don’t like about this signing

It may be setting the bar too highly, but the 6-foot-6 182-pound guard struggles to sink treys, and in the NBA, that is the name of the game. While he could develop a serviceable three-point shot, at 24 years of age, you have to wonder what that upside is for him.

What I do like about this signing

So far, the Timberwolves front office has been slow and deliberate.  The Timberwolves clearly see potential in Cooke.  He is a gritty worker, a player who does not rest until he is back on the bench. Hustle is in his genetics, and you can be sure that you will get his all on every play.

What I love about this signing

The Timberwolves roster is not simply sticking to a strict pattern of players. Rather than appear like the Star Wars Clone Army, the Timberwolves are mixing and matching players of various skill levels in the interest of developing true NBA competitors. While he may not have mastered the art of the long-range shot, Javonte Cooke contributes in all aspects that are essential to having a successful NBA team.

Likely outcome of this signing?

I expect that Javonte Cooke will be assigned to the Timberwolves G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.

A quick analysis of Vit Krejci

Forward Vit Krejci was originally drafted by the Washington Wizards with the seventh pick in Round 2 of the 2020 NBA Draft.  Despite his size at 6-foot-8 and 190 pounds, he was originally projected as an NBA point guard.

NBA analyst and insider Dane Moore offered some great insight into Vit Krejci’s signing yesterday:

So what more can I add to this quick assessment?

What I don’t like about this signing

It’s clear that while Vit Krejci offers some solid NBA attributes, he has struggled to impress an NBA team once he plays for the team. While he showed promise during his rookie season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, after being traded to the Atlanta Hawks, his role and playing time were diminished significantly.

He also struggles to sink a perimeter shot, and at 23 years of age, will he be able to develop one?

What I do like about this signing

So far, Krejci has struggled to find his niche on an NBA roster. he showed signs of improving with the Atlanta Hawks 2023 Summer League team. In fact, he parlayed 20.5 minutes per game into 5.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. The Timberwolves need point guard depth. If Krejci can continue developing, he has a chance to fill that need.

What I love about this signing

The skillset of Vit Krejci is beyond the typical NBA five position category. He has the size of a forward, the ball-handling skills of a point guard, and the tenacity and physicality of an NBA center. Thanks to that positionless skillset, he checks many of the boxes that the Timberwolves are looking to fill their talent pipeline.

Likely outcome of this signing?

I expect that Vit Krejci will also be assigned to the Timberwolves G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. But keep an eye on him if the Timberwolves love what they see in training camp.

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