Robbie Hummel

Timberwolves signed a player because he was near New York


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.”

Timberwolves granted injury exception, sign Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

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The Timberwolves have been beset by injuries in recent months. Anthony Bennett, Nikola Pekovic, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel (almost a third of the roster) are still out and don’t seem like they’ll be back in the near future. Because of this, the NBA has granted Minnesota a hardship exception, allowing them to sign a 16th player, and they’ve signed former D-League guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract.

From the team’s press release:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. The Timberwolves were granted an NBA hardship exception for a 16th roster spot due to having four players out due to injury.

Kilpatrick, 25, has averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 42 games this season with Delaware and Santa Cruz of the NBADL. Kilpatrick, 6-4, went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after a four-year career at the University of Cincinnati. Kilpatrick finished his career with averages of 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 140 contests, earning Second-Team All-America honors his senior season. Kilpatrick was signed by the Golden State Warriors on October 20, 2014 and waived on October 24, 2014 after playing with the Philadelphia 76ers on their 2014 NBA Summer League team.

Kilpatrick likely won’t play much, but the Timberwolves need bodies to close out the season with so many rotation players out, and he’ll help to keep down the minutes for Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin, who have had injury problems of their own earlier in the year.

Timberwolves’ Robbie Hummel breaks hand, says he is out six weeks


Injuries to Shabazz Muhammad and Kevin Martin gave Robbie Hummel a chance — he was getting almost 30 minutes a game of run the past five games, scoring 6.6 points a game. He was getting his chance.

Now all that is on hold.

The run of injuries that has hit the Timberwolves all season has now hit Hummel, who broke his hand in the game against the Hawks, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune.

The Wolves termed Hummel’s injury a nondisplaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his shooting hand. He said he expects to miss four to six weeks after he hit it during a collision at third quarter’s end.

“I don’t even know. I have to look at the play because it happened so fast,” Hummel said. “It just felt weird right away. I knew it wasn’t right….

“It’s really disappointing,” Hummel said. “It’s tough to get in a rhythm, and I felt I have been the last couple weeks. It’s frustrating, but there are worse things that could happen. I’ve been through it before [he tore his ACL twice within a year at Purdue] so it’s just a bump in the road. Compared to the ACLs, this is nothing.”

The problem is when Hummel is healthy and gets back Muhammad and Martin should be back as well and it’s going to be hard to get Hummel minutes.

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Flip Saunders noncommittal on Andrew Wiggins starting


Most NBA coaches will tell you that the starting lineup matters little, and that it’s the players on the court to finish the game that matters most.

But it can be a point of pride at times for the players themselves, so coaches need to manage this to a certain extent to make sure everyone stays committed, and remains on the same page.

Timberwolves head coach (and president) Flip Saunders is aware of this, of course, which is why he evaded the question of whether or not Andrew Wiggins, who the team acquired in the Kevin Love trade with the Cavaliers, was already penciled into the starting lineup.

From Andy Greder of The St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Asked of #Twolves starters, Flip Saunders told @105theticket youngsters to be interspersed w/ vets. Noncommittal on Andrew Wiggins starting.

It’s wise not too give Wiggins too much too soon, and to make him earn his spot in training camp like every new player on the roster. And the reality is, Saunders does have some reasonable alternative options.

Nikola Pekovic and Thaddeus Young should be a lock to start in two of the three frontcourt positions. After that, you’re looking at guys like Gorgui Dieng, Chase Budinger, Robbie Hummel and Anthony Bennett — all of whom have played primarily as reserves.

Ah, who are we kidding. Wiggins might be raw, and he’ll have to put in the work. But he should find his way into the starting lineup at some point next season.

Report: Glenn Robinson III signs guaranteed deal with Timberwolves


Minnesota got a good look at Glenn Robinson III during Summer League, and they must have liked what they saw.

He was the No. 40 pick in the last draft, a second rounder which means they didn’t have to offer him a guaranteed contract. They could bring him in, run him through camp and then decide.

But instead Minnesota is giving Robinson (and yes, he’s the son of that Glenn Robinson) a guaranteed deal for this season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Robinson is going to have to fight for minutes. He’s a three at the NBA level and the Timberwolves are loaded there — Andrew Wiggins has to get run, they have Corey Brewer and Shabazz Muhammad behind him, plus there is Robbie Hummel. Maybe they go small and try him at the four, they did that at Summer League but he struggled some with that transition.

Robinson had his moments at Summer League but when I saw him he looked like a guy trying to get used to how much faster and how much more athletic guys are at the NBA level (even Summer League is a big jump from college, and it’s another leap to the NBA). Robinson averaged 7.7 points a game on 39 percent shooting and didn’t really impact the boards. On the bright side he shot 40 percent from three.

He’s going to get a chance to prove he can stick beyond this season.