Nathan Jawai Shows Promise in First Real NBA Chance

Brodie StephensContributor INovember 9, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02:  Nathan Jawai #15 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket over Chris Kaman #35 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center on November 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Timberwolves 93-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images




That sums up Nathan Jawai in a word.


However in basketball, as with all other more trivial parts of life, one word doesn't tell the whole story.




Now things are getting a little more intriguing...


When power and quickness are combined in one very large package, basketball fans have been known to get a little light headed.


On Sunday night in Portland, though the Timberwolves were soundly beaten by the Blazers 116-93, both power and quickness were well and truly on display.  It was a tough night for the inexperienced Timberwolves but the silver lining to this ominous storm-cloud of a loss was the emergence of Nathan Jawai.


At 6’10” and a generously listed 280 pounds (for accuracy's sake, I’d say that one of his legs weighs around 280 pounds), Jawai was hard to miss. 


In just his tenth game as an NBA player, and his first time playing more than 5 minutes in a game, Jawai poured in a team-high 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting to go with 6 rebounds in 22 minutes of action.


He missed his first shot but quickly snatched his own rebound, drew contact from Joel Przybilla and made the layup.  He converted the ensuing free throw to complete the three point play.  It was the beginning of a strong night for the young Australian Timberwolf as he scored in a variety of ways and often negated Greg Oden’s powerful inside presence.


Jawai muscled inside for all of his field goals while also flashing the uncommon quickness rarely exhibited by men of his size that first caught the attention of NBA scouts on their excursions to the land down under in 2007 and 2008.


The quiet Australian was encouraged by his personal performance but stressed team improvement as a more pressing priority.


"It's good to get a career high," Jawai said, "but a win would have been better.  I just wanted to get the win and improve as a group and individually," said Jawai.  "We just need to make each other better and keep trying...we're a team that doesn't give up."


With Kevin Love sidelined for at least another four weeks and Al Jefferson seemingly not yet at full strength, Jawai could be relied upon more heavily than expected in the immediate future.


If Big Nate produces more games like his break out performance on Sunday night, the second round pick the Timberwolves sent to Dallas to acquire him will seem like a small price to pay for power, quickness and let’s say...umm...


A little more than 300 pounds of potential.