Wolves pregame: Corey Brewer to start at SF in season opener vs Magic
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Another NBA season is finally upon us.
The Minnesota Timberwolves open up their widely hyped 2013-14 campaign tonight against the visiting Orlando Magic (0-1).
And no one is more happy to get the year underway than the Wolves players and coaches, who no longer have to answer the "Are you excited for the season?" questions that have been frequently lobbed their way in the stretch run of the preseason.
"It's always good to get going," said Rick Adelman, who kicks off his 23rd season as an NBA head coach. "After exhibitions you get real tired after a while. You want to get going, start the thing and see what you have. That's where we are. But it's always a thrill to get started and to be there for another year. It's never a given."
Brewer gets starting nod
The decision had been left up to debate throughout the preseason, but Adelman has settled on his starting small forward for the opener.
Corey Brewer is slated to get the start in his first game back in Minnesota after a two-year absence.
Adelman made sure to add the caveat that the wing spot is still very much open to tweaking.
"It could change for the first week or so," Adelman said pregame. "But I think he's played well with that starting group and we want to get off to a good start and use his energy. Then we'll go from there."
Brewer started the first four games of the preseason before Derrick Williams, Robbie Hummel and Cunningham each got a start in the final three.
Plenty of maneuvering can be expected at the spot in the opening month of the season, with Williams, Cunningham, Hummel and rookie Shabazz Muhammad all options to compete with Brewer for playing time.
Rubio ready to go
A year ago, opening day wasn't a feel-good moment for Rubio, still recovering from an ACL tear.
"I was sitting on the side with Kevin and I remember watching him and feeling a little painful, watching our teammates going out there and we couldn't be with them,"
Rubio won't have to worry about that this time around.
Now, with his knee fully healed and refreshed cast around him, Rubio is expecting Wednesday to be the opposite of painful. It will be Rubio's first time introduced in the Wolves' opening day lineup, having come off the bench in his rookie campaign two years ago.
Chase Budinger isn't expected to be back on the court until January, but the Wolves swingman could rejoin the Wolves in Minnesota within the next few weeks.
Budinger underwent surgery on Sept. 30 at Dr. James Andrews' orthopedic facility in Pensacola, Fla., to remove 25 percent of his left meniscus. In the weeks since, he has been rehabbing in Florida.
Adelman said he recently spoke with Budinger, who is hoping to be cleared to continue his rehab in the Twin Cities.
President of basketball operations Flip Saunders admitted Budinger could be ready to play before Jan. 1, but given the forward's injury history, the Wolves are being notably cautious.
"He's coming along," Saunders said Wednesday on 1500 ESPN's Judd and Dubay show. "He's a little bit ahead of where we thought he would be right now, but we're still going to be cautious about how we go about dealing with him.
"He's still down working with Dr. Andrews, making good progress. So we'll get a good evaluation here in probably two or three weeks to see where he's really at."