In a move that came to the surprise of very few in the NBA realm, the Minnesota Timberwolves have signed former Boston Celtics backup center Greg Stiemsma to an offer sheet that will most likely not be matched due to Boston’s lack of appropriate cap space. The Wisconsin graduate enjoyed an efficient rookie season this year for the Celtics after originally going undrafted in the 2008 NBA draft and subsequently playing stints in South Korea, Turkey, and the NBA D-League. Ironically, Stiemsma found himself signing with the Timberwolves following the 2009-10 season, but was ultimately waived before appearing in a game for the Pups.
This season for the Celtics, Stiemsma averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an impressive 1.5 blocks in 13.9 minutes per game. He appeared in 55 games and won over the Boston fans due to his high energy and tireless work ethic. Stiemsma’s offensive game is undoubtedly in need of some work, but there is no question that he is an impact defensively on the low post and he brings a shot-blocking ability that the Timberwolves are in desperate need of. The 6’11″, 260 pounder loves taking charges and does any thing he can to help his team win. There is also not a question that his attitude and work ethic will be an enormous upgrade over that of Darko Milicic and Anthony Randolph.
Although the addition of Stiemsma is very under the radar, it is important to simply consider how his signing is an upgrade in productivity for the Timberwolves backup center position. Last season, Darko produced a pathetic 9.02 PER while negatively influencing the locker room chemistry due to his terrible work ethic and unprofessional demeanor. As a rookie, Stiemsma possessed a 13.62 PER and should only improve in the coming years. The best thing about Greg is his team-oriented approach to everything he does on the court, as the former Badger gives 100% effort on both ends of the court and will inspire teammates with his hustle during practice as well as games. I applaud everyone involved in the decision to sign Stiemsma as it appears that the Timberwolves have recognized that character trumps individual talent, and this team is going to get a whole lot further with more less talented, hard working players than they will with a bunch of Michael Beasleys and Anthony Randolphs.
The terms of the deal have still not been released, but it is expected that the deal will surpass a $2 million annual salary as Boston would then be unable to match due to salary cap restrictions. The Timberwolves are also expected to announce the unofficial signings of Brandon Roy and Alexey Shved in the coming week.
Photo Credits: Celticstown.com