The Timberwolves‘ sign-and-trade deal for Jake Layman didn’t earn any accolades as one of the summer’s key moves, but Layman’s new team can’t stop raving about him, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. As Krawczynski explains, Minnesota loves Layman’s athleticism, his ability to play multiple positions, and the way he can complement star player Karl-Anthony Towns.
“A lot of our offensive creativity is going to be with Karl and the ball in his hands, whether that’s top of the key in a lot of our series or even at the elbows or even out of the post,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “Guys that can space the floor, run the floor, cut away from the basket with high IQs are going to be important for us. A guy like Jake Layman can really do that and has done that throughout his career.”
It remains to be seen whether Layman will come off the bench or if he’ll crack the starting lineup alongside Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, and Jeff Teague. Either way, he figures to play a regular role in the Timberwolves’ rotation after being acquired in July from their division rivals in Portland.
Let’s round up a few more Northwest notes…
- Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, who continues to rehab after breaking his leg last season, won’t be available to start the season, but says his leg has been pain-free for several months, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Portland’s head of basketball operations Neil Olshey said this week that he’s being “purposefully vague” about the big man’s recovery timeline, since the team wants to avoid “Nurk Watch 2019.”
- Ed Davis won’t be able to fully replicate Derrick Favors‘ skill set as the Jazz‘s new backup center, but Davis believes he can provide value to his new team in his own way, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune relays. “I’m gonna be myself — I’m not here to replace [Favors], I’m coming here to be myself, I’m gonna do what I do,” Davis said. “Being available, for one; being consistent; toughness; I’m gonna give it all I got. I’m not the most skilled player, but I’d say I’m one of the toughest players in the league, so you’re gonna get that every night.”
- New Nuggets forward Jerami Grant, who said at Media Day that he’s not worried about what his exact role will be for his new team, acknowledged that he wasn’t too broken up about being traded by the retooling Thunder, according to Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. “I don’t think (the trade) was too difficult,” Grant said. “It was almost good to get out of a sinking ship.”
- Robert Covington admitted this week that his physical health issues last season affected his mental health, telling reporters – including Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune – that he saw a therapist to deal with his frustration at being sidelined. Heading into a new season, the Timberwolves forward says he’s feeling good both physically and mentally.