The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Ronny Turiaf this summer to add some depth at center. Turiaf has been a role player throughout his NBA career, and now as a 30 year old, he has achieved a very special status. Turiaf is a veteran, but more importantly, he is a veteran who has been a part of a championship team and played in the playoffs nearly every year of his career. So, while Turiaf probably won’t see the floor all that much this season, he will be a positive influence on the Wolves’ young squad.
Turiaf has seen action in 47 playoff games, which is more than any other Timberwolves player, though J.J. Barrea comes close with 40. His experience with winning teams will come in handy if the Wolves make a playoff run this year. Turiaf has played the vast majority of his career playing for winning teams, which means two things: he likes to win and his skill set is useful for winning games.
Turiaf’s biggest plus is that he won’t mess anything up. He plays above average defense without fouling too much and grabs rebounds fairly efficiently. Turiaf’s offensive game is extremely lacking, however. He took just three shots outside of 10 feet last season, missing all of them. However, he is a good finisher and converted most of this shots at the rim. Another weakness in Turiaf’s game surfaced last year, when he shot just 36.5 percent from the free throw line. This number may be an anomaly though, as Turiaf has decent career free throw shooting numbers for a big man at 65 percent on 732 attempts. Whether he returns to his career average or not shouldn’t affect the Wolves too much, as he averaged just one attempt per game last season.
After playing his lowest number of minutes per game since his rookie season last year, Turiaf will likely play 10 minutes per game or less this season. With one of the better offensive front courts in the league, the Timberwolves won’t need Turiaf to contribute much on that end, but he will be able to keep the Wolves from collapsing if Kevin Love and or Nikola Pekovic need a rest. Turiaf also provides rookie center Gorgui Dieng with a mentor besides Pekovic, giving the young man a look at two very different foreign big men who figure to have long NBA careers.
Long time NBA fans are already familiar with Turiaf’s game, and it won’t change in Minnesota. He will play his simple brand of basketball with effort and energy, which should be helpful to a Timberwolves team looking to end their playoff drought. Turiaf should manage to make an impact for the Wolves without producing a great stats, especially if the Wolves end up being better than expected.