Training Camp 2012 Report: Day 3

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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A year ago, the Timberwolves rarely talked about being ahead of the curve in putting in coach Rick Adelman’s offensive system. A combination of being a new coaching staff to the team mixed with the lack of practice time in the condensed season hindered the team’s efforts to teach and fine-tune.

On Thursday after the team’s third day of Training Camp in Mankato, Adelman said it could be a different story this season. It’s early, but the team is adjusting to the playbook and players are showing they’re up to the challenge.

“I really wasn’t sure exactly how much we were going to do. Watching the scrimmage, we’re running a lot of stuff out of our corner offense because they seem to pick it up very quickly,” Adelman said.

Adelman said the players are making the right reads, which gives them a good opportunity to succeed.

“It is a smart team,” Adelman said. “We have to keep building on it. Right now we’re trying to put in our transition offense and build from there.”

Each day the Wolves take the floor at Taylor Center on the campus of Minnesota State University-Mankato, the team looks just a little bit sharper from the day before. Shots begin falling with a little more regularity, and the players get more and more accustomed to what one another will do in certain situations.

There is still a lot of changing lineups each day, something that helps everyone get acquainted with one another. But regardless of who plays with whom, someone new seems to step up and show a trait they’ll bring to the team each day.

On Thursday, it was Chase Budinger and Lou Amundson. Budinger was showing his range by connecting from 3-point land, and Amundson continuously brought down offensive rebounds and was a force around the basket during scrimmages.

“That’s kind of my game,” Amundson said. “I think I’ve really got a knack to get to the offensive glass. My legs were really feeling better today. I really made a point to get to those loose balls and go 100 percent.”

Wolves players were quick to note that with training camp comes soreness from the more than three hours practiced each day, and players have gotten banged up along the way. Dante Cunningham missed part of practice on Wednesday with a tweaked ankle but was back today. Malcolm Lee, on the other hand, missed the end of today’s practice with what Adelman thought was muscle related, not his surgically repaired left knee.

Pek Leading The Way

One thing consistent throughout camp this week has been who is winning the sprint races during conditioning, and it might surprise you. Center Nikola Pekovic is the one leading the charge, seemingly testing himself to be the first one done.

The Wolves run conditioning drills based on how many free throws a collection of players make or miss while the rest of the team does mini-hops while watching from the baseline. For each miss, the players run.

“He always does; he’s in great shape,” Adelman said. “He came in here in great shape. I was a little concerned at the end of practice there. We kind of hit a dead spot. But we finished practice up strong. It was good to see them miss a free throw to get them extra running.”

Miller Looks Back At Home

After watching Wednesday from the sidelines and doing minor work with the team’s forwards and centers, Brad Miller was more active on Thursday. He dressed the part, wearing a long sleeve Timberwolves shirt and mesh shorts, and he was working more closely with the front court while also rebounding during shooting drills. True to his hunting roots, he left practice wearing a camouflage vest.

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