On Thursday, the Timberwolves introduced yet another free agent signing as they introduced new backup center Greg Stiemsma. The contract is for two years and approximately $2.6 million, with the first year being guaranteed. To view the entire press conference you can watch it here, otherwise here are some notes and thoughts about Thursday’s proceedings.
- Stiemsma will be wearing jersey number 34. He had previously been with the Timberwolves D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, during the 2009-10 season, and played professional stints in Turkey, South Korea, and most recently for the Boston Celtics last season. This season he became a significant rotation player for the Celtics while gaining valuable playoff experience.
- The “Stiemer” brings a shot-blocking ability that the Wolves so notably lacked last season. Stiemsma was second in the league in blocks per minute this past season, second only to Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka.
- Stiemsma explained that he is very excited to be back in Minneapolis, and mentioned how much the organization has grown since last time he was here. A Randolph, Wisconsin native, Stiemsma played four years for the University of Wisconsin and is only a three and a half hour drive away from Minneapolis. He said that it feels good to be close to home and close to where he played college basketball, and he looks to play a similar role of consistency on defense that he did for Boston and to be a “presence inside” for the Wolves.
- David Kahn explained how Stiemsma was the only free agent who was meeting with the Timberwolves who drove, not flew, to Minneapolis for free agent visits.
- Stiemsma was very thankful and complimentary of the Celtics organization, players, and coaching staff. He learned a lot through the playoff run with the Celtics, and explained how tough you have to be mentally to play in a seven game series, and how you “have to bring it every possession.”
- When asked about how it feels to be pursued by NBA teams in free agency after previously failing to make NBA rosters, he stated, “it feels good to be wanted” and “it feels good to have your hard work pay off.”
- Although he was invited to play for the US Select Team this summer, he chose not to play as he had been recovering from Plantar Fasciitis in his left foot, and he deferred playing with the team with long-term NBA goals in mind. He stated that he has been cranking it up in the weight room the last few weeks, and has not felt limited in workouts at all.
- A very interesting thing that Stiemsma talked about was the importance of Kevin Garnett in his development as a player during his sole season for the Celtics. He said that “KG was great for me” and “more or less took me under his wing.” Stiemsma explained that KG was “always willing to teach” and “always willing to explain things.”
- “Minneapolis was not a hard sell for me.”
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