The Minnesota Timberwolves met with the media yesterday and finally had their first official workouts with new head coach, Rick Adelman. One player in particular who was jazzed about the style of Adelman was rookie point guard Ricky Rubio. Rubio tweeted, “Finally w Coach Adelman, I love the play we run.” Adelman is the perfect guy to mentor Rubio at the right pace, and set the young flamboyant Spaniard up for success. Rubio charmed the reports with his genuine demeanor, and good-natured attitude. At one point, he has said to be amazed at the size of the potato chip bags in the United States. As speculated much in our recent blogs, Rubio seems to be going for the bearded look this season. We’ll keep an eye on this as camp progresses. Prediction: shaved by March.
Meanwhile, Kevin Love looks ripped. He has shed 20 points, and seems be taking his success from last season as a stepping stone to something bigger. Love is also up for a contract extension, so this is a very critical season for him. This is perhaps the most critical season for the Timberwolves in franchise history. The team is coming off their worst 4 year stretch in franchise history, and has tied a franchise record for futility with 7 straight seasons of missing the playoffs. However, they have countered that with bringing in the most prestigious coach in franchise history, the most anticipated rookie in franchise history since Kevin Garnett, and additionally have as many as 3-4 guys who have serious break-out potential.
The most interesting things to watch for during training camp and the early part of the season:
- Rubio’s development. Can he show the grit to hang in there with the big boys? Teammates are already raving about his passing.
- Adelman’s style. Will the team pass the “eye test”? Look for the team to have a much more fluid offense that is easier on the eye. One of the things that the team has failed to do is win the close games. Adelman should help with his vast experience and leadership.
- Shooting guard. Can Wes Johnson handle the position, as he’s more of a natural small forward? Or will the Timberwolves look to add a veteran at this spot?
- Small forward. Does Beasley continue to improve, or will rookie Derrick Williams prove to be too good to come off the bench? Prediction: Adelman finds a way for both of them to be on the floor. Also, Beasley could be used as trade bait to make room for Williams.
- Anthony Randolph. He might have as much upside as anyone on the team. How will Adelman use the very long, very athletic young forward? Perhaps a little time at center is in order?