Love and Brewer miss practice; Rambis' expectations for final 26 games
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The first practice after the All-Star break for the Minnesota Timberwolves was shorthanded not only because of injuries but Mother Nature's latest blizzard in Minneapolis.
Kevin Love and Corey Brewer both had travel plans delayed because of the snow and did not make it back in time for practice. Both were expected to land in Minneapolis in time to meet up with the team plane fore they head to Milwaukee ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Bucks.
Love of course was in Los Angeles where he represented the Wolves in Sunday's All-Star game but it wasn't known where Brewer spent his break. Both the Wolves' PR staff and coach Kurt Rambis maintained Brewer's absence was strictly travel related and has nothing to do with Thursday's league-wide trade deadline.
Brewer's name has been mentioned in multiple, changing-by-the-minute trade rumors that have become commonplace near trade deadlines in the Twitter-era. Brewer's contract expires at the end of the season and with a glut of wing players, he doesn't appear to be in the team's long-term plans, so getting something at the deadline rather than losing him for nothing this off season appears to be the smart move.
To no surprise, Rambis wouldn't comment on any potential trades before the deadline, "That's not my job."
Meanwhile, back on the court at practice, Michael Beasley said he took part in a full practice and expects to play tomorrow night in Milwaukee.
"It's good enough. I am ready. I did everything today (at practice). Got up and down. I felt good," Beasley said.
As has been the theme all season long, Beasley was more optimistic about his health than his typically reserved coach.
"He looked ok," Rambis said. "He looked a little rusty out there but he looked ok. He seemed to be moving fine."
While Beasley gave it a full-go Monday, both Martell Webster and Jonny Flynn were both limited. Flynn, as reported last week, will miss the next two games but Webster will be a game-time decision Tuesday.
"(Playing) is up to (Webster)," Rambis said. "He is still sore, his back is still sore. He probably went through more of practice than I was led to believe he was going to go through so we will see how he feels tomorrow"
Expectations for final 26 games
With the All-Star break behind them, Rambis has turned his focus to the final 26 games of the season.
"We are just looking to continue to improve as a ball club," he said. "We want guys to improve as individuals and want our team to continue to improve."
Rambis said he and his staff did the math and found that 21 of the final 26 games remaining are against teams that are either playoff bound or on the bubble and he likes the challenge that presents his 13-43 team that is currently in the cellar of the Western Conference.
"It is a good challenge for us," Rambis said. "That is the message I want to send our guys. It's a good opportunity to be in a competitive environment when those teams are fighting for something. Each game to them means something so we want to take that challenge to not only play them and do well against them but also to continue to build on our team aspects."
Rambis has come under a lot of scrutiny for the team's lack of effort as they limped to the All-Star break but still the thinks his team will figure it out down the stretch but continues to lament the lack of experience.
"I think the wins will come," he said. "You go back and look at the games that we've gone through so far, we've had a few stinkers like every team has had and we've had games where we've had great chances to win. And if we had more experience we probably would have won a vast majority of those games we were really close in."
"I think as we continue to improve and mature and develop as a ball club all of those will start to come."
Rambis said he wants -- and expects -- to see improvement the final third of the season but, in continuing a season-long trend, doesn't want to throw out a win total that would symbolize improvement.
"I didn't go into this season thinking of a number of wins and I am not going to go out the season thinking of a number of wins," he said. "All of the injuries we have had to deal with. Personal issues and things like that are things you can't account for and that is why you don't put numbers on wins. You just can't."
From David Kahn on down to the players, the entire organization has admitted that the lack of wins is a disappointment but Rambis says this is the team he wants but everyone must remain patient.
"I like this team. I like the guys on this team," he said. "We just have to mature and develop and group as individuals and as a team. When you have the youngest team in the league, the thing you lack is experience. We lack maturity in terms of the court time these guys have spent together on the floor, the experiences they have to gain as they grow as NBA ball players."