Archive for the ‘ Minnesota T-Wolves Blog ’ Category

Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting that the Timberwolves frontcourt is about to get a bit deeper:

Adreian Payne was back participating in practice Tuesday after he was medically cleared to play.

Payne has been out since early February with a low platelet count. He is officially questionable for the Wolves’ home game against the Clippers on Wednesday. Thibodeau said Payne has a long way to go conditioning-wise but added it was good to have him back on the floor.

“It’s very nice,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “You always worry about his health, and just to see him out here playing with us, working out, everything is a huge bonus. It’s been definitely a journey for him recently, but just glad to see he’s getting healthy and he’s ready to play.”

The NBA game scheduled for this evening between the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN has been postponed due to unsafe playing conditions on the arena floor.

The game will be rescheduled at a later date.

Timberwolves may want Derrick Rose

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the Timberwolves and Knicks PG Derrick Rose:

Timberwolves may want Derrick Rose

The Timberwolves are among several teams that have talked to New York about acquiring point guard Derrick Rose before Thursday’s trade deadline, ESPN.com reported Monday night.

Rose played for Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago for five seasons, and his contract with this season’s $21.3 million salary expires this summer

Zach LaVine undergoes ACL surgery

Zach LaVine undergoes ACL surgery

Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine underwent surgery today to reconstruct the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee. The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in collaboration with Timberwolves Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Diane Dahm of Mayo Clinic. Timberwolves Director of Athletic Therapy Matt Duhamel accompanied LaVine.

The injury occurred during the Timberwolves vs. Detroit Pistons game on Friday, February 3.

A timeline for his return to activity will be established at a later date, but he is expected to be out at least for the rest of the season.

Timberwolves sign Lance Stephenson to 10-day contract

Lance Stephenson is trying to get back on the basketball map.

The Timberwolves, who recently lost guard Zach LaVine to a season-ending injury, signed Stephenson to a 10-day contract today.

Stephenson, 26, played in six games for the New Orleans Pelicans this season, averaging 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists before being waived on November 7.

The 6-5 guard played his first four seasons (2010-14) with Indiana after being drafted by the Pacers in the second round (40th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. His best season came in 2013-14 when he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 78 games and led the NBA in triple-doubles with five.

In addition to Indiana and New Orleans, Stephenson has also played with Charlotte, LA Clippers and Memphis. He has career averages of 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 346 games. Stephenson has appeared in 46 playoff games, posting averages of 10.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Stephenson will wear uniform No. 7.

It’s been a rough season for the Timberwolves. At 19-33, they have yet to live up to their potential, and are currently on a 4-game losing streak. Though with a young squad and new head coach,  there’s still hope they will show improvement in the second half of the season.

Timberwolves putting up wins lately

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on the Timberwolves, who are only 16-28 this season but taking a step in the right direction lately:

Timberwolves putting up wins lately

They’ve won two straight and five of their last seven games overall and for the fourth straight at home. For the second straight game the Wolves won a game decided by four or fewer points. This after going 0-for-10 to start the season in that category.

“We’re trying to establish a home court,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We want to make it tough for people to come in here. We have to understand, you don’t win because you’re at home, but because of what you put into winning.’’

They did tonight. Denver shot 51.2 percent for the game, but 45.5 percent in the second half, 40.0 percent in the fourth quarter, and just 3-for-12 after taking a nine-point lead with 6:06 left in the game.

The Wolves responded with a 20-8 run.

Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Justin Anderson has been fined $25,000 for striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn in the head, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which was called a Flagrant Foul 1 on the floor and upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 upon league office review, occurred with 10:45 remaining in the second quarter of the Timberwolves’ 101-92 victory over the Mavericks on Jan. 9 at Target Center.

Timberwolves waive John Lucas III

The Minnesota Timberwolves waived guard John Lucas III today.

Lucas III, originally signed by the Wolves on August 24, 2016, appeared in five games this season while averaging 0.4 points in 2.2 minutes per contest.

The Timberwolves roster now stands at 14 players.

Giannis

Antetokounmpo and Towns might be different players. But both represent where the NBA big man is going.

Antetokounmpo plays the point-forward position for the Bucks while Towns is more of a traditional big man in terms of his play in the post. But both can stretch the floor, score off the dribble and find their teammates. Towns had his first triple-double in Denver. Antetokounmpo has two triple doubles this season.

“I’m playing catch-up,’’ joked Towns.

Said Thibodeau: “I think you’re seeing that’s the way of the league, versatility. It’s hard to, or harder to, put a particular player in a particular box.’’

Now, the point-forward isn’t exactly new. Thibodeau threw out old-school names like Paul Pressey, the former Bucks player, as an example, and Oscar Robertson.

– Minneapolis Star Tribune

Quick Take: Giannis this season is averaging 23.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.8 bpg. Towns is putting up 22.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 0.6 spg and 1.4 bpg. Both are worth watching every night.

Andrew Wiggins putting up huge stats

Andrew Wiggins a dominant offensive player lately

Andrew Wiggins is starting to become the player everyone expected him to be. Dubbed a prodigy in high school, the Timberwolves wing was always supposed to be an NBA superstar, the type of player who can carry the weight of a franchise.

Now, at the tender age of 21, yet two years into his professional career, he appears to set fulfill every expectation.

Wiggins has averaged 33 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his past six games, shooting 51 percent from the floor and 53 percent from three-point range. He ranks eighth in NBA scoring at 27.4 points a game, and is the league’s leader in three-point shooting at 54 percent…

Wiggins has been aggressive nearly every night, as shown by his 94 free-throw attempts, ninth-most in the NBA.

St Paul Pioneer Press

The Timberwolves are off to a 3-7 start this season. Too early to panic, especially with a new coach in charge and changes that will materialize in the weeks to come. But a few things are clear: their offense looks very good, while Wolves defense needs big improvement. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau has acknowledged Minnesota’s offense is further along than he thought it would be. The Timberwolves are fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency and shooting a league-best 42 percent from three-point range.

“The issue,” he said, “is our defense — and the commitment to being consistent with it.”

Among 30 NBA teams, the Timberwolves are tied for 28th in defensive efficiency. Opponents are shooting 48.1 percent from the field, the worst mark in the NBA — and that includes a 116-80 victory over Memphis for which the Grizzlies rested its best players. Both of those numbers are worse than where Minnesota finished last season.

None of that lines up with the Tom Thibodeau way. The Wolves coach has churned out top-five defenses at every stop, from his work as an assistant in Houston and Boston to his recent head coaching tenure in Chicago. This offseason, 60 percent of NBA general managers voted Thibodeau as the coach with the best defensive schemes. Defense is his trademark.

timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday exercised the third-year options on Tyus Jones and Karl-Anthony Towns, along with the fourth-year options on Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins.

Jones, 20, posted averages of 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes per contest in 37 games over his rookie season. The Wolves originally acquired the draft rights to the 6-2 guard from the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 25, 2015.

LaVine, 21, owns career averages of 12.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 159 contests. The 6-5 guard tallied 14.0 ppg, on 45.2% shooting, including a 38.9% mark from three-point distance, a season ago. Minnesota drafted LaVine with the 13th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Towns, 20, averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game last season on his way to being named 2016 KIA NBA Rookie of the Year. The Wolves selected the 7-0 forward/center with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Wiggins, 21, has averaged 18.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 163 career contests over two seasons with Minnesota. The 6-8 forward tallied averages of 20.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists a season ago. Wiggins, who was named the 2015 KIA NBA Rookie of the Year, was acquired by the Wolves via trade on August 23, 2014 after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by Cleveland.

Timberwolves waive Rasual Butler and Toure` Murry

The Minnesota Timberwolves have waived forward Rasual Butler and guard Toure’ Murry.

Butler averaged 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in five preseason games. He has appeared in 809 games over his 13-year NBA career, averaging 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds. In 2015-16, he played in 46 games for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. Butler, the 53rd overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft by Miami, has played with the Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and Spurs. Butler played six games under current Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago during the 2010-11 NBA season.

Murry averaged 2.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in three preseason games. He has played in 56 games with three teams between two NBA seasons, including appearing in 51 contests with the Knicks in 2013-14 where he averaged 2.7 points. Originally undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Wichita State, the 6-5 guard spent 2015-16 in the NBA D-League, starting the season with the Texas Legends before being acquired in a trade by the Sioux Falls Skyforce late in the season. Murry played in 45 games between the two stops, averaging 11.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game.

With the moves, the Wolves training camp roster stands at 15 players.

The Wolves open up their 28th season of basketball on Wednesday, October 26 at the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:00 pm CT. Opening night will be broadcast on Fox Sports North and the radio home of the Wolves, 830 WCCO. The team’s home opener is Tuesday, November 1 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.

Timberwolves loaded with young talent

Each year, many teams get praised for having potential simply because they have a young roster. The problem there is, just because players are young doesn’t mean they’re going to improve enough to collectively turn a lottery team into a winner. A force. A contender. Sure, second and third-year players tend to perform at a higher level the following season. But usually not enough to propel a team into playoff contender discussions. But the Timberwolves have a lot of great pieces, a great new coach, and as much potential as any team in the NBA to go from mostly losing (29 wins, 53 losses last season, 16 wins and 66 losses in 2014-15) to respectable status. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Timberwolves loaded with young talent

Kris Dunn is the exciting new Wolves rookie. Karl-Anthony Towns, at least according to NBA GMs, is the team’s franchise player — the one they would pick from the entire league right now if they were going to take one player to start a team. Zach LaVine is the super-athletic dunk champion. Ricky Rubio is the floor general.

But maybe, just maybe, Andrew Wiggins is the key to just how far the Wolves will go this year and beyond. He was the NBA’s top rookie two years ago and took a small step — but not a leap — forward last year. There doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus as to where his ceiling is — a nice wing but a volume scorer? An All-Star once or twice? A superstar? — but this is year three and those answers should start to come into focus.

Wiggins’ presence at the team’s media day a few weeks back suggested he’s emerging as a team leader along with Towns. But more important will be his play on the court — and while every NBA player works in the offseason in some way to stay sharp, a video that went live Tuesday of Wiggins’ summer work indicates a level of focus and intensity aimed at achieving greatness.

The Timberwolves have a young, talented roster that will be worth watching this season. They also have some space at the end of their bench for another player with a guaranteed contract that will keep him on the roster this season. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Timberwolves have room for another guaranteed contract

Thibodeau was asked about the final roster spot. The team currently has 14 guaranteed contracts, and that includes Nikola Pekovic, who won’t play this season. That means one more spot will need to be filled. The team currently has Toure’ Murry, Rasual Butler and John Lucas III on non-guaranteed deals vying for that spot. But Thibodeau could also bring someone else in from the outside. “For us, the (preseason) games will be very helpful,” Thibodeau said. “It will reveal the things that we need to do better. It will reveal the things we’re doing well and, also, it will give us a better idea of who may help us the most with practice in the event you have an injury.’’

In other words, it’s likely too early to speculate. A potential injury could mean the need for a shooter, or another big man.

Timberwolves hire Ed Pinckney as assistant coach

The Timberwolves yesterday (Sunday) announced that Ed Pinckney has joined President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff as Assistant Coach.

Pinckney joins Andy Greer, Ryan Saunders and Rick Brunson as Assistant Coaches on Thibodeau’s staff.

Pinckney rejoins the Timberwolves after serving as an Assistant Coach in Minnesota from 2007-09. He spent last season as an Assistant Coach with Denver, and spent the previous five seasons with Thibodeau in Chicago. The 10th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by Phoenix, Pinckney spent 12 seasons in the NBA, playing for Phoenix, Sacramento, Boston, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia and Miami.

Timberwolves add Rasual Butler, John Lucas III and Toure` Murry to training camp

The Timberwolves finalized the team’s 2016-17 Training Camp roster today by signing forward Rasual Butler and guards John Lucas III and Toure’ Murry.

Butler, 37, has appeared in 809 games over his 13-year NBA career, averaging 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds. In 2015-16, he played in 46 games for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. Butler, the 53rd overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft by Miami, has played with the Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and Spurs. Butler played six games under current Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago during the 2010-11 NBA season.

In his eight-year NBA career, Lucas III, 33, has averaged 4.8 points, 1.5 assists and 12.3 minutes in 237 games. The 5-11 guard most recently played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in 2014-15, averaging 4.7 points and 2.9 assists in 21 games. Lucas has enjoyed NBA stints with the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Pistons. Lucas III played under Thibodeau from 2010-12 in Chicago. He is the son of former NBA player John Lucas Jr., who played 14 years in the NBA from 1976-90.

Murry, 26, has played in 56 games with three teams between two NBA seasons, including appearing in 51 contests with the Knicks in 2013-14 where he averaged 2.7 points. Originally undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Wichita State, the 6-5 guard spent 2015-16 in the NBA D-League, starting the season with the Texas Legends before being acquired in a trade by the Sioux Falls Skyforce late in the season. Murry played in 45 games between the two stops, averaging 11.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. Murry played for the Timberwolves entry in the 2016 Summer League, averaging 6.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals in eight games.

Butler will wear No. 12, Lucas III will wear No. 11 and Murry will don No. 23.

Timberwolves basketball staff hirings

Timberwolves basketball staff hirings

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced additions to the team’s basketball staff for the 2016-17 NBA season, naming Noah Croom as Assistant General Manager, Brian Pauga as Director of Player Personnel and John Carideo, Jim Eyen, Drew Nicholas, Scott Roth and Jim Todd as Scouts. The team also named Matthew Duhamel as Director of Athletic Therapy, Pierre Nesbit as Assistant Athletic Trainer and Troy Sutton as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.

The team also announced the following staff have been appointed to various positions within the organization: Calvin Booth as Director of Pro Personnel, Matt Bollero as Pro Personnel Scout, David Crewe as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach/Assistant Athletic Trainer, Emmanuel Rohan as Director of Basketball Administration, Todd Checovich as Manager of Basketball Operations and Rachel Saunders as Manager of Team Services.

Croom comes to Minnesota after serving as Legal Counsel and Agent for Goodwin Sports Management (GSM) since 2002. Prior to joining GSM, Noah held positions at Latham & Watkins, a New York City based law firm, the National Basketball Association and the Vancouver Grizzlies. He served as Assistant General Manager and Legal Counsel for the Grizzlies, where he negotiated all player and coach contracts and represented the team in its dealings with the NBA league office.

Pauga spent the last nine seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including taking over as Director of Scouting in 2012 and General Manager of the NBA D-League’s Austin Spurs in 2013. He started with the Spurs as a Basketball Operations Intern in July 2007 before earning a promotion to Basketball Operations Assistant in 2008. Before joining San Antonio, he worked as a student manager with the Michigan State men’s basketball team from 2003-07, including the Spartans’ 2005 Final Four squad.

Carideo has served as a Scout for NBA teams since 2001, including stops with the Denver Nuggets (2001-09), Charlotte Bobcats (2009-10) and New Orleans Pelicans (2010-16). Before joining the NBA, Carideo spent time as the Head Coach for the Trenton Shooting Stars of the IBL and was an Assistant Coach for various IBL and USBL teams, including winning the 1999 USBL Championship with the Atlantic City Seagulls.

Eyen has more than 26 years of NBA experience with over 30 years of combined coaching, consulting and scouting experience. He most recently served as an Assistant Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2014-16, his second stint with the Lakers. He has also coached with the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

Nicholas won the NCAA National Championship with Maryland in 2002 and reached the Final Four twice in his collegiate career. He played professionally for 10 years internationally, including winning the Euroleague Championship in both 2009 and 2011. His international career saw him play in a number of countries, including Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey before his retirement in 2013. Since retiring as a player, Nicholas has served as an analyst for a variety of media outlets and coached youth basketball.

Roth returns to Minnesota as a Scout after playing for the Timberwolves in 1989-90, the team’s inaugural season. As a coach, he has served as an assistant on five NBA coaching staffs: Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Memphis/Vancouver and Toronto as well as stints with four different national teams. Roth had a three-year NBA playing career with stops in Minnesota, San Antonio and Utah before playing internationally until 1994.

Todd has worked as an Assistant Coach for six different NBA teams over 15+ years, most recently as an Assistant to Mike Woodson with the New York Knicks from 2012-14. Todd’s career has also included stops with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.

Duhamel joins Minnesota as Director of Athletic Therapy after spending six years with the Minnesota Vikings as an Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist. Prior to his time with the Vikings, he worked as an Intern with the New England Patriots’ medical staff. Duhamel earned his undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from Northeastern University where he worked with the football and men’s basketball teams, before earning his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Boston University.

Nesbit begins his first season with the Timberwolves as Assistant Athletic Trainer. Prior to coming to Minnesota, he most recently worked as a Seasonal Assistant Athletic Trainer for the New England Patriots during the team’s run to the 2016 AFC Championship Game. Nesbit received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Purdue University in 2013 before graduating from Auburn University with a Masters of Education in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Biomechanics in 2015.

Sutton enters his first year with Minnesota as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach after most recently serving as the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at Northwestern University over the last four years. Sutton’s professional experience also includes time at Ohio State University, Arizona State University and Ohio University. Sutton received his Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Studies from Ohio State University in 2004 before earning his Master of Science in Health and Human Sciences from Ohio University in 2005.

Timberwolves hire Andy Greer and Rick Brunson as assistant coaches

The Timberwolves on Sunday announced additions to the team’s coaching staff for the 2016-17 NBA season, naming Andy Greer and Rick Brunson as Assistant Coaches, Peter Patton as Shooting Coach, Daisuke Yoshimoto as Special Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations and promoting Vince Legarza to Player Development Coach. Ryan Saunders will also continue in his capacity as Assistant Coach.

Greer joins the Timberwolves after spending last season as an Assistant with the Toronto Raptors under Dwane Casey. Before joining the Raptors, Greer spent five seasons on Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago. Greer’s NBA resume also includes Assistant positions with the Memphis Grizzlies (2007-09), Houston Rockets (2003-07) and New York Knicks (2001-03), and Scout for the Portland Trail Blazers (2009-10).

Brunson is entering his third season coaching under Coach Thibodeau, previously serving as an Assistant Coach in Chicago from 2010-12. He got his start in the NBA coaching ranks as an Assistant with Denver in 2007 before stops in Chicago and Charlotte (2012-13). A nine-year NBA veteran, he played with seven different teams from 1997-2006, including playing in New York (1998-2000) and Houston (2005-06) when Thibodeau served as an Assistant Coach.

Legarza is entering his second season with the Timberwolves, originally joining the team prior to last season as Player Development Assistant/Player Development Video Coordinator. A San Francisco native, he spent two seasons in the Atlanta Hawks’ Basketball Operations/Player Development departments before coming to Minnesota. Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Legarza spent five years playing at Miami University, including serving as Captain of the squad for three seasons.

Patton has been teaching basketball for over 20 years, including learning the craft of shooting under San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Chip Engelland. A four-year graduate at DePaul, Patton never missed a game in college and set the DePaul single-season three-point percentage record as a junior (54.1%), a mark that still stands.

Yoshimoto joins the Timberwolves after spending last season in Denver as Video Coordinator. Before joining the Nuggets, he spent four seasons in Chicago as Video Coordinator under Thibodeau. Prior to starting his career with the New Jersey Nets, Yoshimoto served as Video Coordinator for the Ukraine National Team under the direction of Head Coach Mike Fratello.

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on Team Spain, who aren’t getting much production from point guard Ricky Rubio:

Ricky Rubio does little in Spain loss to Brazil

Ricky Rubio walked off at halftime looking dejected, staring at the floor, the last of Spain’s players to get to the locker room. By the end of the game, he was standing on the sideline, waving a towel, urging on his teammates.

Rubio contributed another unproductive game to Spain’s waning Olympic hopes on Tuesday, producing three points before fouling out of Spain’s 66-65 loss to Brazil at the Rio Games. In 16 minutes, Rubio produced four rebounds, two turnovers, three points, zero steals or blocks and zero assists. He finished minus-6 for a team that lost in the last seconds to a less-heralded team.

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