Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013

Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013


Timberwolves vs. Bucks | 7 PM — Sanford Pentagon (Sioux Falls)

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus (Channel Guide)

Where to Listen: No radio

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Former Wolves guard Luke Ridnour filling back court leadership role with Bucks

Former Wolves guard Luke Ridnour wears a familiar-looking shirt at shootaround these days. After being traded this offseason in the three-way deal that brought Kevin Martin to Minnesota, Ridnour landed back in Milwaukee—a city in which he played from 2008 to 2010. It’s a city he became familiar with during his first stop there.

After that, though, things feel far more like new than a trip down memory lane. The Bucks have a new coaching staff this season and brought in 11 new faces for this team’s preseason roster—including three of the five projected starters. The team Ridnour knew before he made the move to Minnesota might still be in the same city, but the personnel is brand new.

“It’s actually a lot like starting over totally,” Ridnour said at shootaround as he prepares for tonight’s preseason matchup with the Timberwolves at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. “I mean, everyone is new, the coaches are new, it’s only a few people that are still around when I was there, so it’s like starting over. And we have a young team with a new coaching staff, so I think it’s going to be a learning [experience], you know, especially preseason for sure.”

The Bucks’ back court was completely revamped this offseason as they parted ways with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. In came the veteran Ridnour along with point guard Brandon Knight from Detroit, 2-guard O.J. Mayo from Dallas and rookie Nate Wolters through the draft. That’s a lot of new faces for new coach Larry Drew, who said his offense will put pressure on the point guard to be an extension of himself on the court.

That’s where Ridnour’s experience comes in. He’s played as a starter in this league as both a point guard and shooting guard, and he understands what it takes to prepare for game day on both levels. Even if he’s learning the system himself, he’s also in a role where he can help Knight and Wolters during this preseason get accustomed to their roles on this team.

That experience is something Drew values.

“It doesn’t help a little, it helps a lot,” Drew said. “Anytime you assemble a new team with so many new faces, it takes time to bring it all together. But if you have some veteran guys who have been through it before and know what it’s about, it makes it a little bit easier. A guy like Luke has been around this league for a long time, and certainly his leadership and his experience helps.”

Ridnour was a do-it-all guard in Minnesota’s back court the past two years, mostly because of injuries. He was the only player to start all 82 games last year, and he did it both the point guard and shooting guard roles. Even under sized, he filled in off the ball and handled shooting guards on both ends of the court that had longer reach. Ridnour was lauded by teammates and coaches for the way he approached the game professionally, always showing up and taking on any tasks asked of him.

He might find himself in that situation again this year. Drew said while Ridnour’s experience at point guard is valuable, there is always the situation where he could play in a combo role if the team goes small.

Ridnour said he’s up for any challenges that might arise throughout the year. And being in that veteran role—he said he’s “probably the oldest guy on the team, anyway”—suits him just fine.

“At the same time I’m trying to pick up everything we’re trying to do, too,” he said. “But yeah, just being around, knowing the league, knowing what the games are going to be like, it’s a good role for me to be in. But I’m just trying to make it through training camp.”

Ridnour said he enjoyed his time in Minnesota and playing for coach Rick Adelman.

“I enjoyed the city, the fans, I really enjoyed playing for Rick Adelman,” he said. “It’s sad when you get traded somewhere when you like all the people, you know, the players, and everyone around. So the organization, it was tough but it’s part of the business.”

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.