Analysis: Despite his strong summer, Payne may not have even been the team's best player thanks to the shows put on courtesy of both Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones. However, Minnesota would be foolish to overlook Payne's strong performance. The former Michigan State product led the Timberwolves in the rebounding department this summer. Unfortunately for Payne, Minnesota has a plethora of bigs such as Karl Anthony-Towns and Nikola Pekovic which is likely to restrict much if not all of his production.
Analysis: Rubio picked up the injury last week in an exhibition game against Angola, but was only held out Monday for precautionary purposes. The point guard is expected to be at full strength when the 2016 Summer Olympics begin in August.
Analysis: Minnesota plays Chicago for the summer league title Monday. Jones had a developmental year last season as he averaged only 15.5 minutes per game and spent time in the NBA D-League. His showing this summer could earn him a longer look for a larger role this season under new head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Analysis: Bjelica will remain in the United States over the next several weeks to receive further treatment on the leg injury, but he should be at full health entering 2016-17. The 6-foot-10 forward's role with the Timberwolves fluctuated throughout his rookie season, and he finished with averages of 5.1 points (on 46.8% shooting), 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 17.9 minutes per game in his 60 appearances.
Analysis: Wiggins would've been a major player for the Canadian national team if he had chosen to partake in the qualifying games. Instead, he'll be focusing on practicing with the Timberwolves staff, preparing for the 2016-2017 season. It's unclear at this time if Wiggins would play for Canada if the team manages to qualify for the Olympics in August.
Analysis: Since coming into the league, Dieng has made a name for himself as a lanky defender who understands how to play help-side defense at the NBA level and protect the paint against smaller slashers, though struggles at times when matched up one-on-one against bigger and stronger big men down low. In 2015, Dieng appeared in every game for the first time in his professional career, and while he set a new season-high in points, field goal percentage and steals, he found less boards and swatted fewer shots than he did in 2014. However, the presence of Rookie of the Year candidate Karl-Anthony Towns had something to do with that. With Towns in the lineup, Dieng played more power forward than center for the first time in his career and was allowed to expand his offensive repertoire at the expense of his defensive production. Looking ahead to 2016, expect Dieng to continue to be deployed at the four. Newly-hired head coach Tom Thibodeau reportedly pushed for the Bulls to draft Dieng over Tony Snell when he coached Chicago in 2016, and will assuredly find a way to put Dieng in a position to succeed.
Analysis: Seeing his playing time slightly fall under interim HC Sam Mitchell, Muhammad's numbers expectedly dropped across the board in 2015. However, Muhammad's 2015 is ultimately characterized by tantalizing offensive upside to match a disappointing defensive incompetence. Muhammad scored over 20 points on nine occasions this year, but it's unfortunately hard to showcase his offensive abilities when playing for a team that lacks defensive aptitude in general where his teammates are unable to hide his weaknesses. Looking ahead, Muhhammad's role is in question under newly-acquired coach Tom Thibodeau for 2016. If Thibodeau can improve Minnesota's defense, he may be able to afford Muhammad a longer leash than normal. Then again, Thibodeau is a defensive-minded coach, and may not find Muhammad's offensive spark worth the defensive liability he presents.
Analysis: The Wolves traded for Payne amidst the 2014 season, and the big man finished said campaign averaging 7.2 points and 5.4 boards across 24.8 minutes per game. However, Minnesota's drafting of C Karl-Anthony Towns this past summer left Payne without much playing time in 2015. Under interim HC Sam Mitchell, Payne saw just 9.3 minutes per game en route to averages of 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds. Fortunately for Payne, the Wolves hired coach Tom Thibodeau to lead their squad for the foreseeable future. Thibodeau has a similar coaching style to that of Payne's coach in college, Tom Izzo, leaving it not too farfetched to think the big man could carve out a sizable role off the bench for Minnesota in 2016. Granted, if the Wolves were to draft another big man this offseason, Payne could alternatively see his role reduced even further.
Analysis: Coming into the 2015 NBA Draft, Jones was regarded across the league as an average athlete, though a mentally-strong prospect with cold-blooded composure. When he began to slide on draft day, the Timberwolves traded up to snag on the Minnesota native with the 24th overall selection. While he did carve up the D-League to the tune of 24.7 points and 5.0 assists per game, it wasn't until after the All-Star Break that Jones flashed any potential of being worth the trade to get him. However, after the Wolves released Andre Miller in February and moved Zach LaVine into a starting two role, Jones began seeing consistent minutes off the bench and seemingly improved each time he took the court. Significantly, Jones then ended his rookie campaign averaging more points per minute in April than starting PG Ricky Rubio. Though this may depend on who the Timberwolves may draft, look for Jones to contend for the backup point guard role in 2016.
Analysis: Once selected in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bjelica didn't immediately transition into the NBA. Instead, he elected to remain in Serbia where he concluded his Euroleague career as the 2015 MVP. The 27-year-old finally made his NBA debut this season, and introduced himself to the league by drilling multiple treys in five of his first nine appearances. However, a knee injury lead the rookie to miss time, and subsequently fall out of coach Sam Mitchell's rotation. Come April, Bjelica ended his season in the same fashion he started it; the Serbian rejoined the rotation and shot over 63 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 10.0 points per tilt. Though his role for the 2016 season largely depends on who the Timberwolves add to their roster this offseason, as well as whether Kevin Garnett decides to return or not, expect Bjelica to assume his late-season role as a reserve stretch four providing Minnesota with a source of instant offense off the bench.