Jordan Murphy helps Timberwolves to runner-up finish in Summer League

Murphy averaged 8.9 points and 4.9 rebounds during Summer League play.

Senior Jordan Murphy spins towards the basket on Tuesday, March 5 at Williams Arena.

Tony Saunders

Senior Jordan Murphy spins towards the basket on Tuesday, March 5 at Williams Arena.

Paul Hodowanic

With under a minute remaining in the third quarter of the NBA Summer League final on Monday night, former Gophers standout Jordan Murphy had only scored five points as the Timberwolves trailed the Memphis Grizzlies 72-68. 

With just over 10 minutes left in the game, summer league coach Pablo Prigioni called on Murphy to help lift the team.

Murphy responded by scoring nine of the team’s next 13 points, finishing with his summer league high of 14 points. The outburst showcased the patented play style that Murphy utilized so often for the Gophers. The Big Ten’s all-time leading rebounder grabbed three offensive rebounds in that stretch and drew a foul three times, converting on five of his six free throw attempts. 

Despite the scoring surge by Murphy, the Timberwolves were unable to close the gap against the Grizzlies, falling 95-92. It was the Timberwolves’ first loss of the summer. 

Along with his 14 points, Murphy finished with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Murphy played in all seven of the Timberwolves summer league games and averaged 8.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Among players who played all seven games for Minnesota, Murphy averaged the sixth most points, and the third most rebounds. 

Yet, Murphy’s future with the Timberwolves remains uncertain. Murphy figures to see an opportunity at power forward or center if he makes the team later this summer, which was an area of need for Minnesota heading into the offseason. 

The team did address the power forward position in free agency, however; signing Jordan Bell, Jake Layman and Noah Vonleh, all of whom stand in the way of Murphy making the roster. Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng are the only centers currently on the roster.