Practice Report | Oct. 6, 2013

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Practice Report | Oct. 6, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

On Sunday afternoon, the Timberwolves wrapped up their final practice prior to Monday’s preseason opener against CSKA Moscow scheduled for 7 p.m. at Target Center. The practice was short and included no post-practice rituals/workouts because of a time schedule related to Game 1 of the WNBA Finals being played at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

That means one thing that’s become a staple of the Wolves’ practices this year was not executed on Sunday: The Wolves did not take extra time to take their allotted 3-point shots.

Players put time in after practice shooting 3s last year, but with the team’s percentage hovering around 30 percent there was a change in protocol this year. Coach Rick Adelman said assistants Terry Porter and David Adelman are running a post-practice routine where all players who regularly shoot 3-pointers are scheduled to take 100 post-practice attempts from behind the arc. Those numbers are recorded to keep track of progress.

“The coaches decided they wanted to do that, and they’ve been keeping track of it, charting it, and all the guys who shoot 3s [take part],” Adelman said. “We didn’t do it today because we had to get out of here, but we do it every day.”

Uncontested 3-pointers are clearly a different story than in-game execution, but repetition is a big part of putting together the right shooting form. In this league, Adelman said it’s important to be able to put up a shot with the same mechanics every time. Adelman said Alexey Shved, for instance, often has different form on his shots when he gets into games. The best way to correct that is to increase repetition at practice.

The team will get its first shot at showing their 3-point efficiency on Monday, which begins a stretch of four games in six days in three different cities.

We’ll get to the team’s competitive drive in camp momentarily, but because each player has put in such a strong effort so far Adelman does want to make sure each guy gets a fair amount of time in preseason to showcase what he can do. Right now, Adelman said each guy brings something unique to the table, and being able to round out that 15th spot between Othyus Jeffers, Robbie Hummel, Lorenzo Brown and A.J. Price will largely be dictated on preseason play.

Because it’s hard to get the entire Training Camp roster into a single game, Adelman said he’d rotate about 12-13 guys in per night and then let others have an opportunity the next game.

Competition Rising At Camp

One thing that’s pretty noticeable about this group of Timberwolves players is their level of intensity in practice. When they’re scrimmaging, there is definite competition. That’s something that will in the long run make the team better as a whole.

“It’s been a great level because everyone wants to win,” guard Ricky Rubio said. “Everyone wants to get the W, and that makes everyone better, you know, because everybody is playing hard, playing aggressive, and that’s how you feel on a winning team.”

It’s been pretty apparent since Mankato that the second and third units on this team have some grit. The second team has beaten the first team in scrimmaging this week, and they continue to push one another on both ends of the court.

You hear about championship-caliber teams feeling at ease in games because practices often feel harder and more intense than game day—at least in theory. That’s the type of environment the Wolves hope to build, where each day presents the opportunity to get better.

“[The second/third groups] don’t back down from them, and I think that’s good,” Adelman said. “But now we’re playing other teams. We’ll see how they all fit in. When you look at the rotation, some guys are going to play so many minutes and somebody’s going to come in for short lengths of time. You’ve got to find out who is effective doing that.”

Quick Hits

  • While preseason is meant for figuring out who will make the team and fine-tuning schemes and sets, Adelman said the team does do scouting prior to games: “We have a scouting report on the team tomorrow,” he said. “We know four or five of the guys already. But I think you’re more trying to see what you’re doing as a team. You’re trying to see what they can carry over from this week into the game. And I think it’s an opportunity. I don’t like to look at film for the first week, except individually. But now with games starting, it will be different.”
  • Dante Cunningham missed practice today with flu-like symptoms. No word on his status for Monday's game.
  • Both Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved played NBA preseason games for their respective European squads before they made the move to the NBA—Shved twice came to the U.S. to play a total of five NBA preseason games with CSKA Moscow. Both said Euro teams very much want to make a statement against NBA squads: “We played the Lakers when I was in Barcelona, and all we wanted to do was win to show we could play here in the NBA,” Rubio said. “We know they’re going to be aggressive.”
  • Alexey Shved knows members of the CSKA Moscow team, said he’s happy to see them in Minneapolis. He also said he talks with his former CSKA Moscow and Timberwolves teammates, Andrei Kirilenko, every other day and still gets advice from his mentor and friend: “He really helps me,” Shved said. “He is my good friend.”

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