The first practice under Rick Adelman is history.
It very well doesn’t mean anything, but it was interesting to check out Adelman working with a unit that consisted of Ricky Rubio, Malcolm Lee, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph and Kevin Love while Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson, Darko!, Luke Ridnour and others worked on an adjacent court on Friday.
“That won’t be a regular starting team when we scrimmage,” Adelman said before the practice. “We’re going to mix guys in and out all the time and they’re going to have to understand that and then we’ll make decisions. And what we decide for the first game may not hold true.”
Here’s what Adelman had to say about this first practice:
“The scrimmage was really ragged, which is typical,” he said. “We kind of let it go to see how’d they react. They were in a hurry. The things we talked about today in our meeting: We’ve got to defend better, especially in our transition defense. It has been our breakdown and we’ve got to take care of the ball. We made poor decisions with the ball. It’s just something we have to get used to.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen ‘em play. I like their attitude. I like the way that they competed….I don’t think their conditioning is bad, but that’s maybe something we’ll have to scrimmage more.”
He also got his first look at Ricky Rubio Friday.
“I thought he did well,” Adelman said. “He can really pass the ball. I was able to see different things he can do. I liked the way he handles the ball, I like the way he defends, I think he has to be careful with his hands defensively.
“We’re going to tweak things for people. The biggest thing for this team is the spacing. They’ve got to understand the spacing we need. They’ve got to understand the timing we need.”
Earlier in the day, Adelman said at the team’s traditional media day that he had hoped the team could add some veterans.
I asked him after practice about the chances of them doing that in these next two weeks.
“I hope so,” he said. “I think we’re looking all the time to see who’s out there, who’s available.”
Asked about his team’s needs, he said, “I think right now from what we’ve seen, our wings need to handle the ball better. They have to be able playmakers. All these guys have to learn to make the extra pass. Don’t force the issue. Make the extra pass, and that’s recognition. That’s just seeing what’s there and understanding, `That’s not there, go to the next option.’
“They’re not ready for that yet. They kind of look at very first option and they force the issue. You can’t do that. So if we don’t have anybody else, we’ve got to improve these people with their decision making and ball handling.”
So what are their options?
They’re looking for a ball-handling, playmaking shooting guard – although they wouldn’t turn away an athletic starting center like DeAndre Jordan, either – now that their pursuit of free-agent center Chuck Hayes has ended.
Sacramento agreed to terms with Hayes on Friday for a 4-year, $21.3 million deal after the Wolves had made it to the two finalists on him.
Now they will likely turn their search toward that shooting guard.
Jamal Crawford, Arron Afflalo, Nick Young, Jason Richardson, DeShawn Stevenson and Willie Green all are still on the market or they could pursue Houston’s Kevin Martin in a trade.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Wolves can get in on that resurrected Chris Paul trade.Martin was supposed to be one of the pieces the Rockets send to New Orleans in a three-way trade that also included the Lakers.
The NBA wants the franchise it owns to get younger player and more draft picks in the deal. The Wolves could throw some of their young pieces – Wes Johnson or Michael Beasley plus some combination of Nikola Pekovic, Wayne Ellington, Lazar Hayward, etc., -- into the deal to give the Hornets more young players and bring Martin back from New Orleans via Houston in what now is a three-way trade between the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets.
I know David Kahn has considered Martin overpaid, but maybe Rick Adelman will change his mind after Adelman coached Martin for more than a season.
Also about Friday: Rookie Derrick Williams' contract paperwork was being processed and not finalized, but he agreed in Friday's practice anyway.
Second-round pick Malcolm Lee also wasn't officially signed, but he, too, participated.
Both contracts should be completed shortly.
Friday was the first day Adelman talked specifically about his players and new team.
Here's some of what he had to say, which I edited down from his media-day appearance for Saturday's paper. You can find it here.
And here's the notebook that Kent Youngblood wrote, focusing on another back surgery that will keep Martell Webster out indefinitely.
The Wolves practice once on Saturday afternoon.
I'll check in with you after that.
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