Practice Report | Jan. 14, 2014
Practice Report | Jan. 14, 2014
In his last 10 games, Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic is averaging 22.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the field.
Wolves head coach Rick Adelman noted at Tuesday’s practice at the LifeTime Fitness practice facility he didn’t see this coming when he became Minnesota’s head coach in 2011, but Pekovic’s attention to detail has played a big part in his improvement over the years.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here,” Adelman said. “But then you started to see him get more comfortable and more comfortable and he’s really expanded his game and I think there’s a lot of room for him to keep expanding it, too.”
On Wednesday night at the Target Center, Pekovic will be going up against another improving center. DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but there’s never been any doubt that the big man has plenty of talent. In the post he plays like a bull, but he can run the court like a deer. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but still, his skill set is very rare for a big man. This season, the former Kentucky star is averaging a career-high 23.3 points per game to go with 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks.
For a fourth year center, those number are pretty impressive.
“Yeah, Cousins is really talented,” Adelman said. “A really talented player. He’s really putting up numbers this year. Like I said yesterday, I think this team (Sacramento) and then you have Utah coming up, they started so poorly and they made a couple of trades and you look at them now and they’re playing really well.”
The Kings sit at just 13-22, 13th in the Western Conference, but they have won three consecutive games. Adelman said that it’s easy to look at the records of these teams and give the Wolves the win, but the fact of the matter is that the Wolves haven’t played consistent enough to earn that just yet.
“You know, we know it’s going to be a test but I don’t know why we should feel like we have all the confidence in the world about who we play,” Adelman said. “I mean really it’s about how we play, you can’t look at anybody’s record. We are trying to establish something.”
Mbah a Moute Goes Up Against Former Team
Wednesday marks the first time that the Kings and Wolves will play since Minnesota sent Derrick Williams to Sacramento for Luc Mbah a Moute.
Since the trade, Mbah a Moute has appeared in 17 games for the Wolves, playing about 16 minutes per contest. A groin injury forced him to miss three games before he returned on Jan. 10 against the Charlotte Bobcats. With the return of Chase Budinger, Mbah a Moute will see his minutes go down a bit, but Adelman said that his defensive talents are still very valuable.
“There are too many guys at one spot to play them all,” Adelman said. “… Right now I’m playing Chase (Budinger) and playing Alexey (Shved) and it’s probably going to be spot minutes (for Mbah a Moute). Maybe when someone’s got it going on the other team you put him in there to defend.”
Adelman noted that managing his bench has been difficult due to the fact that each player has a certain specialty. Budinger is more of an offensive-orientated player, while Mbah a Moute is known for his defense.
“Well, that’s what you have to decide on,” Adelman said. “We’ve got defensive players and we’ve got offensive players. You know, the two don’t meet. That makes it real hard.”