Love on trade deadline: 'I wish we got a couple of those guys'
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
The 2 p.m. trade deadline came and went Thursday without the Minnesota Timberwolves making any moves to try to improve their team which sits firmly in the Western Conference cellar at 13-45.
That's not to say there weren't deals to be made. Kendrick Perkins ended up in Oklahoma City Thunder, Gerald Wallace was sent to the Portland Trailblazers and Shane Battier is now a Memphis Grizzly.
"I wish we got a couple of those guys," Kevin Love said when he was informed of who went where. "I'd take Perkins, Wallace, Battier, all those guys but we will see what happens in the off season."
"Crazy," he said. "I never thought it would be like this but we've blown up the team a couple times and moved a lot of pieces and now Corey's gone so now I am the last one."
And blowing the team up again is something that Love has no interest in. After making a Final Four in his only college season and winning a gold medal with Team USA last summer, Love knows what it is like to win and doesn't want to sit through another rebuilding faze this early in his career.
"I don't want to go through another rebuilding stage," he said. "Someone is going to get mad at me for saying this but, you got to start somewhere, you can't just keep (starting over). We got this young team now let's just keep this thing moving and get better."
Love, who is usually an optimist, still has faith in the team and believes they still have potential but even he is starting to get frustrated.
"Obviously my vision is a little skewed on it but I believe in the coaching staff, I believe in the front office and it can only get better from here. We have to get better. Something eventually has to give."
"So we are set with the guys we have and we have 24 games left to see what we have."
One of the unfortunate trademarks of the 2010-11 Wolves has been their lack of effort, especially at the start of games, and Love said last night was no exception.
"We didn't (play hard) last night, I'll tell you that," he said. "We need to play hard. I am going out there every night playing extremely hard, I know that. But it doesn't take one person, it takes everybody and we need to go out there and try to get the job done by any means possible."
Coach Kurt Rambis has continually attributed the inconsistent effort to the youth of the team and says it is just part of the maturation process.
"Well, you know it's the hallmark of young players and young teams," he said. "It's very difficult to be consistent in this league. Inconsistency is what you get with young players and young teams, so it's a process and we'll continue to work through it."
Multiple times this season both Rambis and the players have been encouraged the intensity and energy at practice but the team usually fails in carrying it over to the game.
"We are very good when no one is looking," Love said. "We need to be very good when everyone's watching. We just need to have tunnel vision and not worry about the crowd. We need to be a little tougher and lay people out. That goes from me all the way down to the last player on the bench."
"We have 24 games left, we better come out and play hard or it is going to be bad."
Randolph's first practice
Anthony Randolph took part in his first practice Thursday after joining the team Wednesday and getting a front row seat to the 104-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
"He was good," Rambis said. "You can see he's still in that mode right now of trying to figure things out, which makes players uncertain and hesitant. He's just trying to be in the right place at the right time. He's not completely confident but you can see the skill set's there."
"It went good," Randolph said. "A lot of good things. Had a great practice just trying to get my wind back and just trying to get into the rhythm of things.
Rambis said there is a "chance" Randolph may play Friday against the New Orleans Hornets but wouldn't elaborate on how big of a chance.
Randolph hasn't played in a game since Feb. 11 so he faces the uphill battle of not only getting his conditioning back but also learning a completely new offensive system.
"It is much different," Randolph said about the offense. "I got to catch myself running to the wings and stuff like that. It is more so running down the middle and the triangle offense so it is way different than what we ran in New York."
Randolph says the learning is coming along well and he is ready whenever his number gets called but said, "that's up to coach."
Randolph, 21, played against a lot of the Wolves, including Michael Beasley and Love, in AAU basketball growing up and his teammates are happy to have him here.
"I've known him since high school like a lot of these guys," Love said. "Very athletic, a pogo stick out there, left handed. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do out there come game night."
The word that just about everyone has used to describe Randolph has been 'versatility' and Love agrees.
"He's a shot blocker. He's a guy that can get in there and block some shots, get some rebounds. A guy who, if he wants to be, can be very good defensively. On the offensive end he can do a lot of intangible things. He can step out and hit shots from 15-18 feet and even the occasional three. Get put back dunks, get offensive rebounds and the thing I think he does really well is run the floor."