Roy, Pekovic Meet With Media For First Time Thursday
A collection of local basketball players and a few notable names from Minnesota’s past hoops teams came together at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center on Thursday to work out in an open gym setting with members of the Wolves’ squad.
Current Timberwolves players Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger competed in a full court five-on-five matchup with a group that included free agent forward Anthony Tolliver, former Wolves guard Troy Hudson and former Gophers standout Dan Coleman. The quick exhibition gave the players a chance to test their endurance heading into training camp in two weeks.
All eyes were on Roy, who said after the workout that there are no limitations on his game. He said after working on individual drills while back in Seattle over the summer, the early work with teammates and coaches here in Minnesota are a nice complement heading into camp.
“I set a plan for myself to get ready for the season, and so far I have had no setbacks,” Roy said. “The thing I’m most excited about is that over the past couple of years with the injuries I have been limited with things, but this summer I have been able to improve and keep working on my game.”
Roy showed off his range by draining shots from distance in the same manner he’s done since he arrived in camp last week, but he also showed he isn’t afraid to penetrate off the dribble. Late in the exhibition he crossed over his defender and drove to the basket for an uncontested layup.
He said he’s not holding back.
“The coaches try to limit me right now because they don’t want me playing too much on my knees, but I told them I don’t want any restrictions,” Roy said. “I want to play and want to do my best. I have confidence that I’m going to be ready to go.”
Tolliver said in watching Roy play over the past week, not a lot has changed in his game. He said he hasn’t seen the same level of explosiveness from Roy as he showed in Portland, but he doesn’t think Roy is testing that yet.
“I think he’s just trying to get into a little game shape just getting up and down, running and shooting a lot of jumpshots,” Tolliver said. “Just kind of getting his legs underneath him. But he doesn’t need to do that. He’s proven. You know, it’s not like he needs to come out here and prove that he can do something. He just needs to get in shape, and hopefully his knees hold up.”
Center Nikola Pekovic was at the gym on Thursday but did not participate in the open gym, opting instead to work out by weight lifting. Noticeably leaner, Pekovic said he began focusing on toning up and losing weight heading into the season to help his game and also keep him healthy after suffering a collection of injuries last season—most notably bone spurs in his right ankle near the end of the season.
Coming into camp, Pekovic said his ankle feels great.
“I haven’t got any problems,” Pekovic said. “I was all the time on the phone with the guys from here and was coming over there…So for now, everything is great.”
Pekovic said he is done with his doctor visits and is now ready to move forward.
He, like Roy, is beginning his workouts in Minnesota hoping to begin an injury-free 2012-13 campaign—one that is filled with high expectations for this Timberwolves club.
He said from the outset the playoffs are achievable and an active goal for this club.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys, a lot of great players we bring here, and I’m really happy,” Pekovic said. “I’m really looking forward to this season, because I think it’s our chance to get, like you said, to some of the top spots in our conference.”