Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Wolves training camp starts, players speak

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are assembling, and players are speaking to the media in advance of the official start to training camp.

The Minnesota Timberwolves roster is nearly an even blend of new names and familiar faces, leading to an interesting run-up to the season, which begins in only three weeks.

Not only that, but the Wolves’ first preseason game is just over a week away, which means that we’re about to see the Timberwolves in uniform, on a court, against a real opponent, for the first time in what will have been almost exactly nine months.

This week, the majority of Wolves players are speaking to the media. We’re only at the middle of the week and there are already plenty of interesting nuggets out there.

Ricky Rubio speaks about his return to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio is back. He’s genuinely excited to be part of this new-look Wolves team, too. Among players, only Karl-Anthony Towns remains from Rubio’s first go-round with the team, although his relationship with head coach Ryan Saunders is obvious.

Rubio was asked about coming off the bench (you can watch the full press conference with Rubio and Ed Davis here) and he responded by saying that “as long as we’re winning”, it doesn’t matter to him if he starts or not.

Also, Saunders was asked if Rubio and D’Angelo Russell would share the backcourt together and he answered in the affirmative, just in case that wasn’t clear for anyone.

Rubio also spoke about understanding how Towns operates and being able to help motivate him and assist in leading the team.

Ed Davis on the role he’ll play on the Minnesota Timberwolves

Veteran big man Ed Davis was added via trade with the New York Knicks and spoke about his relationships with current Wolves players and reuniting with assistant coaches Pablo Prigioni and David Vanterpool, the former of whom he played for in Brooklyn and the latter in Portland.

Davis was asked by The Athletic’s Britt Robson (also at the above link) about the differences in playing the 4 versus playing the 5 in Vanterpool’s “drop” defensive scheme. Davis responded by saying that it largely depends on who he’s sharing the floor with, but that he is comfortable playing both roles.

Davis will be integral to this team’s defensive success this year, even in the 16 to 18 minutes per game that he’s likely to play.

Juancho Hernangomez on new/old teammates Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley

Wolves forward Juan Hernangomez spoke to the media on Wednesday and expressed his excitement to play with a pair of former teammates on the 2020-21 edition of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hernangomez came over from the Devner Nuggets last year along with Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, and he talked about his relationship with Malik in particular.

Additionally, Hernangomez talked about playing with Rubio, his teammate on the Spanish national team.

Hernangomez also gave his thoughts on the Wolves’ best player.

The Wolves front office has assembled a roster with plenty of connections — players to coaches, players to the front office, and players to each other, the vast majority of this roster has a direct connection to someone else in the organization that preceded their individual arrivals in the Twin Cities. And this doesn’t speak anything to the existing friendship of the team’s two best players.

There’s a lot to be said about familiarity. Now, the obvious next question is, will this familiarity, comfort, and apparent new-found confidence translate into wins?

Next. 3 reasons for Wolves fans to be excited about 2020-21. dark

Training camp begins in earnest by the end of this week, and then it’s only a week until the team takes the court. Get excited for Timberwolves basketball (finally).