Recap: Las Vegas Summer League – Wizards 67, Wolves 61


“Zach, you’re like this big bear man!” – Shabazz “Double Down” Muhammad

“Zach, you’re like this big bear man!” – Shabazz “Double Down” Muhammad

The Timberwolves and Wizards took to the floor a few minutes late in the last Las Vegas Summer League game of the evening on Sunday. Despite the late start, both teams looked to have cobwebs from the Vegas Strip, as both struggled to put together any type of consistency in their offensive scheme and flow. The teams equally split 44 turnovers on the evening, while also combining for 53 personal fouls (Wizards 27, Wolves 26).

The Pups opened up with the same starting five from Saturday’s kick-off game: Alexey Shved, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Glenn Robinson III, and Gorgui Dieng. Similar to what Wolves’ fans became accustomed to seeing this past regular season, once you got beyond the team’s starting five, things got quite murky on the floor. After a relatively strong start from both teams in the 1st quarter, the Wizards held a 26-21 lead going into the 2nd and that is where things began to fall apart. The Wolves only scored 28 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined and trailed the Wizards 57-49 after three. (The teams were tied at 35 going into halftime.)

Ryan Saunders, head coach for Sunday’s game, reverted back to most of his starting lineup for the 4th quarter and the Wolves responded by cutting into the lead. However, they could never get over the hump and continuously shot themselves in the foot with a bad sequence of plays, whether it be a turnover or a bad jump shot.

In the end, the Wizards defeated the Wolves 67-61, dropping the Pups to 0-2 in Las Vegas Summer League action. Worth noting, Washington was led by Glen Rice Jr., who lit up the Wolves for 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. How did the key cogs for the Wolves look? Let’s take a peek, in order of top to bottom performances on Sunday:

Alexey Shved

Somewhat by default, but Shved had the strongest game among the Pups. He led the team in scoring with 16 points, while chipping in 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Unfortunately, he also led the team with 5 turnovers. I didn’t notice any patented, jump-pass turnovers though so maybe we are making progress there.

Gorgui Dieng

Dieng had a quiet 11 points and 8 rebounds on the evening in 29 minutes. He had several nice moves to get from outside the paint to near the rim. The pick and roll worked nicely from the Pups two top performers and is something to keep an eye on for Tuesday’s game and moving forward through the rest of the tournament.

Zach LaVine

LaVine had a rough night shooting the ball, going 2-11 from the field and finishing with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. If there is one thing that needs to be improved moving forward is the decision making process. There were several instances where LaVine would fire up a 18-21 foot jump shot and it just didn’t seem to make any sense or flow with what the Wolves are (or should be) trying to do in Las Vegas. The most glaring mishap came on an out of bounds play with 20 seconds left on the shot clock. LaVine received the ball and proceeded to turn and shoot from about 20 feet.

That said, you can clearly see the athletic ability that the 1st round pick possesses and this is what Summer League is for, to get some of those weaknesses on the coach’s radar and cleaned up heading into the fall. Watch this effortless dunk from warm-ups:

Glenn Robinson III

The Wolves’ 2nd round pick was a nonfactor in Saturday’s game but turned in a decent performance on Sunday. In almost 30 minutes of action, Robinson had 8 points and 4 rebounds which included this spectacular dunk off of a rebound.

Shabazz Muhammad

Muhammad left Sunday’s game with an injured ankle but it did not sound too serious. Before leaving the game he was 2-6 from the field for 4 points. He picked up 4 quick personal fouls and looked overwhelmed with the Wizards Otto Porter. Shabazz led the team in scoring in Saturday’s game, but did so on 24 shot attempts while only making 10. Here’s to hoping he is healthy for the rest of the tournament and that he can become more efficient with his playing time.

Matt Janning

Janning joined the Wolves roster as a late addition but received almost 20 minutes of action on Sunday. He looked a little lost on the defensive end but played OK offensively, finishing with 7 points on 3-8 shooting. For those interested, here is a great piece from Grantland on Janning from last summer.

Let’s go Wolves!