Practice Report | Wolves Get A Special Guest At Practice

Todd Barin

The Timberwolves had a surprise guest at practice today. Milt Newton, the Timberwolves General Manager, decided to bring in Gary Payton for a couple of days to mentor the guards on the team, especially Zach LaVine.

“I’ve known GP for about a year, since All-Star break last year,” LaVine said. “He’s always been one of my idols. I’m from Seattle, he played in Seattle, so growing up I watched him, and I didn’t even know he knew Milt. I told Milt he’s one of my biggest idols, so he’s been coming here the last couple of days and he’s been talking to me and it’s been cool.”

To LaVine’s surprise, Newton took it upon himself to bring Payton in without being asked to.

“I appreciate the mentorship,” LaVine said. “I’ve learned a lot of stuff so far. I’m not sure if I want to tell you all the secrets though. I feel like you can pick stuff up fast. Just from talking with somebody, you don’t have to spend a lot of time with them. Not physical attributed but mental things are the biggest things that I look for.

Payton played a bulk of his career in Seattle for the Super Sonics and was known for his defensive tenacity and trash-talking abilities.

“To tell you the truth I just loved his mentality and the way he was on the court, he talked a lot of mess,” LaVine chuckled. “He’s from Oakland, my dad is from California, you can see the way the grew up how that plays into their game, I was like, ‘I like this dude, yeah he’s cool.’”

Hopefully Payton’s wise words pay off as the Timberwolves take on the Portland Trailblazers tomorrow night at the Target Center.

Portland comes into tomorrow’s game with one of the hottest backcourts in the league.

“You got to contain them, they have the upmost confidence in themselves and they are shooting all of the balls too,” LaVine said regarding Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. “It’s hard to stop somebody when they catch rhythm that fast. So you just try to contain them and make other people beat you.”

The Trailblazer’ guards put up 52 points in their previous matchup this season and are averaging 44 points per game on the season.

“Lillard and McCollum will come off and shoot it from anywhere,” LaVine said. “They have the ability and they have the confidence and they’re allowed to shoot those shots. Like Steph Curry, you know, he’s allowed to shoot any shot as well, so that gives you confidence and when a dude has confidence in the NBA, it’s scary.”

Tip-off will be at 7:00 tomorrow night as the Wolves look to avenge their first home loss of the season against the Trailblazers.   

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