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The Minnesota Timberwolves could have used their draft picks in deals to help clear space under the salary cap for potential free agent additions next month.

 

They needed some high-ceiling young players just as much.

Opting against any deals Jihad Ward Color Rush Jersey , the Timberwolves selected Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night, targeting a tough-minded player with defensive versatility as a primary asset.

”Nothing presented itself that would be better than actually selecting at 20,” general manager Scott Layden said.

The same went for the 48th overall choice, when Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop was still available in the second round. The Big Ten Player of the Year was widely projected as a late first-round pick.

”Having a pick this year was critical for us, just to continue to grow,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”We think we have to have a blend, of young players, players that are in the middle and obviously the older veterans. But having those young guys, it’s important for the team, for the growth of the organization.”

Okogie played two seasons for the Yellow Jackets, averaging 16.9 points per game and shooting 43.7 percent from the field. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Okogie led the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 6.8 free throw attempts per game last season, bringing consistent doses of energy and physicality.

Born in Nigeria, Okogie grew up outside of Atlanta. He was third in the ACC in 2017-18 with an average of 1.8 steals per game and also grabbed an average of 6.3 rebounds per game. Okogie’s wingspan was measured at the draft combine this spring at 7 feet and his three-quarters-of-the-court sprint time was just 3.04 seconds.

With a vertical leap of 42 inches that tied Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo for the highest at the combine Adrian Clayborn Color Rush Jersey , Okogie is capable of guarding multiple positions, an ability treasured by Thibodeau. Toughness is another trait that assuredly attracted Okogie to Thibodeau, conducting his third draft since being hired in Minnesota.

Okogie, who watched the draft with family, friends and teammates in Atlanta, had trouble composing himself when Thibodeau called.

”When he said, `Josh,’ to be honest, I blacked out,” Okogie said. ”I was just like, `This is surreal.’ Everything happened so fast. They called my name. Everybody’s screaming. I’m getting tackled. Crying.”

Depth at the wing positions was a glaring need for the Wolves this offseason, with no backups set yet for Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins. Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose are set to become free agents.

Perimeter shooting is another priority after Minnesota ranked last in the league with an average of 8.0 made 3-pointers per game. The Wolves were 19th in the NBA with a 3-point shooting percentage of 35.7.

Last year, the Timberwolves used draft night to reshape their roster with a headliner trade for the All-Star Butler that dealt Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and seventh overall pick Lauri Markkanen to Chicago. The Bulls then sent the 16th overall selection Johnny Townsend Color Rush Jersey , Justin Patton, to the Wolves. Patton sat out his entire rookie season with a broken foot. Markkanen made the NBA All-Rookie team after averaging 15.2 points per game.

With little space under the cap, the Wolves could’ve used their first-rounder in a package to trade away some veteran salary, but the pick was also important as a way to cheaply add a rotation-caliber player. Thibodeau has long favored experience on the court, skimping on time for young players, but Okogie has shown an ability to make catch-and-shoot 3-pointers from the corner that could supplement his defense enough to warrant time in the rotation.

”I think I can help from day one,” he said.

The Wolves passed on one of the sharpest outside shooters in this draft class, Duke’s Grayson Allen, but took advantage of a rich pool of wing players to snag Bates-Diop, the leading scorer in the Big Ten as a fourth-year senior in 2017-18 at 19.8 points per game. He was limited to nine games as a junior because of a leg injury and took a redshirt for the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Bates-Diop finished his college career as a 47.2 percent shooter from the field.

Jordan Zimmermann knew two things when he took the mound against Bartolo Colon on Friday night.

He was going to have to be good to keep Colon from making history, and the game wasn’t going to take long.

Zimmermann came through, outdueling Colon as the Detroit Tigers beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 in a game that ended four minutes after sunset at Comerica Park.

”I’ve hooked up with Bartolo a lot of times over the years, and he’s always good and the games are always short Cheap Saquon Barkley Jersey ,” said Zimmermann, who struck out 11 batters in eight innings. ”He works fast, I work fast and we almost got out before 9 o’clock tonight.”

Colon was trying to become the winningest Latin-American pitcher in major league history. He remains tied with Dennis Martinez with 245 career victories.

He pitched well, allowing three runs – including homers by James McCann and JaCoby Jones – in an eight-inning complete game, but Zimmermann (4-0) was better.

”When I was young, a loss like this would bother me,” Colon (5-6) said through a translator. ”Now, I know games like this are going to happen. Tonight was good for us and not good for the hitters.”

The Tigers right-hander allowed one run and four hits and struck out 10 or more for the first time since his no-hitter for Washington against Florida on Sept. 28, 2014.

”That might be the best slider I’ve had in my career, and when I can throw it like that, it makes my fastball and curve even tougher to hit,” Zimmermann said. ”I’m not going to give up many runs with that kind of stuff.”

There were no walks in the game, and neither starter needed 100 pitches for their eight-inning outings. Zimmermann threw 96 pitches, and Colon 97.

”Those were two great veteran pitchers doing what they do best Jake Marisnick Houston Astros Jersey ,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”They were attacking the zone, moving the ball all over the place and making the hitters chase their pitches.”

Joe Jimenez pitched the ninth for his third save, helping the Tigers end a three-game losing streak by winning for just the third time in 17 games.

At 45 years, 43 days old, Colon became the oldest pitcher to throw a complete game since Jamie Moyer (47 years, 199 days) on June 5, 2010. Tim Wakefield and Randy Johnson are the only other 45-year-olds to pitch complete games in the 21st century.

”That’s a tough loss for Bartolo, but both pitchers were great out there,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”Zimmermann had his A-game going, and Bart was getting a lot of weak contact.”

Colon first faced Detroit on May 10, 1997, allowing one earned run in six innings for Cleveland in a loss at Tiger Stadium. He’s the last active major league player to have played at Tiger Stadium, which closed in 1999.

”That old man took me to school,” Nicholas Castellanos said. ”He was moving the ball over the place and I didn’t know what was happening.”

The Rangers took the lead on the game’s second pitch as Shin-Soo Choo hit a homer into the shrubbery beyond the center-field fence. The home run extended his on-base streak to 45 games Authentic Sam Darnold Jersey , the longest in the majors this season.

McCann put the Tigers ahead with a two-run homer in the second inning, but Zimmermann and Colon took over after that.

The Tigers had the next significant threat, putting runners on the corners with two out in the fifth, but Jones grounded out to end the inning. Jones, though, homered off Colon in the eighth to make it 3-1.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: Choo returned to the lineup after sitting out Thursday. Choo is limited to playing designated hitter because of a sore quadriceps, and Adrian Beltre started there Thursday after an emergency dental procedure.

Tigers: Closer Shane Greene had tests on his sore pitching shoulder, and they showed no significant problem. Greene is eligible to come off the disabled list on July 12.

FAST GAME

The game ended at 9:15 p.m., forcing the postgame fireworks show to be held well before the sky was dark.

UP NEXT

The teams continue their four-game series on Saturday, with Cole Hamels (4-7, 4.05) pitching for Texas against Detroit’s Mike Fiers (5-5, 3.79).

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Posted in Default Category on August 10 at 10:06 AM

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