Second-year center Greg Stiemsma definitely stays under the radar of most NBA enthusiasts. He averages only 11 minutes per game, and he isn’t what you would call a big scorer.
Regardless, Stiemsma proves an asset to the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he only averages 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, stat checkers should also take into account the context under which the Wisconsin alum is playing.
The 27-year-old finds himself behind big man Nikola Pekovic on the Wolves’ depth chart, and notably so. Pek is a machine on the court, averaging 16 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He has 30 pounds on Stiemsma, and his brawn is crucial for Minnesota’s success beneath the basket.
Stiemsma also shares the court with Andrei Kirilenko. Kirilenko is listed as a shooting forward, but even he finds himself moved around and sometimes playing a center-like game. Kirilenko’s league experience makes him a desirable candidate on the floor.
Granted, Stiemsma is a work in progress. He’s not quite as agile on the floor as some of Minny’s other scoring options, and he can’t always get his shots to fall. Most fans will focus only on this attribute, however. In reality, he serves as reliable go-to guy off the bench. When Pek needs a breather or head coach Rick Adelman needs to rotate the line-up, Stiemsma can be counted on.
While seeming like a timid giant off the court, the center comes alive in a game, particularly on defense. While he may not be increasing the point total, “The Steam Engine” tallies more blocks than anyone else on the team… in—often—less than a quarter of playing time.
His slimmer build and long wingspan make him a defensive weapon, and he never fails to involve the crowd in the game. Whether he plays two minutes or 20 minutes, Stiemsma will pump up the fans with an explosive block over Blake Griffin or a quick basket off a Ricky Rubio assist.
Only a couple years into his NBA career, Stiemsma stands in an ideal position. He’ll continue to quietly add depth to the Timberwolves roster while developing into a stronger player that will almost certainly become a play-maker in seasons to come.
Lindsey Young is a graduate of Northwestern College and an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Currently working full time at her alma mater, she continues to edit and write for BleacherReport.com and on her blog Making the Call in pursuit of a career in sports journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @lilshortie2712.