Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves played their first game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, which resulted in a 100-104 loss to one of the favorites for Western Conference Champs.
In that game, the Timberwolves debuted three new players: Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams & J.J. Barea. Rubio & Williams are both rookies this season and J.J. was acquired in free agency as a backup point guard.
Malcolm Lee was active for yesterday's game, but received a DNP (did not play) in the game (understandable when he's behind Rubio, Ridnour & Barea on the depth chart. The other new addition to the Wolves this offseason, but he's currently injured while he recovers from offseason knee surgery. He was recently cleared for some light running drills, but isn't expected back on the floor for another two or three weeks.
Let's start with RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRicky RRRRRRRRRRRRubio!! Ricky made his long-awaited debut for the Timberwolves and he certainly didn't disappoint! Coming off the bench behind Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio played 26 minutes and had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. He shot 67% from the field, 100% from the line, but posted a -1 +/-. Watching the tape, five of Rubio's six assists came on bounce passes! Every assist, was ultra-impressive! He's put a countdown on when he takes over the starting point guard job from Ridnour. Every time he entered the game, made a bucket, or dished a pass, the Target Center crowd erupted. Already a fan favorite...for good reasons--he's flat out, fun to watch!
Derrick Williams also made his debut off the bench. In 24 minutes D-Will had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He shot 6-for-14 from the field, but like most of the Wolves last night--struggled from deep missing all four of his 3-point attempts! His thirteen points tied Kemba Walker for the most points for an NBA rookie, in his debut, this season. He's already proven he'll be a big boost off the Wolves' bench and during the time, we get to see that Beasley/Williams/Love frontcourt, is almost as fun as watching the backcourt of Rubio & Barea! In D-Will the Timberwolves have a great sixth man off the bench--not something the Wolves had last season!
World Champion J.J. Barea made his NBA debut for Minnesota last night as well. In 27 minutes off the bench he contributed 14 points (leading the Wolves' bench scoring), 2 rebounds & 2 assists. He shot 6-for-11 from the field and boasted a +11 in +/-. Like the rest of the new Wolves additions he's, going to be a lot of fun to watch go to work. His slashing through the lane and blinding quickness are superb when combined with Rubio's playmaking and defensive abilities!
If there was any doubt before, the answer will come tonight. That question? Is this team really a "different" team than last seasons? Sure, they hung tough, blow-for-blow with one of the best team's in the League last night, but the BIG questions? Can they defend, can they get stops, can they close games (clearly a HUGE problem last season). They've proved their resilient, but do they have the ability to close out the games. Because, it really doesn't matter that they hung with one of the League's best for 48 minutes, because at the end of the season--it's just another loss. We'll get a good look at the Wolves tonight (in their first back-to-back) and whether or not, they're a "different" team!
Thanks for reading, if you haven't already check out our gameday preview for tonight's game in Milwaukee under the Gameday section of this site! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Beyond the shooting guard position, the next biggest question mark for the Wolves (position-wise) is who will be playing center.
The Timberwolves currently have three centers on the payroll--as well as three forwards who can also play some five.
That list includes, centers: Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic & Brad Miller. The other three are: Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph & Anthony Tolliver.
You can find full preseason analysis' from the preseason of Love & "both the Anthonys" in the forwards preseason analysis post.
Let's take a look at how our centers did this preseason...
DARKO MILICIC: 7pts, 8rebs, 2ast, 3blks, 1stl, 4fls, 2tos, 2-for-4 (50%) FG, 3-for-5 (60%) FT, in 2 games--34 minutes first as a starter, second off the bench
--I loved watching Darko go to work this preseason. Darko played to his strengths and wasn't forced to do try and be the Pau Gasol of the triangle offense--that Rambis was ramming down everyone's throat the past two seasons. For Adelman he'll take shots when open, but most importantly he's the Wolves' best post defender--blocking shots and going head-to-head against the NBAs best big men. Not an impressive stat line, but he'll get plenty of time because of his defensive effort. So long as we never have to have our head coach try and make Darko Milicic the focal point of the offense!
NIKOLA PEKOVIC: 6pts, 6rebs, 1stl, 4fls, 2tos, 2-for-3 (67%) FG, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 2 games--16 minutes, first game off the bench--second as a starter
--His first game wasn't anything to write home about, playing just four minutes with 2pts & a rebound. However, his second game, he started--played the entire first quarter; and delivered with 4pts, 5rebs and a steal in those 12 minutes. He only played the first quarter because he injured his groin. He hasn't practiced the past few days and likely won't play in Monday's opener vs. OKC. I predicted before the first game of the preseason, he could very well be the TWolves' starting center. I still feel he very well could happen at some point in the season (I'm not talking for just a game in the season). He's a tough, big presence in the lane, hopefully he heals quickly and starts working toward more playing time this season. His biggest hinderance will be whether or not he can stay out of foul trouble!
BRAD MILLER: N/A
--Brad Miller didn't see any time this preseason as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. The word is, he'll likely be able to get back on the court to start practicing in January. Miller was of course acquired in a draft day deal with the Houston Rockets that sent some picks as well as Jonny Flynn to the Rockets for the some picks and the veteran big man. He's a welcome addition as he's VERY familiar with Adelman's system (considering he played for him in both Sacramento & Houston for a number of years). He can definitely still play and will certainly challenge Darko & Nikola for minutes, however his biggest contribution to the Wolves will be his veteran presence as well as the knowledge and experience in Adelman's system that he can pass down to Minnesota's big men. Hopefully we'll get to see him on the practice court and in the lineups very soon!
That's all for now. If you haven't already check out the two other separate posts--one analyzing the guards and the other: forwards. Also stay tuned for a gameday preview (I should finish it sometime tonight or tomorrow sometime). Until then, have a Happy Holidays and GO WOLVES!
Today, we're taking a look at the performance of the Wolves' forwards this preseason. Yesterday, we analyzed the guard positions which included: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington & Bonzi Wells.
Today, we'll be looking at the stat lines of the two preseason games from: Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams, Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph & Anthony Tolliver.
The forward position is definitely a position the Timberwolves have plenty of. At the small forward: Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph & Martell Webster will all see playing time. Williams will be working on his perimeter defense so he can play more time at the three--and of course Martell Webster is still recovering from offseason back surgery to correct a herniated disc in his back (he'll also play some 2-guard). At the power forward, the majority of time will go to all-star Kevin Love, also seeing time at the four will be Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph & Anthony Tolliver.
Let's take a look at how these guys did this preseason...
MICHAEL BEASLEY: 33pts, 8rebs, 3ast, 2blks, 1stl, 4fls, 2tos, 11-for-27 (41%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) 3PT, 10-for-12 (83%) FT in 2 games--58 minutes as a starter
--As per usual, Beas takes a lot of shots and doesn't make too many. He had a good first game, scoring 21pts in 27 minutes. As usual, he's not extremely active on the boards--with Love on the court, he doesn't need to. I mentioned in the gameday recaps of the two preseason games that Beasley surprisingly still takes a lot of shots in Adelman's system, often times he'd stop the ball and isolate, working to get his own shot--not keeping the ball moving and allowing to be set up. I suppose it works when his shot is falling, but too often that's not the case! He's in luck though, he doesn't have Derrick Williams "breathing down his neck" for playing time--as D-Will has struggled to defend on the perimeter--having Adelman focus him on playing solely power forward. One last thing: it was a pleasant surprise to see his turnover rate drop drastically compared to last season. Just 2 turnovers in 58 minutes of two games, is incredible for Beas--considering he had games of 7-8+ turnovers some days!
DERRICK WILLIAMS: 18pts, 5rebs, 1blk, 1stl, 3fls, 3tos, 7-for-12 (58%) FG, 3-for-5 (60%) 3PT, 1-for-1 (100%) FT, in 2 games--35 minutes off the bench
--The frontcourt of Beasley/Williams/Love was one of the more exciting lineups to watch this preseason. Williams is an exciting player, but he's still pretty "raw". He'll take a bit of time to get acclimated, but he'll also need to work himself into more playing time as he battles in with a plethora of forwards for minutes. Like most of the Wolves' players, he had a great first game, racking up 14pts on 63% shooting in 21 minutes off the bench. He's packed on a bit more muscle since college and now has even more strength and "girth" to work with in the paint against opposing big men. There are likely a few games he'll start this season, when Adelman decides to start Kevin Love at the center. We'll see how he performs going on. One thing is for sure--5rebs in 35 minutes of two games isn't ideal for a full-time power forward.
KEVIN LOVE: 43pts, 31rebs, 7ast, 1blk, 1stl, 8fls, 3tos, 14-for-23 (61%) FG, 6-for-11 (55%) 3PT, 9-for-11 (82%) FT, in 2 games--54 minutes as a starter
--If there was any doubt that Kevin Love wasn't the best player on this year's squad--those questions were answered in the preseason. Both games he scored over 20pts & grabbed 15rebs, he began dishing the ball off more--racking up 7ast. A slimmer Kevin Love was fun to watch go to work on both ends of the floor. If there was any question whether he was deserving of a maximum contract before--that was answered this offseason (see our post on this topic under our News & Rumors section). As I said before I'm excited about a Beas/D-Will/Love frontcourt. We saw it for a bit the first game, but the big concern will be whether Love can guard 7-foot centers. Generously listed at 6-10 (more like 6-8), Love is certainly more mobile now with the weight loss, but I guarantee you won't see him out there covering Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum--it'll be centers like OKC's Kendrick Perkins, ATL's Al Horford, BOS' Jermaine O'Neal, CLE's Anderson Varejo etc.--smaller centers that don't have a big advantage over Love (height-wise). Good chance we'll see another all-star appearance & rebounding title this year. His three-point shooting should be fun to watch as well!
ANTHONY RANDOLPH: 8pts, 4rebs, 2fls, 4tos, 1-for-7 (14%) FG, 0-for-0 (0%) 3PT, 6-for-8 (75%) FT, in 2 games--20 minutes off the bench
--The most underwhelming performance of the preseason goes to...Mr. Randolph. Randolph underperformed in pretty much every way possible. Shot just 14% from the field, scored just 8pts & grabbed 4 boards. Watching him out there, it was "kinda sad" he was trying VERY hard, but absolutely nothing was working for him. Well, I won't say that...he did shoot 75% from the line. Hopefully he can turn things around. He could be a great player in this league--a lot of potential! His ability to play three different positions (SF, PF, C) is a big asset for the Wolves, hopefully he can contribute for Minnesota!
ANTHONY TOLLIVER: 9pts, 5rebs, 2blks, 1stl, 7fls, 3tos, 3-for-8 (38%) FG, 2-for-6 (33%) 3PT, 1-for-1 (100%) FT, in 2 games--36 minutes off the bench
--Señor Hustle! His hustle and willingness to dive for loose balls, defend both on the perimeter & in the post, knock down the three and ultimately do anything the Wolves ask of him, makes him one of the most important players on this team. His stat line won't really ever be anything too impressive, however what doesn't show up in the stat line is exactly what Tolliver does best! He'll see time this year at both the 4 and the 5. I don't know how much small forward he'll play, but hopefully Adelman will get him time on the floor.
MARTELL WEBSTER: N/A
--Martell didn't play any preseason games as he's recovering from some offseason back surgery to correct a herniated disc in his back. He had the surgery on September 28th and is listed as out indefinitely. It's too bad Webster won't be available (possibly at all) this season. His ability to play guard and forward, would have been huge for the Wolves, whose biggest concerns now lie at the shooting guard and a backup small forward!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for a Center Preseason Analysis coming later today! Also we'll put out the gameday preview for the Wolves' opener on Monday vs. Oklahoma City hopefully latertonight! Look for both of those coming soon! Have a Happy Holidays & GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves concluded their NBA preseason last Wednesday versus the Bucks. In two games, the TWolves went undefeated (both against Milwaukee). We got to see sixteen different Timberwolves players put their skills to the test, to try and prove they belong in Adelman's 9-10 man rotation.
Today, we'll take a look at how our guards did this preseason.
As of today, the Timberwolves' roster now stands at fifteen after Minnesota waived veteran guard Bonzi Wells--who was looking to make an NBA comeback after a three-year hiatus from the League.
The guards under contract are as follows: Luke Ridnour (PG), Ricky Rubio (G), J.J. Barea (G), Malcolm Lee (G), Wesley Johnson (G-F), Wayne Ellington (SG)
Let's take a look at how our guards did this preseason...
LUKE RIDNOUR: 20pts, 1reb, 7ast, 2stls, 3fls, 4tos, 8-for-17 (47%) FG, 2-for-4 (50%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 2 games--49 minutes as a starter
--Luke was the starter in both preseason games, but I wouldn't expect that to last much longer. I believe he'll be the starter on opening day, but eventually Ricky will take over as the starter. Ridnour did all right. But, ultimately he's a role player and a mentor. He's a great three-point shooter, free-throw shooter and is solid at layups and floaters in the lane.
RICKY RUBIO: 6pts, 6rebs, 7ast, 2stls, 1fl, 1to, 1-for-4 (25%) FG, 0-for-1 (0%) 3PT, 4-for-4 (100%) FT, in 1 game--24 minutes off the bench
--An ankle injury early in the first game, allowed us to only see Rubio in one game this preseason. He sat out the second as a precaution to be sure he'd be ready for the opener vs. Oklahoma City on Monday. In those 24 minutes during game one, we saw some great passes, solid defense and even some rebounding from the young guard. His scoring was less than impressive, but that's ultimately not his game. If he averages 8pts, 10ast, 4rebs & 1stl a game as a starter this season, he'll be exactly what the TWolves need out of their point guard.
J.J. BAREA: 14pts, 3rebs, 6ast, 3fls, 3tos, 5-for-10 (50%) FG, 2-for-3 (67%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 1 game--26 minutes off the bench
--Another point guard, a champion, a leader, a veteran presence. He'll be a great guard off the bench for the Wolves this season--and when we saw that Rubio--Barea backcourt it was surprisingly effective and it was a disappoint we couldn't see it in the second game, however like Rubio, Barea was out with a minor thigh injury--he should also be good to go for the opener on Monday.
MALCOLM LEE: 12pts, 5rebs, 5ast, 3fls, 4tos, 2stls, 4-for-7 (57%) FG, 1-for-1 (100%) 3PT, 3-for-4 (75%) FT, in 2 games--28 minutes off the bench
--We didn't see much of Lee in the first game, with all guards healthy. However, in the second game he played 24 minutes as the main backup point guard behind Luke Ridnour. The second round pick rookie may not get a lot of time at the point guard this season, however at 6-5 he's got the length and quickness to play the shooting guard as well and could very well eat up a lot of time while competing with Johnson & Ellington for minutes (two players who weren't spectacular during the preseason). The coaching staff has liked what they've seen from Lee and I must admit--in the game on Wednesday--so did I!
WESLEY JOHNSON: 10pts, 10rebs, 2ast, 2stls, 2fls, 2tos, 3-for-9 (33%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) 3PT, 3-for-4 (75%) FT, in 2 games--42 minutes (1st as starter--2nd off the bench)
--If it wasn't clear that Wesley should play small forward full-time rather than shooting guard, his preseason performance showed he just looked lost out on the court. Johnson played over 40 minutes and could only muster 10pts?! He's an athletic player, but as a rookie last year--this year he's already 24-years-old (almost 25). He could be a solid role player on this team, even though they're loaded with forwards. Hopefully Adelman will be able to continue to mold him into a solid shooting guard, but I didn't like what I saw. Will he be the starting shooting guard come Monday's opener? The Wolves don't really have any other options.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: 13pts, 2rebs, 1ast, 1blk, 2fls, 1to, 4-for-10 (40%) FG, 3-for-4 (75%) 3PT, 2-for-2 (100%) FT, in 2 games--33 minutes (1st off the bench--2nd as a starter)
--Ellington is a great shooter, a hard worker, who does anything the coaching staff asks of him, however, I don't see him grabbing too much time with all these guards. Guys like Barea & Lee (besides Wes) will take up a lot of time at the two-guard. Ellington is a good prospect, however in Adelman's 9-10 man rotation--he seems to be the odd-guard out. I could be wrong though--we'll have to wait and see (of course injuries could change this as well).
BONZI WELLS: 3pts, 4rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 5fls, 2tos, 1-for-7 (14%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) FT, in 2 games--25 minutes off the bench
--That stat line doesn't exactly look NBA material to me, that's obviously the reason he didn't make the team. Bonzi was attempting to make an NBA comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he didn't look very good out there in the two preseason games he had. Adelman had said he can definitely still play, he just wasn't sure he'd be able to play for Minnesota. I'm not sure if he'll be able to hook up with another team, unless of course he decides to play in the D-League to really show he still CAN play. I really hope he can hop on with a team at some point this season..but chances do seem slim.
One of the biggest questions for the Wolves moving into the season is who will be the starting shooting guard and/or who will take up the most time at that position. As well as, will Adelman be able to allocate time between four different point guards (especially Rubio, Barea & Ridnour) evenly? The opening week could answer a lot of these questions.
That's all for now, stay tuned for the Forward Preseason Analysis coming soon! As well as the center & a gameday preview for the Dec. 26th opener vs. Oklahoma City before tipoff on Monday. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Is Kevin Love worth a maximum contract? It's a question that continues to surface when you talk about the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Love is a budding young star who is years from his prime. The defending rebounding champion, last year's Most Improved Player of the Year and he's coming off his first (of hopefully many) All-Star appearances.
The deadline for Minnesota to sign him to an extension is January 25th. If they're unable to come to an agreement by then, Love will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2012. Being a restricted free agent, he'll be able to sign a qualifying offer with another team. The Timberwolves will then have a period of time to match that offer or let him sign elsewhere. Alternatively, Love can accept a one-year deal with Minnesota to return for the 2012-13 season. That would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent the following summer--summer 2013. Meaning he could sign anywhere without "restriction".
This offseason saw three big men handed "insanely bloated contracts". Memphis' Marc Gasol, New York's Tyson Chandler & Denver's Nene Hilario all nabbed offers that will pay them between $13M & $14M over the next 4-5 years. Sure, centers are going to be paid more if they're even remotely "skilled".
So, the question remains: Does Kevin Love deserve a maximum contract extension? Kevin Love would likely garner an offer that would pay him between $82-$95M over the next five years. Is he worth it? In my opinion: Just pay the man already! He's a young player, he's still not in his prime, he's likely to go down as one of the greatest rebounders ever (if he continues on the pace, he's on), he's an all-star (likely to make many more appearances).
The biggest thing is the success of Minnesota the next two seasons. He'll be with Minnesota until at least 2013 and that means that the Timberwolves need to show some drastic improvement if they want to keep Love. Like any player, he wants to win a championship--if he doesn't feel he can do that in Minnesota--he'll move on!
David Kahn has said that he won't discuss any contract negotiations with Love's agent publicly, other than to call the matter "very important". He also says he expects Love will play for the Wolves for "many, many" years.
Following Wednesday's game in Milwaukee, Love was asked about if he's decided to seek a maximum contract, Love said, "Not really. I'm still thinking things through. It's just going to depend on what they think is right and what me and my agent decide as well. We'll look at the scenarios."
When Rick Adelman accepted the head coaching job in September, it was partially to do with his relationship with Kevin Love--which dates back to Kevin's high school days when Adelman's son and him played on the same team. "When I talked to them about this job, the understanding was we'll all sit down and we're going to talk about where we go with it," Adelman said. "He's a key part of this team. Obviously he's come to camp in very, very good shape. That decision really comes down to (owner) Glen (Taylor). He's the one who has to pay the salary and make that kind of commitment. But, certainly we'll give our input on where we think we are with him. I don't know the economics of it all. I probably won't get involved in that, but I will give my opinion on where I think he stands with the team now and in the future."
Love has shown early (this preseason) that he's dominant, a leader and wants to win...NOW! In two preseason games against Milwaukee, Love tallied 43pts, 31rebs, 7ast, 1stl, 1blk, 14-for-23 from the field (61%), 6-for-11 from three (55%) and 14-for-17 from the line (82%) in 54 minutes of preseason action. Which in the second game included two minutes in the fourth quarter that he scored 10 straight points that were capped by two free throws from Michael Beasley to give the Wolves the win by one-point!
Kevin Love is the face of the franchise. Whether analysts believe he can be or not, HE IS! Most say he's a third-best player on a championship-contender. With all the young talent on Minnesota's roster--and he still averages over 20pts & 15rebs, he can be a franchise player!
That's all for now. Within the next few days I'll have a gameday preview for the regular season opener vs. Oklahoma City at the Target Center on Dec. 26th. Look for that soon, until then, have a Happy Holidays, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be without point guards: Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea for the team's preseason finale in Milwaukee tomorrow night. Neither player travelled with the team Tuesday night as they nurse some minor injuries.
Ricky is recovering from a rolled ankle he suffered early in Saturday's game. He retreated briefly into the locker room to have his ankle re-taped. He returned quickly and finished with a solid 6pts, 6rebs, 7ast in just under 25 minutes.
J.J. is recovering from a thigh injury. Like Ricky, it's a minor injury. These two players sitting out is simply so there's no doubt they'll be available for the Wolves' regular season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 26th.
With two of the Wolves' top guards out; Luke Ridnour, Malcolm Lee, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Bonzi Wells will all get more minutes, it's possibly a good thing as they'll get a chance to prove their worth. Especially Bonzi who is still competing for a roster spot. Adelman has said that he can still play, but he's unsure the Wolves have room for him on their squad.
That's all for now, if you haven't already take a look at the Gameday Preview for tomorrow's game versus the Bucks under the Gameday section on this site. You can also find a gameday recap in the same spot following the final horn of tomorrow night's game. GO WOLVES!
The Timberwolves held their seventh day of training camp today, however this afternoon the Wolves were practicing in Mankato. Following today's practice the team had dinner with Owner Glen Taylor at this home. They'll practice once more in Mankato tomorrow morning before heading back to the Target Center.
Today was J.J. Barea's & Bonzi Wells' first day of practice and they both reportedly "looked good". From the TWolvesPR twitter account, they said that Bonzi is proving he's still got some left in the tank. The 35-year-old has knocked down shots and gotten to the rim. He's currently on the training camp roster, however, he's not guaranteed a roster spot as the Wolves already have 15 players under contract--my guess: he's still a long-shot to make the roster. J.J. also had a good first practice, making plays on both ends of the floor--scoring & playmaking.
There are others impressing at camp. As per usual, Anthony Tolliver is Mr. Hustle--working the boards, playing hard, diving for loose balls & he even crashed into a basket stansion. Always good to have a high-energy hustling player on the squad. Wayne Ellington is another Wolf proving his worth through this first week of practice. Ellington has been making all the right plays, he came into camp in great shape, a true professional & he's seemingly knocked down every open shot during practice! Could he battle Wes for the starting shooting guard spot? I'd say so. Of course, so could J.J. & Malcolm Lee, who've both been impressive.
Then of course, there's some players struggling through the first week. Apparently the Timberwolves' first round pick Derrick Williams is no longer being asked to play any small forward for the Wolves. He's struggled mightily guarding Michael Beasley in practice and Adelman says he's asking him to just play power forward for now.
Speaking of lineups, Rick Adelman was asked following today's practice as to whether he'd have a set starting lineup this season, Adelman says, "I've always preferred to have one, but perhaps that's unrealistic going into this season." Maybe it's just me, but he seems a little "unhappy" with the Wolves thus far in training camp. Yesterday, he tore them apart when discussing the Wolves' inability to control the ball and not turn it over. Adelman did say, after today's practice, "We took care of the ball better than yesterday." Could J.J. have something to do with that? I'd think so. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune says that Nikola Pekovic could potentially be the starting center going into the season. Rick Adelman has also said that Kevin Love may start at center against some teams, but sounded concerned that doing that too much would risk him getting into early foul trouble.
That's all I've got for now. Thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your Tmberwolves' news, information & updates all year round! The Wolves' first preseason game is coming up on Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks. We'll have a gamedaGO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves officially announced the signing of J.J. Barea last night in a press conference held around 5:30. J.J. joins a crowded backcourt already filled with Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington & Malcolm Lee.
J.J. will be a combo guard, much like Ricky & Lee. Some question whether a 5-11 guard can really play off the ball and be successful on both ends of the floor. Obviously the Wolves don't intend on starting or playing Barea off the ball all the time, however in Rick Adelman's system he's proven he can make it work. Examples on his teams throughout his coaching career: Terry Porter & Danny Ainge in Portland, Mike Bibby & Bobby Jackson in Sacramento, and Kyle Lowry & Aaron Brooks in Houston. There's no doubt a Rubio--Barea backcourt will work.
At the press conference Barea fielded some questions regarding his decision to play for Minnesota after it became apparent the Mavericks didn't intend on resigning him. The main reason..."Minnesota showed me the most interest. Also the system--Rick Adelman is a great coach," said J.J. I assume, he means by the "most interest"--the "most money". As the Wolves shelled out 4-years and $19M--the only other bidder? The New York Knicks offering a year and $2.5M. In J.J.'s case he chose money over a contender.
Barea says he'll be ready to practice tomorrow. He couldn't today because his deal wasn't completely finalized. He does seem happy to be playing with this bunch however, "I played with Kevin in some exhibition games. He's a great dude. There are a lot of good guys here. It will be fun."
David Kahn seems equally excited about J.J. joining the team and knows his leadership will be invaluable, "J.J. will help all twelve guys as far as leadership goes. He proved he can lead--during the 2011 postseason."
From undrafted free agent, to the D-League, to the Mavericks in 2006 and finally to a champion in 2011, J.J. has a rags to riches-esque story, hopefully those riches will still be worth it in 2015 when he's 31!
Luke Ridnour is one Timberwolf, however, they may not be all to thrilled with Barea's arrival. He's reportedly declined comments the past few days and has some concerns as to whether playing time will be split equally among the Wolves' three point guards. Adelman says, "I've got to put the best players I have out on the floor and our three point guards are all good players." They may put him at ease for now, however I suspect that by the March Trade Deadline, Luke won't be donning a TWolves uni. I do believe he'll be here for at least the first third of the season however!
Rick Adelman likes the signing (though, David Kahn says Adelman definitely played a part in J.J. becoming a TWolf) as he's certainly worried with the teams carefree ballhandling & passing, "I don't think I've ever seen a group that's as good at turning the ball over as this one," Adelman states. He did inherit the team that led the League in turnover last season. Adelman later joked (somewhat), "I just told them (the team) I petitioned the League to give us a point for every turnover and they denied it." Funny, however it won't be if it continues to happen. Hopefully J.J. will be able to help with that, "The way we're handling the ball, I need ballhandlers on the floor and guys who can make plays," Adelman says--and Barea certainly fits that bill.
Ricky Rubio is also excited about the Barea signing. Hmm, everyone seems to be, but I still feel uneasy--maybe it's just me? Anyway...Rubio took to Twitter yesterday to welcome J.J. to Minnesota, "just finish the practice. Happy to have a champion in our team. Welcome J.J. I can't wait to start playing some games."
OTHER NOTES: Just two quick ones for ya.....Former TWolves head coach Kurt Rambis (now working for ESPN as an analyst of sorts) was talking on ESPN last night about the Chris Paul trade that included the Timberwolves' first round pick in the 2012 draft that went from the Clippers to the Hornets. In reference to that pick, Rambis stated, ".....and we can't forget that first round pick from Minnesota--that you know is going to be a lottery pick....." Rambis--obviously taking the opportunity to take shot at his former squad. Obviously, he's envious that he was fired and replaced by a REAL head coach and I simply can't wait till that pick becomes higher than most anticipate....maybe 10-16?--which is still good for the 2012 draft which is projected to be--possibly--one of the strongest in recent memory.......And lastly, the Timberwolves waived Devean George and Will Conroy yesterday. Both were training camp invitees. George, wanted to remain with the Wolves as possibly a player development coach, if he didn't get a spot on the roster, no word on whether the Wolves will do so, however with two guys already on staff in the PD area, chances are slim.
That's all for now, thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your Timberwolves news, information and updates all year round. GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves have just completed a trade that will send second-year forward Lazar Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder for two future second round picks.
Hayward didn't attend practice today which led to speculation that he may have been waived by the Wolves.
Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti says, "We are excited to be able to add Lazar to our organization. His toughness, length and shooting are attributes that'll add depth to our roster."
There's been some speculation by fans that this trade was to make room for a potential Jamal Crawford signing, however, that's not the case. It's to make room for newly acquired guard J.J. Barea. In fact, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune has said Crawford's agent has made it known that the Timberwolves are no longer "in the running" for his services. On a sidenote, the Pacers, Blazers, Kings & Knicks are all potential destinations for Jamal.
In this trade to OKC the TWolves also got guard Robert Vaden--who they waived immediately. With this trade and the J.J. Barea signing, the TWolves current roster sits at the max number of players: 15. As noted yesterday, the Timberwolves finalized deals for rookies Derrick Williams & Malcolm Lee late last week.
OTHER NOTES: Bonzi Wells finally got FIBA clearance to participate in training camp--today was his first day......Kevin Love injured his elbow in practice today, however Rick Adelman downplayed the seriousness of any injury.....J.J. Barea was flying to Minnesota late this afternoon and should be practicing with the Wolves in the next few days.....The Wolves also cut training camp invitees: Dominique Johnson & Shaun Pruitt.....And now for some Rick Adelman quotes following today's practice......RA on Wes: "we don't want him to be just a jump shooter...his attitude has been terrific".......RA on the team: "I like the willingness (of the players) to try to do the right thing, we're still throwing the ball away too many times".......RA on Malcolm Lee: "he's impressed all the coaches, he's a versatile player, tough defender".....Finally, Wes Johnson on the Wolves signing J.J. Barea: "That
That's all for now, thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your Timberwolves news, information & updates all year round. Also, check back soon to the media-pics link for some new pictures from the past couple days of camp. GO WOLVES!
As reported earlier, J.J. Barea had agreed, in principal, to a 4-year $19M deal with the Timberwolves. Since then, the deal has become official and Barea is one of three new Timberwolves....
The J.J. Barea deal--although official won't be announce by the Wolves or the league for a few more days because with all the deals and trades recently, the league office is reportedly a bit backed up with paperwork.
Rookie and #2 overall pick Derrick Williams came to an agreement with the Timberwolves that was made official today.
Rookie and 2nd round pick (43rd overall) Malcolm Lee has also officially joined the Timberwolves--with a three-year deal. Last week we talked about how he hasn't had a contract while in training camp, but had decided to show up and play nonetheless--to show what he can do. Apparently he did just that, as some consider his contract to mirror that of a 1st round pick and not a 2nd round pick. His contract is for 3-years all fully guaranteed--obviously he showed the Wolves what he could do!
That's all for now, thanks for reading! Stay tuned all year round for all your TWolves news, information & updates. GO WOLVES!
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