Player Profile: Luke Ridnour
Player Profile: Luke Ridnour
Highlight of the Year
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Editor’s Note: Throughout the summer, Timberwolves.com will profile members of the 2012-13 team and take a look at how they performed as well as their preparations for next season. In Part V of this series, we take a look at Luke Ridnour’s professional approach and the stability he brought to the team last year.
Looking back, it’s pretty incredible what Wolves guard Luke Ridnour did during the 2012-13 season. Despite battling back issues during the preseason and being the oldest player on the team, Ridnour started all 82 games for Minnesota during an injury-ravaged campaign.
And he did it while playing much of the year out of position.
At this juncture of his career, the 6-foot-2 Ridnour would likely be most effective backing up Ricky Rubio at the point guard position. He has a great sense for running an offense, is underrated from a scoring standpoint and matches up far better size-wise with players at that position.
But throughout 2011-12 and 2012-13, Ridnour spent significant portions of those seasons playing the starting 2-guard role—and while he’s very capable playing off the ball and hitting shots, he was essentially at a disadvantage every night while being tasked with guarding much larger, younger shooting guards. Some nights, he’s guarding guys as much as three or four inches taller than he is.
Still, Ridnour never complained and always put the team first. That’s the type of professionalism the 10-year veteran out of Oregon provided this Wolves’ squad. He still averaged 11.5 points per game, logged 30.2 minutes per night, shot 45.3 percent from the field and connected on 84.8 percent of his free throws.
Despite being undersized defensively, he can still shoot the ball as well as anyone from the 2-guard position, assistant coach T.R. Dunn said during the season.
“He’s not a guy to make a fuss like that,” Dunn said in April. “He just performs, and he comes back the next day and he’s as positive as he was the day before. He’s as good as they get, and he’s a true professional.”
With 9:45 to play against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 19, Ridnour helped provide some of the spark headlined by newcomers Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale during a 92-79 win at Target Center. Johnson and Gelabale signed 10-day contracts earlier in the day, and in the fourth quarter those two combined for the team’s first 23 points. But it was Ridnour’s lob pass to Johnson for an alley-oop that put the Wolves up seven with nearly 10 minutes to play that really set the tone for a dominant fourth quarter. Ridnour took the ball up court and unleashed a pass from the 3-point line, finding Johnson running the floor for the dunk. Ridnour was a game-high plus-21 for the game. Throughout the year, Ridnour provided those high-flying alley-oop feeds.
Top Performance of the Year
Ridnour’s top performance came early on in the season when he was serving as the starting point guard alongside Brandon Roy in the back court. With Rubio not yet back from his ACL rehab, Ridnour shot an efficient 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range in a 90-75 win over the Orlando Magic at Target Center on November 7. He scored 19 points on the night while also dishing out three assists and grabbing five boards on the night. Ridnour scored in double figures 53 times during the 2012-13 season.
For a 10-year veteran like Ridnour, offseason objectives are focused around conditioning and getting prepared for a younger group of players entering the league. Dunn said Ridnour understands how much time he needs to rest before getting back in the gym and begin preparing for another 82-game marathon. Each year you return to the league, you’re required to do that much more to help prepare your body for the rigors and physicality that come with playing against the top basketball players in the world each night. Ridnour will continue his training to get his body in top shape.