Training Camp 2012 Report: Day 1

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Timberwolves hit the ground running on Day 1 of Training Camp, working for four hours before calling it a day at Bresnan Arena. There was no easing into things—instead, the Wolves did a little bit of everything getting the team ready for their first preseason game one week from today.

Coach Rick Adelman put together an assortment of drills, ranging from 2-on-2 half court sets, 5-on-0 full court weaves and full court scrimmages, mixing in conditioning and shooting throughout.

What he saw at Minnesota State University-Mankato was a group beginning to learn how to play together.

“There is a lot of potential in this group,” Adelman said. “They played well together at both ends and it’s going to be interesting to watch them go. For the most part I was really pleased.”

The storylines were the same on Day 1, with all eyes on how guard Brandon Roy would deal with the rigors of an NBA practice after missing last season. The answer is through the first day, Roy looks as good as advertised. He was effective in his shooting, didn’t shy away from making cuts and was part of every drill and activity throughout the four hours.

Roy said he asked to stay in toward the end of what as the team’s third 20-minute scrimmage of the day, saying he was able and willing to take part in all team activities.

Adelman said he thought Roy looked great during his first day, as did forward Kevin Love, center Nikola Pekovic and center Greg Stiemsma.

“We’re going to have to be cautious with him, like tomorrow it will be interesting to see all these guys who have been hurt, how they respond,” Adelman said. “After the first day, they’re going to be sore. He can flat out score. He’s a smart player. We just have to monitor him and make sure we are cautious with him.”

Another point of interest heading into camp was the way the new players would work together and gel. Forward Andrei Kirilenko was visible throughout the day, not only showing his defensive ability with blocks near the basket but also being vocal with rookie Alexey Shved. Adelman said he was able to help Shved with certain parts of practice communicating in Russian.

Center Lou Amundson was all over the floor providing energy, as was forward Dante Cunningham. Forward Chase Budinger sat out part of practice as a precautionary measure with a strained left hamstring.

Second year forward Derrick Williams was impressive on Day 1, particularly building off his performance at Summer League where he was more aggressive attacking the basket. He had the same mentality today and also was more consistent with his jump shooting.

“He played much harder consistently today. That’s what it takes,” Adelman said. “He made hard cuts and got himself open because of that. He had a good day.”

The Wolves put together a string of competitive scrimmages, but conditioning and learning to play together will be focal points throughout camp in Mankato. With only seven of the 20 Training Camp invitees returning from last year’s group, getting acquainted with each other’s tendencies will go a long way, and that comes with time.

“We just need to get into game shape,” Stiemsma said. “Getting used to getting up and down again, and then just reading each other. That’s only going to happen with playing with each other, making plays for each other and with each other.”

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