Week of practice has been a 'training camp redo' for Wolves starters
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Consider it round No. 2 of training camp.
With eight days between preseason games, this week has had a training camp feel for the Minnesota Timberwolves, complete with aggressive two and a half hour-plus practices
It has come at a key time after the first two weeks of the preseason brought a blunt reminder of the development the Wolves must still undergo if they want live up to their own "playoffs-or-bust" level expectations this year.
The main criticism to come out of the Wolves' first four preseason games, which they traversed with a 2-2 record, was the notable inconsistency and disjointed play from the starting-five (Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Corey Brewer), plus an overall up and down energy level.
An extensive week of practice seems to be changing that.
"Tuesday was a little slow, but the past few days have been really great," Love said Thursday after the third in a string of five straight practices before the Wolves leave Saturday for a exhibition match-up Sunday with the Boston Celtics in Montreal.
"We've taken a step forward every day. Instead of the second unit kicking our butts, we're kicking theirs, so that's good. It's kind of like a training camp redo."
• Solidifying depth on the wing is one the Wolves' primary tasks still waiting to be taken care of.
Swingman Chase Budinger's recovery from knee surgery is likely to keep him out until at least December. His absence has left an obvious hole. Corey Brewer remains the projected starter in the three-spot, but it is still to be determined what the backup rotation will look like.
"We have to make some decision as to who is going to play behind Corey," Adelman said. "Right now, I'm really not sure what we're going to do."
• Forward Derrick Williams is being used at both the three and four spots, with Adelman yet to settle on what he likes best. Adelman says he plans to continue shifting between the two positions at least through Sunday's game against the Celtics.
• The new season has brought out a new side of soft-spoken second-year guard Alexey Shved.
"We've finally got Shved talking, so that's a good thing," Love joked. "He's a lot more comfortable. He's fun to have around."
• Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders was at practice Thursday, chatting afterwards with Adelman. Love mentioned Saunders has come to practice several times in the last three weeks and has periodically done a little coaching of his own.
• Reserve center Ronny Turiaf is known for his candor and his approachable personality. He also has a distinct fashion sense. Apart from the mismatched socks he tends to wear off the court, he can usually be seen at practice and in pregame warm-ups donned in sweat pants, tucked into his socks.
Turiaf had a simple response about his signature style: "It's all about the swag."