The Timberwolves' morning shootaround before tonight's season opener at San Antonio lasted nearly two hours, if you including the concluding media-availability session.
After they shot, new star Jimmy Butler declared his team ready and himself question free about his new Wolves.
"I live for this, man," he said. "This is what all summer is for."
Well, sort of.
Fans are curious to see what this remade team looks like and someone asked Butler for the biggest question he has about these Wolves.
"I don't have any question marks," he said. "I just want to know if we're going to be the toughest team night in and night out. If we're making shots, be the toughest team. If we're missing shots, be the toughest team. Home, away, be the toughest team. That's what I want us to become."
Asked how much he'll lead this team, he said, "I've got a little bit. I think Thibs has got that by the reins though. That's what he's known for. I'm just here to help in whichever way it might be, offense or defense. I just want to win. I've always wanted to win."
He also said there's nothing new in his relationship with Tom Thibodeau now that they're back together for a second run with each other.
"Not at all," Butler said. "He's still getting on my nerves every morning when I wake up. That love-hate relationship is still there. New colored jerseys, a lot of new faces for myself and for him. We're ready to go."
The Spurs will open the season without stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, both of whom are sidelined by separate quad injuries.
The Spurs, though, as they always have, will just keep on going.
"Injuries happen in this league and when they do, you have to go to the next guy and he has to get in there and get the job done," Thibodeau said. "The Spurs do that as well as anyone, understanding what each personâs role is and what their job is. And when the opportunity comes, be ready to go out there and execute. Theyâve always managed when people went out, they keep functioning at a high level. Thatâs part of their culture."
A couple other quick things from shoot...
Thibs on new Boston star Gordon Hayward's gruesome ankly injury sustained early in Tuesday's season opener against Cleveland: It's unfortunate and heâs such a great guy. You hate to see that happen to anybody. But obviously our thoughts and prayers are with him. Weâre hopeful he makes aÂ full and speedy recovery."
I asked Butler if he had seen anythign brewing on his former Bulls team that would have led him to believe anything might happen as it did in Chicago's practice Tuesday. The Bulls on Wednesday suspended forward Bobby Portis for eight games for a Tuesday fight in practice in which teammate Nikola Mirotic was taken to the hospital because of a broken bone in his face.
"Hey, all I know is I'm not to blame for this," Butler said. "I don't know. I'm going to be quiet on the matter. Jimmy Butler is not the bad guy."
One last thing: Remember tonight's tip is a late 8:30 p.m. because it's a ESPN game.