Why did the Timberwolves sign Sean Kilpatrick?
Sure, he played well enough in the D-League after going undrafted out of Cincinnati.
But that was far from the only reason.
NBA teams are required to have eight players available for each regular season games, and with a long list of sidelined players – Nikola Pekovic, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel, Anthony Bennett, Kevin Garnett, Justin Hamilton, Gary Neal and Ricky Rubio – Minnesota was down to just seven healthy players for its game against the Knicks in New York last night.
Enter Kilpatrick, whose D-League team was in nearby Delaware.
Timberwolves president/coach Flip Saunders, via Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press:
“We had to fulfill our rules, so we had to go find somebody that was within a train ride away,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said.
Kilpatrick actually drove, arriving in the Wolves’ locker room at Madison Square Garden about 45 minutes before the start.
“We had him in before so we worked him out, so we knew about him and we’ve been following him, but there’s no question that geography helped,” Saunders said. “We had to have a guy here ready to play at 7:30.”
Kilpatrick played 10 minutes, missing his lone shot, grabbing a rebound and turning the ball over in Minnesota’s win.
He’ll earn $29,843 for this contract, more than he would have made all season in the D-League. Not bad for being in the right place at the right time.
Saunders also had a cool story about a player arriving even closer to tip-off than Kilpatrick did. Mahoney:
When Saunders was coaching in the CBA, Sidney Lowe – now a Wolves assistant – arrived half a game later.
“For the (postseason) he had to be eligible for seven games and the seventh game we were playing at La Crosse. So he flew in and got in at halftime,” Saunders said.
“He got in playing the second half to be playoff eligible.”