Well Twolves fans, we have arrived! Training camp and the preseason are upon us and the season is weeks away!
The Pups officially broke from their first camp in Mankato a week ago (10/5) after four substantive practices with the new roster. The first day’s camp lasted four hours and the rest weren’t much shorter. The bad news, we have a few injuries. The good news, it doesn’t seem to be anything too detrimental and none of it includes the words “Brandon Roy’s knee”.
Rather than bore you with two week’s worth of information that you are already likely aware of, here are two places to consider if you need to be brought up to speed. Jerry Zgoda has done a real nice job, in my opinion, on covering camp and provided blog entries after each day’s practice. Thanks Jerry! I also thought the Wolves Digital team came through again with a lot of information, interviews, and in general, engaging content for fans.
In regards to the injuries, we are all well aware that Ricky isn’t doing much but hanging out with the team and doing a little bit of bike work, running, and flat-footed shooting. There isn’t much new to report here and the team is still looking for a mid-December return to the court for the franchise cornerstone. However, what was once thought of a place of strength and depth, our PG position is looking a bit concerning right now. Luke Ridnour missed the first preseason game on Wednesday with a sore back. He has since traveled to Fargo to join the team but is out again tonight. I have to say that I don’t see the need to play Luke at all until he is back at full strength (pun intended). He needs to be ready for Friday, 11/2 vs. Sacramento, not Friday, 10/12. Malcolm Lee also missed Wednesday’s game with a groin injury and I haven’t seen news one way or the other on his return for tonight’s game. Unlike Ridnour, I would like to see Lee in the lineup and getting minutes this preseason.
Everyone else seems to have a clean slate on the health/injury front. That showed on Wednesday night as the Twolves hosted the Pacers for the opening of preseason games in Fargo. I was able to watch a lot of this game online (don’t ask) and came away largely impressed with the team effort that was put forth. The Wolves won big (84-70) and it never really felt that close. Here are a few random notes that I had written down for particular players and/or within the flow of the game itself:
- Starting lineup: Barea, Roy, Kirilenko, Love, Pekovic
- Barea played a really nice, solid game I thought. He was playing much more into the flow of the game itself and not out of control like 80% of the time last season.
- Roy also played well, showing an ability to play in the post, do some cutting to the basket and getting to the FT line – an area we need him to come through on.
- Kirilenko finished the game with 3 points and I was waiting to see someone send out a negative tweet on the performance. Why? Because if you saw the game, you would know that AK47 was arguably the biggest influencer on the final outcome. There are no 0’s in his box score. You may recall I brought this up in the Olympics write-up. You can either call me Nostradamus, or just lazy for not wanting to write about it any further.
- Love didn’t shoot the ball incredibly well (5-14) but ho-hum, just your average 12 and 8 in under 30 minutes of action. He did manage to complain to the refs a few times and I’d really like to see that be cut down quite a bit.
- Pekovic looked really good. He showed good footwork on the block and a handful of post moves. He absolutely dominated Hibbert, who picked up 5 fouls and was quiet throughout.
- Budinger and Shved were the first two off the bench and both played well. This is beginning to sound like a homer’s take on the game.
- Budinger hit corner jump shots and made the Wes Johnson era look just as abysmal as we all thought it was.
- Shved played with some flair, but didn’t hit a shot and went under/behind screens too often. That said, he did have 4 rebounds and 4 assists and played both guard positions. My expectations are getting too high for this kid.
- DWill, Steimsma, and Conroy were the next trio off the bench in the rotation.
- DWill had a decent shooting game, but there were a few soundbytes from Adelman after the game that hinted at him not enjoying the long distance jumpers. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from DWill this year.
- Steimsma & Conroy played less than 20 minutes each, but I thought both filled backup roles pretty nicely. Steimsma surprised me by hitting an outside jumper in the 2nd quarter.
- Cunningham & Amundson got some extensive “gah-bage” time due to the score of the game and both gave their hustle and effort type performances.
- Mike Harris checked in towards the very end of the game and this scouting report ends right now.
Overall, I thought it was a great way to get back into the action for the Pups. There was ball movement, good defense, and enough offense to never really make the game close once they broke out with the lead in the 2nd quarter.
The Wolves play the Pacers again tonight (Friday) and it looks like Adelman will try a few different lineups. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do with Roy as well, given there is another game tomorrow and there has been a lot of talk about not playing him in back to back games this preseason. There really isn’t a need to in my opinion.
It’s nice to have the Twolves back! Let’s go Wolves!