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Message from Wolves coaches that resonates with Rob Dillingham

The Wolves coaching staff has given rookie guard Rob Dillingham an extra boost of confidence as he prepares for his Summer League debut on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Dillingham, 19, was acquired by the Timberwolves after being selected with the eighth overall pick. The Wolves have seen Dillingham as their point guard of the future, the one who will be given the keys to a talented, young offense when Mike Conley eventually retires.

The young guard sees Summer League action as an opportunity to improve, especially on defense, playmaking and learning the Timberwolves’ sets. The offensive side of Dillingham’s game is already there, as he’s coming off a season in which he averaged 15.2 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range for Kentucky.

It’s that offensive side where the Wolves want the rookie to just be himself.

“Oh, I’m not going to lie, it’s helped me. Because I don’t know what they’re expecting out of my first couple days of practice,” Dillingham said Wednesday when asked what it meant to him when coaches told him to just be himself on offense. “But when he actually sat down with me and talked to me and said he wants me to be myself doing everything, it just gives me the confidence to go out there and play.

“Because if you don’t — if you don’t have confidence, you can’t really play your game. You’re nervous and if you’re not playing your game, you don’t make the right passes, which you always do. So, actually, him saying that helped me gain confidence and grow myself.”

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly previously said the team was looking for a “guy who could do his own thing” when selecting Dillingham. Connelly also praised the rookie’s “combination of elite speed, hard shot and playmaking.”

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