Friday, the Minnesota Timberwolves discussed sending a training camp invite to A.J. Price. The invite simply signifies that president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and his staff will leave no stone unturned scouting the NBA’s available personnel.
Price is a point guard that started in 22 of his 57 appearances last season with the Washington Wizards; these were his numbers:
Price failed to shoot 40 percent from the field and 3-point range, he also failed to hit at least 80 percent of his free throws. Not only are the numbers dismal, Price’s heat map shows there’s no place other than around the rim that he shoots well from consistently
I don’t believe Price is any better than his competition at camp, Lorenzo Brown. Brown averaged 19.2 minutes per game in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he shot 50 percent from 3-point range, but only managed 38 percent from the field. Brown, like Price, is a PG, so the 3-point shooting is nice, but it’s the turnovers that are a major concern. Brown averaged 2.2 assists and 1.8 turnovers per game, creating a nonproductive wash.
The Wolves guards who will play behind Ricky Rubio are J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved. (HoopsHabit checked in on all of them last Wednesday). To assume Rubio will play a full season, well, it’s a confident statement. He’s missed games 64 games since he’s entered the league and has yet to show he’s durable enough to play an entire year. J.J. Barea is the ideal sixth-man, he’s better playing as a scoring guard the role of a facilitator. Shved had an impressive performance at EuroBasket, but has yet to prove he can be an accountable leader and playmaker playing the PG position.
Robbie Hummel is the favorite for the 15th and final roster spot. He had an solid showing in the Las Vegas Summer League; through the first two games, Hummel was the Wolves’ sniper. He accumulated 30 points, shooting 65 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and two steals. In a game against D-League Selects, he scored 12 points, tallied six boards and swiped three steals in addition to shooting 55 percent from the field, but against the Phoenix Suns earlier in the week, Hummel scored 18 on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, a perfect 2-for-2 from distance and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
What does Price’s invitation mean for Chris Johnson? Johnson is 6’11″, but only weighs 210 pounds, making him tall enough to play center and power forward but not bulky enough to be effective. After signing a 10-day contract in January, Johnson hustled and made the most of his minutes and from time to time excited the crowd by catching and flushing home an alley-oop pass or a dunk. Though he gave fans something to cheer about during the disappointing end of the Wolves season, Johnson only averaged four points and two boards per game. He’s is 28 years old and owed $346,781 this season, so it’s possible the Wolves could buy out his contract to make room for either Brown or Price, assuming Hummel is the player selected for the 15th spot.
Again, the additional invitation isn’t groundbreaking development in any major roster changes, yet. I’m banking on the idea that Flip and his staff are merely taking a look at Price because they can, it’s only window shopping to them.