Practice Report: Wednesday, April 25

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves forward Kevin Love talked draft and future expectations during the team’s final practice of the season.

Minnesota received Utah’s first round draft pick in June as Utah defeated the Phoenix Suns 100-88 to earn the eighth and final playoff spot, and Love said despite being at the Twins game with several of his teammates he was tuning in to see how the Jazz were doing throughout the night.

The Wolves wrap up the season at home against Denver on Thursday. Wednesday was the team's first back-to-back practices at home this season.

He said earning a draft pick in a draft speculated to be deep with NBA talent helps the Wolves move into the offseason with additional personnel options.

“It just gives us another asset,” Love said. “It being such a deep draft, it’s good we have a pick and we can deal more things now. We’ll see what happens.”

Not so long ago, Minnesota had its eyes set on a postseason berth—not the offseason. Heading into their March 9 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the night guard Ricky Rubio suffered his season-ending knee injury, the team was 21-19 and had the tie-breaker over Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot. Utah was 19-19 on that night, a game back of the Wolves in the Western Conference standings.

But with Minnesota going 5-20 since that night, the Timberwolves biggest news in this the last week of the regular season is that they will be able to prepare for draft night with a first round pick.

How they use that pick is up for grabs, but Love said he hopes he’ll be part of the discussion.

“I have my exit meeting here in the next few days—I hope they come to me with at least some decisions,” Love said. “They’ve invested a lot of money in me, especially the next few years, so I’d like to have some input because I feel like I have a good eye for that stuff as well.”

Love said the end of the season has been difficult on everyone. Injuries derailed the team’s playoff hopes and the final 25 games haven’t been a complete indicator of the potential this team has.

“I don’t think we can look at the very late part of the season and say this is the type of team we are,” Love said.

As for Utah (35-30), the Jazz will open up the postseason against San Antonio. Former Wolves center Al Jefferson, who had 18 points and 16 rebounds in Utah’s win over Phoenix, was a mentor to Love during his early days on the team.

Love said he’ll likely contact his former teammate soon—joking he hasn’t and won’t send him a gift for the draft pick.

“He knows I’m happy for him,” Love said. “I’ll probably send him a text today.”

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