Training Camp 2012 Report: Day 5
Web Editorial Associate
The Timberwolves had their first team practice after returning from training camp in Mankato--and to coach Rick Adelman, the post-camp fatigue was evident.
"We really didn't do sprints today," coach said this afternoon, "because I felt yesterday they were pretty dead-legged. We did a lot more controlled scrimmaging, and more going intense, but not as long. We kept it going without a lot of breaks; I think that was more helpful than doing sprints."
Coach went on to mention some of the veterans who had long summers with their Olympic teams or who were training to get back into NBA shape.
"It's a matter of getting mentally back into practice so we can get better as a team. Andrei had a long summer, Brandon is just getting back after taking a year off, and they understand that they need to work themselves into a point where they are ready to go. We aren't a playoff team, we didn't win anything last year. We've got two exhibition games against good teams, and the way they play is going to really help us see where we are.
"Alexey is younger, but Andrei and Kevin, they played on their teams and had a long summer. We have to have guys' concentrations."
In order to rest his roster before the preseason opener in Fargo on Oct. 10, Adelman gave his team a relaxed Sunday film session tomorrow.
"I'll give them a day tomorrow to look at film, to let them recuperate," Adelman said. "Then two days of practice before we go."
Williams' Improved Outside Shot
One consensus impression that training camp onlookers came away with was that forward Derrick Williams was shooting much better than usual--especially from outside.
His perimeter shooting last year, while impressive at times, lacked consistency.
I wouldn't say disappointing, but it was inconsistent," said Williams of his long-range shots in his rookie year. "I know I can hit shots. There were games where I hit four or five threes, then there were games I'd go 0-for-5. At times I'd be disappointed, but I worked on it this off-season."
When asked what else he improved on this summer, Williams made sure to mention his defense and how versatile he can be with several positions.
"They were really praising me on defense, because I'm really improved since last season," Williams said. "Being able to guard the big guys, but I've been guarding B-Roy a lot too, especially today. Guarding 2s, 3s, 4s...it's only going to help me out."
If Williams can become a versatile defender, he could pair very well with fellow forward Andrei Kirilenko, a veteran addition who is already known for his ability to guard multiple positions.
"That combination is great," said Williams. "We can switch a lot. He can help me, I can help him; we can both guard multiple positions. A lot of people were saying that we looked good out there, and the coaches liked it."
In Adelman's System, Budinger Is A Veteran
While other new faces may be adjusting to a new system under coach Adelman, Chase Budinger, despite still being a young player, is finding himself doing a bit of coaching on the side.
Budinger began his NBA career under Adelman in Houston, and is very familiar with the coach's style and strategy.
"I knew what his camps were like," Budinger said. "I knew how they were set up and how practices would be. I am more helping other guys out here. He still runs the same exact stuff that I learned for two years...so I know it better than some of the other guys. It's been good, great for me, personally. It's great to come to a new team and not have to learn a new system."
As another player who looked good shooting from outside during training camp, Budinger knows that he will be able to contribute right away--especially from the corner, his hot spot.
"That's my strength, shooting three's," Budinger said. "Especially the corner three; Somehow, I'm always wide open in the corner. I just think that's one of the many things I can do for the team."
- For a team with several Pac-12 conference alumni, Brandon Roy found a way after practice to jokingly represent his alma mater. During the final huddle, he quickly said, "Alright, Huskies on three... one, two, three, HUSKIES," and got his teammates to go along with it. UCLA alumnus Kevin Love refused to leave without redoing the huddle break.
- With hunting season in full swing, Coach Adelman doesn't think that former Timberwolves center and volunteer assistant Brad Miller will stick around much longer. "I think he's going to be leaving soon," said Adelman of the avid outdoorsman. "I don't know where he's going, but the deer better look out. He's got his camouflage stuff in the truck, and he's all ready to attack. "
- Adelman also noted that he doesn't think the team will make any roster cuts before their first preseason game. "We're going to see how it goes in these next few days, and we'll figure it out after that," Adelman said.