Wolves Notes: Jeff Van Gundy visits, Summer Showcase scrimmage tonight


Things are picking up in Wolves Land in advance of Las Vegas Summer League.

Tonight is the “Summer Showcase” event being held at Target Center. It is open for free to the general public, and Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports that the Wolves are expecting “as many as 10,000 fans” for tonight’s festivities.

Zgoda also had some enlightening quotes from Zach LaVine and others in his article, centering mostly around the team’s off-season momentum, Kevin Garnett‘s impending return, and the new practice facility.

"“People, you can just tell, we’re always trending,” Wolves second-year guard Zach LaVine said, referring to his generation’s measure of success. “You look on Twitter, it’s the Timberwolves or one of our players trending. I guess that’s a good thing.”…“The Timberwolves are on the radar,” LaVine said, “and we’re looking to become one of the best teams in the NBA.”"

Third-year forward Shabazz Muhammad also had a few intriguing things to say. On Garnett:

"“He means the most,” Muhammad said, referring to Garnett. “We’re all young guys. We really look up to him. He just gives us a positive energy that we need every day to go out there, play hard and win some games this year. We look up to him. We can’t believe we’re on the floor with him. Me, Zach and Wiggins, we’d be in the back of the bus and he’d talk to us about just anything. We’d ask him so many questions, and he has so many stories. He’s a great guy. I can’t wait for him to get back.”"

And on the sparkling new Mayo Clinic Square facility:

"“This place, you don’t want to leave this place,” said Muhammad, who declares himself fully recovered from February surgery that repaired a ruptured ligament on the middle finger of his shooting hand and ended his season. “You can stay in here all day. Yesterday, literally, I was in here all day. This place is a one of a kind. I like it. I haven’t even been through everything yet.”"

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Those are some pretty encouraging quotes from two of the Wolves’ important young players. It’s clear that the Wolves are trying their best to capitalize on whatever momentum they’ve managed to generate after what was ultimately a 16-66 season.

In other news, former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach and current ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy was in Minneapolis to attend the team’s Summer League practices and apparently spend some time hanging out with his good friend Flip Saunders.

It is interesting to note that just over a year ago, Saunders pointed to Jeff Van Gundy as his first choice to coach his young squad, allegedly considering JVG as a potential fit as head coach before himself.

Van Gundy’s coaching style has a reputation of being old-school, perhaps even similar to that of Saunders. After all, he did take a Patrick Ewing-led Knicks squad to the NBA Finals in the late 90’s.

But that reputation may be a bit unfair. His teams in New York and Houston were always outstanding defensively, and that’s the side of the court that the current Wolves squad needs loads of help. Offensively, it would be tough for his sets to be more antiquated than Saunders’ offensive playbook, and with a team led by Ricky Rubio and with weapons like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, it’s tough to see how the offense wouldn’t take leaps in 2015-16 almost organically.

At any rate, it’s likely a moot point, at least for the next calendar year. Glen Taylor has said that Saunders is coaching the upcoming season, and we’ll take him at his word when it comes to that.

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