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Who is Jake Layman and how can he help the Wolves?

Layman might be the perfect role player for the Wolves.
Jake Layman

Jake Layman

The Minnesota Timberwolves have made some bad decisions in their 29 years as a franchise and as bad as some of their drafts have been (think Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry), their free-agent decisions might be worse.

For example, the long line of Kevin McHale big man reclamation projects, like Michael Olowokandi an the infamous under-the-table deal with Joe Smith that cost the Wolves SEVEN first-round picks.

With all of these ill-fated decisions to throw money around, the Wolves are hoping that some of their most recent crop of free-agent acquisitions stick around. Out of the four free agents the Wolves signed this summer, forward Jake Layman was the only player out to get a multi-year deal.

As with many Timberwolves' free-agent moves, the instant analysis of the move was..."Who is Jake Layman?"

Layman isn't going to make anybody dub the Timberwolves a super team, but he could be a solid role player that Minnesota has been lacking since adding Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to the fold.

A product out of Maryland, Layman began his career by being traded on draft night. The Orlando Magic would select him with the 47th overall pick in 2016, then quickly ship him to Portland where he didn't have much of a chance to contribute in his first two seasons.

Last season was Layman's chance to shine and he came through with one of the most impressive stretches of his young career. The 25-year-old logged a career-high in minutes (18.7 per game) and started 33 games for the Blazers. He didn't put up ground-breaking stats, but he showed a penchant for tossing up 3-pointers with 2.5 attempts per game and the ability to get to the rim.

One of Layman's best games as a Blazer helped demonstrate this and was broken down by The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski (subscription required). In the clip, Layman scored 25 points against the Miami Heat last February, revealing his willingness to run the floor, put up the three and make the right cut.

As the Timberwolves transition from "Jimmy Ball" (aka isolation plays) to an offense that will get more players involved, a player like Layman could be what the Wolves need to fill out their roster. His athleticism is sneaky good and with the ability to turn it on for a fast break, he could help Minnesota become a more efficient offensive team.

While it is only the preseason, Layman has already flashed his potential. In the Wolves' preseason loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, the 6'9" forward put up 17 points in 17 minutes while also pulling down four rebounds and adding an assist. 

It's not the type of game that will suddenly push the Wolves to threaten the Warriors (they lost said game 143-123), but it's another weapon that can help their offense score more points and jack up more threes regardless if they hit the bottom of the net.

It's highly unlikely that Layman will be the next star for the Timberwolves, but if he can fill his role and be a valid contributor, it can give Minnesota something they have desperately needed for a while.

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