Mbah A Moute Ready To Join Wolves, Will Dress Tonight

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Mbah A Moute Ready To Join Wolves, Will Dress Tonight

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will be suited up and available tonight as the Timberwolves face the Nuggets, but as of 5:30 p.m. even he wasn’t sure how much—if any—he’ll play. Given he arrived in Minnesota last night, began physicals around 6 a.m. and is going through a quick briefing on the Wolves’ tendencies and plays, it’s a toss-up at the moment what his impact might be this evening at Target Center.

But the Wolves hope his long-term impact will be far more significant.

Mbah a Moute officially became a member of the Timberwolves earlier today after passing his physical in town—he was traded from Sacramento in exchange for Derrick Williams on Tuesday—and from the beginning he understands that he was brought in here to bring defensive intensity and energy to this squad.

“It’s something I’ve done since college, even since high school,” Mbah a Moute said. “I’ve always had an ability to guard multiple positions, and I’ve played for coaches that value that. It’s always been something I naturally do. I enjoy doing it, and it’s been even better when you do it and you help your team win games.”

Mbah a Moute said he was surprised initially by the trade, but after that initial reaction he was happy to get a chance to come play for a Wolves team that has the aspirations and ability to play its way into the postseason. The core is there, Mbah a Moute said, and now it’s up to the team to make it happen.

And he could see that through this trade the Wolves saw the defensive stopper in him that could make a difference.

“No doubt, them obviously making a trade for me was something that showed they really wanted and had a need for something like that, someone like me,” Mbah a Moute said. “Knowing that I can come in here and do that was also good, because that’s something I enjoy doing and hopefully I can continue doing that here at a high level for this team.”

The Wolves certainly feel like he can make that difference.

President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said he liked Mbah a Moute’s game when he was coaching Washington and the 6-foot-8 forward was playing in Milwaukee. A.J. Price, another former member of the Wizards organization, said Price is a hard-nosed guy who plays extremely hard on both ends of the court. That’s been his staple in this league, and it’s why he’s been able to make a career in the NBA.

And of course there is Kevin Love, who played one season with Mbah a Moute at UCLA in 2007-08. That year, the Bruins went to the Final Four and those two players left for the NBA Draft that June.

Love said Mbah a Moute is a great guy to have on a team, period, because he works hard, he brings intensity and he’s got a great defensive presence.

Love and Mbah a Moute have kept in touch over their years in the NBA, and the new Wolves forward said he is excited to rejoin his fellow UCLA teammate in Minnesota.

“It’s great to be back with him,” Mbah a Moute said. “He’s one of my great friends in the NBA. I’m excited to play with him again and win some games.”

That’s one familiar face he’ll have in the locker room, but Love said Mbah a Moute won’t have trouble making that adjustment to this team. The bigger adjustment for Mbah a Moute might be on the offensive end, where he’ll bet asked with learning Adelman’s system on the fly.

He said playing against Adelman was always challenging because there is always someone cutting and there are always options for where the ball is going. It made it tough to guard, and so he’s happy to be on this team where he won’t need to worry about that. Now it’s just a matter of catching up on the fly.

But he’ll take it. Whatever happens tonight or moving forward, he’ll take it one step at a time.

“I didn’t think I would dress, but I talked to coach Adelman and he said I’ll dress up but I don’t know how much I’ll play or if I’ll play,” Mbah a Moute said. “But I want to be out there with the guys and supporting through, so I’m excited to be out there.”

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