Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio only played 22 games in the 2014-15 season, and didn’t score much, but he still averaged a very impressive 8.8 assists per outing. His passing is fun to watch. Enjoy these video highlights:
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The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed veteran forward Tayshaun Prince.
“We’re excited to add a veteran like Tayshaun,” said Timberwolves president of basketball operations and head coach Flip Saunders. “Having coached Tayshaun for three seasons in Detroit, I know that his experience and defensive mindset will benefit our younger players. He also has shown that he can shoot from long distance, which will help our ability to stretch the floor.”
Prince give the Wolves yet another highly experienced veteran to help teach the tricks of the trade to young building blocks like Andrew Wiggins.
Prince, a 6-9 forward, averaged 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game over 58 contests between Memphis, Boston and Detroit last season. He began the season with the Grizzlies, appearing in 26 games before being acquired by Boston on Jan. 12 in a three-team trade. Prince played nine games with the Celtics before finishing the season in Detroit after a three-team deal on Feb. 19.
Prince spent the first 10-plus seasons of his 12-year career with the Pistons before being traded to Memphis on Jan. 30, 2013 in a three-team trade. He has career averages of 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 940 games. Prince’s played in all 82 games in six consecutive seasons (2003-04 – 2008-09), averaging a career-high 14.7 points on a career-best 48.7 percent from the field in 2004-05. He played under current Wolves head coach Flip Saunders from 2005-08.
Originally selected with the 23rd overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2002 NBA Draft, Prince has appeared in 140 playoff games with Detroit and Memphis, averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 35.6 minutes. He averaged a career-high 16.4 points in 18 games for the Pistons in the 2006 NBA Playoffs and averaged 9.9 points and 6.0 rebounds as Detroit won the 2004 NBA Championship.
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed veteran guard Andre Miller.
Miller, a 6-2 guard, averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 assists in 15.5 minutes per game over 81 contests between Washington and Sacramento last season. He began the season in Washington, appearing in 51 games before being acquired by Sacramento on Feb. 19 in exchange for Ramon Sessions.
Over his 16-year career, Miller has played for seven organizations (Cleveland, L.A. Clippers, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Washington and Sacramento) and averaged 12.8 points and 6.7 assists over 1,265 games. Between 1999-00 and 2012-13, he played in all but six contests over a span of 14 seasons, including playing every single game in 10 different seasons. With Cleveland in 2001-02, he led the NBA in both assists (882) and assists per game (10.9), both franchise records.
Originally selected with the 8th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1998 NBA Draft, Miller ranks first among active players and ninth in NBA history in assists (8,437). He also ranks T-5th among active players in games played (1,265) and ninth in minutes played (39,807). Miller is one of just eight players in NBA history to tally at least 16,000 points and 8,000 assists in a career.
Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting that crafty, talented super-veteran point guard Andre Miller will be joining the squad:
It was less than two weeks ago that Flip Saunders, Wolves president of basketball operations, said his team might be in the market for a veteran point guard.
He has arrived.
A source confirmed a report that Wolves had come to an agreement on a one-year contract with veteran Andre Miller, who visited the Wolves on Wednesday.
It marks an evolution in Saunders’ thinking. Immediately after moving up to draft former Apple Valley star Tyus Jones late in the first round of the draft, Saunders sounded like he might be happy with Jones as Ricky Rubio’s backup. But the fact that Rubio is coming off ankle surgery and Jones is a rookie ultimately changed Saunders’ mind.
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed reigning Euroleague Most Valuable Player forward Nemanja Bjelica (nay-MON-yah, bee-ELL-leets-zah). Bjelica, originally acquired in a draft-day trade with the Washington Wizards in 2010, was selected with the 35th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Bjelica, a 6-10 forward, was named the Euroleague MVP this past season with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey, averaging 11.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in 63 combined games between Euroleague play and the Turkish Basketball League (TBL). The 27-year-old from Serbia shot 54.1% from the floor and 37.4% from three-point range, including 39.3% from long distance during the TBL season. Bjelica was named to the 2014-15 All-Euroleague First Team, and the 2014-15 Euroleague March MVP. Before joining Fenerbahce in 2013-14, Bjelica spent three seasons with the Spanish team Laboral Kutxa Vitoria.
A member of the Serbian National Team, Bjelica won silver medals at both the 2014 World Championship and 2009 European Championship. He also played with the team at the 2011 and 2013 European Championships.
He will wear No. 88 for the Wolves this season.
Timberwolves trade Chase Budinger to Pacers
The Indiana Pacers announced Sunday they have acquired forward Chase Budinger from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Damjan Rudez.
Budinger, 6-7, 218, has six seasons of NBA experience. He was originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (44th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft. He was traded on draft night to Houston where he played three seasons before being traded to Minnesota in 2012. He has averaged 8.5 points per game in his NBA career.
“We’re very glad to have Chase,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He’s a guy we think will fit in our rotation. He can shoot and drive to the basket, which works with how we want to play. Damjan was a special guy. He was great to have as part of our team. He will be missed by all.”
Rudez, 29, played one season with the Pacers averaging 4.8 points on 45.2% shooting, including a 40.6% mark from the three-point line. The 6-10 Croatia native played in 68 contests, registering 15.4 minutes per game. The Pacers signed Rudez as a free agent on July 11, 2014. Prior to coming to the NBA, Rudez played parts of eight seasons internationally in Spain, Croatia and Slovenia.
Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting on a key member of the Minnesota Timberwolves youth movement — Zach LaVine, who averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 assists in 24.7 minutes per game last season, shooting 42.2 percent and may look to score more in 2015-16:
Zach LaVine admits he’s not very good at paintball.
In fact, the second-year Timberwolves guard has a scar on his neck to prove it after an intense introduction to the sport while spending the July 4 weekend with friends.
LaVine has been open to trying new things this summer. That also means playing more shooting guard for the Wolves.
“That’s my thinking; I played a little bit more (shooting guard) today,” he said after the first minicamp practice Monday. “You know I like to score.”
With Minnesota acquiring point guard Tyus Jones from Cleveland in a draft-day trade last month, LaVine’s future as a floor leader appeared to be numbered.
It’s always fun to see how players who have achieved success in the Euroleague wind up doing in the NBA. It’s an adjustment. And in general, even within the same league, a player’s role in one system isn’t nearly as successful in another.
As for the Timberwolves, here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting
The Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker overnight announced that Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica has exercised an opt clause in his contract to leave for the NBA,
That clears the way for the Wolves to sign him, five years after David Kahn drafted him 35th overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
Expect Bjelica to sign a three-year deal worth at least $12 million, possibly more. The Wolves will use a good portion of their mid-level exception to sign him.
He was under contract with Fenerbahce until the clock struck midnight last night.
The Minnesota Timberwolves tonight selected forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns from Kentucky with the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Towns, a 6-11 forward/center, averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.26 blocks and 21.1 minutes in 39 games (all starts) for the Wildcats this past season and was named SEC Freshman of the Year and First Team All-SEC. He shot 56.6 percent from the field, 81.3 percent from the free-throw line and recorded a team-best eight double-doubles. Towns was a Consensus Second Team All-American and was named NCAA Midwest Region Most Valuable Player after leading Kentucky to the Final Four. He scored a career-high 25 points, on 10-of-13 shooting, to lead the Wildcats past Notre Dame in the Elite Eight.
A native of Piscataway, New Jersey, Towns was a three time first-team All-State selection while playing for St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. He was named Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year in 2014 after averaging 20.9 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.2 blocks and leading St. Joseph to a 30-2 record and a state title. Towns shot 66.1 percent from the field and 82.2 percent from the free-throw line as a senior. He made 127 three pointers over his three-year high school career.
The 19-year-old Towns has been a member of the Dominican Republic National Team since 2012 and averaged 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in FIBA play.
Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune quoting Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders on the value of top NBA draft prospect Karl-Anthony Towns:
Most expect the Wolves to take Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick. And while Flip wasn’t saying who he’s taking, he did extol Towns’ virtues when asked about the Kentucky center.
Here’s what he had to say when asked about Towns’ best attributes: “Everyone talks about his versatility,” Saunders said. “He’s known right now [as] more of a defensive player. He’s very much underrated offensively, I think, because of playing [in Kentucky coach John Calipari’s] situation. By far, he’s the best pick-and-roll defensive big man in the draft. If you base things on it analytically, he’s the top analytical player, everything he’s done, on a per-minute basis. There’s a reason that people are looking at him as being one of the top players in the draft.’’
Timberwolves land first pick in 2015 NBA Draft
The Minnesota Timberwolves had the best chance to win the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at Tuesday’s Draft Lottery in New York, but by no means was it a guarantee. Yet they did it. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:
The Wolves, who very much need to bolster their front line, are expected by many to choose between two post men with the top pick, either Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Also Saunders, in a post-lottery press conference, said that is not necessarily the case. Saunders said no decision has been made on which player the Wolves want or will take. The process of evaluation and workouts will continue going forward.
And while the Wolves technically didn’t improve their position – they, of course, could not – they kept their position. It is the first time in 19 trips to the lottery that the Wolves have emerged with the top pick.
With the worst record during the regular season, the Wolves had the best chance (25 percent) of getting the first overall pick. That said, the odds were 3-to-1 against that happening. Minnesota had a 21.5 percent chance at the second pick, a 17.8 percent chance at No. 3 and a 35.7 chance at the fourth pick.
That meant a 64.28 percent chance at the top three picks.
Andrew Wiggins wins 2014-2015 NBA Rookie of Year
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who led all first-year players in scoring, is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today. He is the first Canadian-born winner of the award and the first player in the Timberwolves’ 26-year history to earn the honor.
Wiggins, 20, received 110 of 130 first-place votes and 604 total points from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic finished second with 335 points (14 first-place votes), and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers was third with 141 points (three first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Wiggins averaged 16.9 points, the second-best mark by a rookie in Minnesota history, behind Christian Laettner’s 18.2 points in 1992-93. He appeared in all 82 games and ranked fourth in the NBA with a rookie-leading 36.2 minutes, the highest average ever by a Timberwolves rookie. The 6-8 Wiggins led or tied for the Minnesota lead in scoring a team-high 25 times and reached the 20-point mark in 31 games. He finished ninth in the NBA in free throws made (354) and sixth in free throws attempted (466), good for 76.0 percent. Wiggins also averaged 4.6 rebounds and 1.05 steals, both top-10 marks among rookies.
The top pick of the 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, Wiggins was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month in October/November, December, January and February. His best statistical month came in January, when he averaged 19.8 points on 47.1 percent shooting in 17 games, including a season-high 33 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted Wiggins and traded him to Minnesota on Aug. 23, 2014. Wiggins finished the season strong, scoring at least 20 points in 10 of his last 13 games.
Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced guard Ricky Rubio underwent diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. The surgery was performed this morning by Dr. Richard Ferkel of Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, California.
Rubio is expected to make a full recovery this summer.
The point guard is a flashy, exciting player — when actually on the court. Which sadly was rare this season. Rubio played just 22 games, scoring a mere 10.8 ppg on 35.6% shooting, along with 8.8 apg and 1.7 spg. As nice a playmaker that he is, Rubio’s value in the league has a ceiling on it as long as his shooting remains a problem.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced that center Nikola Pekovic underwent a successful debridement and repair of his right Achilles this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson at Ortho Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pekovic will be sidelined indefinitely. An update on his progress will be provided when appropriate.
Pekovic played in 31 games this season, averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. The five-year veteran holds career averages of 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Wolves are 16-61 through Tuesday’s games, which is the second worst record in the league. The NBA’s regular season ends in one week, on Wednesday, April 15.
Timberwolves sign Arinze Onuaku
The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed forward Arinze Onuaku (Ah-rin-zay On-ooh-ah-koo) for the remainder of this season. The Timberwolves were granted an NBA hardship exception for a 16th roster spot due to having four players out due to injury.
Onuaku, 27, averaged 17.5 points, on 62.2% shooting, and 12.2 rebounds in 41 games this season for the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League. He was named to the NBADL All-Star Game for the third consecutive season. Onuaku was signed by the Indiana Pacers on September 5, 2014 after playing with their NBA Summer League team. He was waived by the Pacers on October 25, 2014.
The 6-10 forward played in three games for the New Orleans Pelicans and two games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013-14, averaging 0.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in those five games. In May of 2014, he joined the Chongqing Flying Dragons for the 2014 Chinese NBL, and averaged 28.6 points and 14.8 rebounds in 19 games. Onuaku averaged 14.8 points, on 62.8% shooting, and 10.1 rebounds for Canton in 2013-14 and 12.6 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Charge in 2012-13.
Onuaku went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft after a four-year career with Syracuse University where he averaged 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 134 games. He finished his collegiate career first on Syracuse’s all-time field goal percentage list at 64.8% (540-for-833).
Nikola Pekovic needs surgery, season is over
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced center Nikola Pekovic will undergo a debridement and repair of his right Achilles. The surgery will be performed on Wednesday, April 8 by Dr. Robert Anderson at Ortho Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pekovic will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. An update on his progress will be provided when appropriate.
Pekovic played in 31 games this season, averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. The five-year veteran holds career averages of 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Timberwolves sign guard Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. The Timberwolves were granted an NBA hardship exception for a 16th roster spot due to having four players out due to injury.
Kilpatrick, 25, has averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 42 games this season with Delaware and Santa Cruz of the NBADL. Kilpatrick, 6-4, went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after a four-year career at the University of Cincinnati. Kilpatrick finished his career with averages of 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 140 contests, earning Second-Team All-America honors his senior season. Kilpatrick was signed by the Golden State Warriors on October 20, 2014 and waived on October 24, 2014 after playing with the Philadelphia 76ers on their 2014 NBA Summer League team.
Gary Neal scores 27, Wolves upset Blazers
Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on a nice home win for the Timberwolves — just their 14th victory of the season. Neal has only played six games so far this season, averaging 11.7 points in 26.3 minutes per outing:
Gary Neal’s hand seemed just fine.
The Wolves guard suffered a right hand contusion during Friday’s practice but served as a spark off the bench in the 121-113 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at Target Center. Neal finished with 27 points, his fourth consecutive game scoring in double figures.
“I was a little bit nervous before [Friday], but he should probably get his hand hit before every game,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said.
Up five with eight minutes left, Neal scored 11 consecutive points, extending the Wolves’ lead to 98-93 with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left. The stretch ended with Neal drilling an off-balance jumper that was tightly contested by Dorell Wright. Then Blazers guard Steve Blake bit on Neal’s pump fake, creating a wide open jump shot that forced Blazers coach Terry Stotts to call timeout.
Timberwolves add Justin Hamilton, waive Glenn Robinson III
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has claimed center Justin Hamilton off waivers. He’s bench material and adds a bit of frontcourt depth, especially while Nikola Pekovic isn’t at 100% health.
Hamilton, 24, has played in 24 games (five starts) this season with the Miami Heat, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. In his second year out of Louisiana State University, the 7-0 center played in eight games last season for Miami and the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging 3.3 points and 0.9 rebounds per game. Hamilton was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 45th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Hamilton was traded from the Heat to the New Orleans Pelicans on February 19, 2015. He did not appear in a game with the Pelicans before being waived on March 3, 2015.
Robinson III appeared in 25 games this season with Minnesota, averaging 1.2 points in 4.3 minutes per contest. The Wolves drafted the 6-7 forward with the 40th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.
In a subsequent move, the team has waived forward Glenn Robinson III.
The Wolves roster stands at 15 players.
Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders may team up and try to buy Timberwolves
Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting on a fun possibility in Minnesota:
The contract extension Kevin Garnett, 38, will sign with the Timberwolves this summer will be for two years. During that period, Garnett and Wolves president-coach Flip Saunders are expected to try to form a group to buy the team from Glen Taylor.
Garnett has amassed more than $325 million in salaries during 20 seasons in the NBA. Saunders, who turns 60 on Monday, has made an estimated $40 million during 17 seasons as a NBA coach.
The Wolves, for whom Taylor paid $88 million in 1994, were valued at $625 million last January by Forbes. Taylor, who turns 74 in April, is amenable to taking in more limited partners. But he’s not interested in selling his team until he finds out what the Atlanta Hawks, who are for sale and currently are taking bids, end up going for.