Reflecting the chaos that COVID-19 has brought to the NBA, the league has already set a record for the most players used in one season with 541, according to an ESPN story. The man who broke the record was veteran center Greg Monroe — he signed a 10-day hardship contract with the Timberwolves on Monday after being out of the league for more than two years.
Monroe, who had been with the Capital City Go-Go in the G League, looked ready to play in his first game, posting 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 25 minutes. The Wolves even ran their offense through Monroe as they closed out a narrow win over the Celtics.
“He’s so experienced. He gives us a different look, some legit size and beef,” coach Chris Finch told Patrick Donnelly of The Associated Press. “His rebounding was great. Again, you can just throw it to him and things kind of calm down.”
The game capped off a hectic day for Monroe, who woke up at 4 a.m. in search of a flight, arrived in Minnesota seven hours later and had to pass a COVID test before he could go to the arena. He met his new teammates shortly before the game and admitted not being familiar with all of them.
“I’m not gonna lie: Jaylen Nowell played awesome tonight. I didn’t know who he was,” Monroe said. “I think he played awesome, but that was my first time seeing him. The game is the same, the people change. Tonight, it’s a young guy taking advantage of an opportunity.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- After avoiding the COVID-19 outbreak for the first two months of the season, the Trail Blazers have been hit hard this week, playing Monday without eight players and two coaches, including head coach Chauncey Billups, writes Casey Holdahl of NBA.com. “We know what we’re going through and we know it’s not going to be easy,” acting head coach Scott Brooks said after losing to Dallas. “We’ve just got to keep fighting. Chauncey has done a great job of instilling there’s no excuses around here. That’s part of developing, that’s part of growing up in this league. It’s easy to put your head down — we didn’t have this guy, we didn’t have this guys to match up with their size advantage — but we didn’t.”
- Davon Reed, who is on his second 10-day contract with the Nuggets under the hardship exemption, said playing for coach Michael Malone has been “transformative for my career,” tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.
- Jazz forward Joe Ingles is starting to create trade buzz, per Zach Lowe of ESPN. Rival teams believe Utah may be able to add a valuable piece for a playoff run by parting with Ingles and a first-round pick.