Veteran forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is making a strong impression on the Timberwolves so far, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Hollis-Jefferson is on a non-guaranteed contract, but made a case for a regular season roster spot with his play on Monday night, when he scored 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting and made several plays on defense.
“Since Day 1 Rondae has been great,” Timberwolves wing Josh Okogie said. “He tells me all the time we got to be the ones that anchor the defense down. Just seeing him play is very inspiring. The energy he brought out (Monday), and he just makes you ask yourself, what kind of guy wouldn’t want to play with a guy like Rondae?”
The Timberwolves are only carrying 12 players with fully guaranteed salaries and don’t have a ton of depth at the power forward spot, so Hollis-Jefferson looks like a good candidate to be retained for the start of the season.
“I’m a competitor at the end of the day,” Hollis-Jefferson said, per Hine. “Any time I come out and compete it shows with how I play, the energy. I feel like everything else will naturally come when the time is right. I’m definitely looking forward to being out there competing in the regular season.”
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Al Horford was traded by Philadelphia just one year into his four-year contract with the club, but the veteran big man is looking forward to making the most of his new role with the Thunder, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “I wasn’t expecting (to be traded),” Horford said. “But I’ve known the type of organization the Oklahoma City Thunder is. That was the one thing that was positive for me when I looked at it. And now that I’m here I’m actually really excited and looking forward to getting the regular season started.”
- Nuggets guard Will Barton hasn’t played a game since March due to knee and back issues, but he appears to be on the verge of returning and he’s very happy about it, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post details. “I’m just ready to go out there and compete and play,” Barton said. “I just love the game. Being away from it, it’s very, very, very tough for me to just watch and not be able to play. I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m just looking forward to it.”
- Jazz forward Georges Niang and guard Miye Oni are focusing on improving their defense as they look to claim roles in the team’s regular season rotation, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Niang is entering a contract year, while Oni’s 2020/21 salary remains non-guaranteed, so both players will be motivated to prove they deserve to play.