Get To Know: Chase Budinger

Editor’s Note: Throughout August, will profile each of the new members of the Wolves’ roster. Part 1 takes a look at Chase Budinger’s background and what he can bring to the team.

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Age: 24
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 218 pounds
Drafted: 2009: Second Round, 14th by Detroit
College: Arizona
Experience: 3 years
Position: Small Forward

How Acquired: The Timberwolves traded their first round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Budinger and the draft rights of Lior Eliyahu. He was introduced by the Timberwolves on June 27.

Past Experience: Budinger spent his first three years in the NBA playing for the Rockets, averaging 9.4 points per game during those three years while shooting a career 43.5 percent from the floor and 36.3 percent from 3-point range. In 2011-12, Budinger played in 58 games, shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range (88-for-219) and averaged 9.6 points per game.

He played is first two seasons in Houston under Wolves coach Rick Adelman as well as several members of the team’s current coaching staff. That familiarity with Budinger’s game and his work ethic made him an offseason target for Minnesota when they began looking at revamping their roster.

What He’ll Bring To Minnesota: Right off the bat, Budinger brings familiarity with Adelman’s system and understands the type of role he’ll play. Budinger was targeted as an acquisition this summer because he not only can make shots at a high percentage from 3-point land, but he also has proven to Adelman and his coaching staff that he can effectively move without the ball and get open looks within the system. With ball handlers like Ricky Rubio on the squad, getting open looks from the perimeter will happen regularly and the Timberwolves wanted to make sure that part of their game improved heading into 2012-13.

“My first two years in the NBA were super, super fun and exciting and I learned a lot from [Adelman], and he gave me the opportunity to play,” Budinger said during his introductory press conference. “In his system, I felt that I was the best in his system, because I was able to show my passing ability, the way I shot the ball, [getting] to the rim. And then also out in transition, because Coach Adelman loves to run. And I feel the same way here and we'll be doing the same thing.”

Budinger also has great athletic ability. He was selected to take part in the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Orlando, where he went head-to-head with Wolves rookie forward Derrick Williams. He’ll be asked to use his quickness to push the ball in transition and get to the rim in half court sets.

Where He’ll Fit In: In Adelman’s system, a player like Budinger will have a good opportunity to earn minutes both at the 2 or the 3 positions. The Wolves have drastically altered their wing personnel this offseason, and in the weeks since Budinger was acquired the team has traded or decided to not sign Michael Beasley, Wayne Ellington, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster. At 6-foot-7 and athletic, Adelman sounds confident Budinger will be a solid rotation player for the Wolves and has a work ethic that could lead him to gain more and more playing time as the season rolls on.

Wolves Connections: Not only did Budinger play for Adelman, Jack Sikma, T.R. Dunn and Shawn Respert in Houston, but he also played high school club basketball with forward Kevin Love and, as a University of Arizona alum, returned to campus and played pick-up basketball with Williams when he was a freshman with the Wildcats.

Quotable: “[Budinger]'s got a very good instinct for [moving without the ball], does a lot of things that we need people to do. He can come off screens, shoot the ball very well. And his cutting—he's got an instinct for that. And I think that what we try to do, that's really going to help. And when he's on the floor, I believe, with Ricky, he already runs the floor, and the way Ricky delivers it will give more incentive to run. And then when we go to our people, that's one thing we did not do well is make open shots. And he will make open shots or attack the basket.” — Wolves coach Rick Adelman

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