Jake Layman has been a member of the Timberwolves for only a little over a year, but in that span he feels like he's lived through a few iterations of the organization.
"This is kind of my third team here in about a year," Layman said Wednesday.
That's fairly accurate. There was the team Layman was a part of last summer and through February of last season, then the team the Wolves became after the trade deadline, and now the one Layman is practicing with in preparation of the season opening Dec. 23 that includes Ricky Rubio and Anthony Edwards.
Layman, who is in the second year of a three-year deal, prides himself on being able to fit in with any group of players and sees that as giving him an opportunity to play with any lineup combination that may be on the floor.
"I'm able to play with whoever and fit in wherever coach wants me to. I think that's an advantage ..." Layman said. "I think our team is focused right now on still getting to know each other. This is only Day 4 of full practices, which is really not many practices together with a new team. We're still feeling it out."
But the typically quiet Layman didn't shy away from saying he thought the Wolves' defense was going to make a "big jump" this season after finishing 20th in defensive rating last season.
It was better in the beginning of last season when the Wolves opened 7-4 and Layman was playing significant minutes before a bad case of turf toe sidelined him from late November to late February. But as Layman said, the Wolves are now a much different team.
"It's kind of hard to say how that would translate to our team now," Layman said. "I think we had a great start to the year. Sometimes when things go bad and you lose a couple games, it's kind of hard to come out of that. We saw that last year with our team, which was not great to see for me being on the sideline and having to see that."
If the 6-8 Layman, who averaged 9.1 points in 23 games, is going to play as much as he did early last season, he will likely have to play at power forward, given the surplus of wing players the Wolves have to occupy the small forward spot.
Last season was the first time Layman spent time at the four position, and he found good chemistry finding holes in the defense to cut through as Karl-Anthony Towns attracted attention.
"It was a new position for me," Layman said. "I'm used to playing the three. But I think with where the NBA is going, me playing the four is great for us. I'm able to stretch the floor as a shooter, I'm able to cut to the basket when needed, especially with KAT, who is a great passer. That dynamic works out well."