So far, Snyder fits in well with Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Snyder’s arrival in Minnesota was not exactly heralded, the way all those other additions to the Western Conference before the trade deadline were.
The 6-foot-6 swingman, though, has quietly become a valuable acquisition for the Timberwolves, who have won six of their last nine games while trying to evaluate what they’ve got for the future.
Perhaps, well, Snyder will be a part of that.
"Right place, right time, and right situation," said Snyder, who is with his fourth team in four pro seasons. He’ll face the last one, Houston, when Minnesota travels there on Wednesday.
As a rookie out of Nevada, Snyder had some run-ins with Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. After playing the next year with the Hornets and the last season-and-a-half with the Rockets, Snyder said he feels like he might finally have an NBA home.
"Now I’m with my real family," Snyder said after Monday’s practice.
Coach Randy Wittman recently moved Snyder into the starting lineup. On Saturday in a win over the New York Knicks, he had 15 points and eight rebounds.
"He’s got my confidence," Wittman said.
The Wolves were eager to add a more physical presence to that small forward position. Rookie Corey Brewer, the seventh overall pick in the draft last summer, has provided energy and a solid defensive ability, but he’s skinnier than Snyder and has struggled offensively through most of his first season. Wittman said there’s probably not room for both Snyder and Brewer on the court at the same time.
Snyder said he hasn’t been surprised by his opportunity for significant playing time, after leaving a surging Houston team that’s challenging for a top seed in the playoffs for a group that’s stuck in the developmental stage.
Beyond the basic boxscore contributions, Snyder praised his ability to tip a rebound to a teammate or help lead the charge on a fast break.
"Obviously the basketball IQ that goes unnoticed is going to be seen. As soon as I got here, coach Wittman, he knew exactly what he was seeing," Snyder said. "I just communicated with him that I’m here for the team and I’ll do whatever it takes. He was really blunt with what he wanted from me. ... I knew I could run. I knew I had that ability. I’m pretty athletic."
Snyder will be a restricted free agent this summer. He said he’d like to stay with the Wolves. He’s slowly become acquainted with his new teammates — and the Minnesota weather.
"I’m kind of looking outside going, ’OK, it’s going to be Christmas every day,"’ Snyder said, laughing.
Snyder, who was acquired for the little-used Gerald Green, seems to be fitting in so far.
"He’s an energy guy," guard Randy Foye said. "He works hard, he plays defense, and he wants to win."