Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Muhammad returns to Wolves a more confident player

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves practice news Updated: January 13, 2014 - 3:20 PM

Shabazz Muhammad returned to Minnesota a more confident player than the one who went to play four games with the Iowa Energy of the NBA’s Development League.

And this is coming both from Muhammad -- who averaged 24.5 points on 57.1-percent shooting along with 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game – and Wolves president of basketball operations, who was in Des Moines Sunday to watch Muhammad play.

First Muhammad, who returned to the team for day’s practice: “It felt great,” he said about his extended playing time in the D-League. “It felt a little bit like college and high school. I mean, it was a good thing. It gave me a lot of confidence coming into practice today. And I believe I can really help this team out if I just get the opportunity.”

And now Saunders: “He went down, he played hard, he played team basketball,” Saunders said. “He was aggressive. I wanted to see him run the floor and do the things he can do. I think, no question, he gained a little confidence. When you haven’t played much, it’s nice to get down there and just play. I thought he did a lot of good things.”

All that said, of course, when that opportunity to play extensively for the Wolves is unknown. For the first time in nearly two years Wolves coach Rick Adelman has an entirely healthy roster to work with. With backup center Ronny Turiaf back and a healthy Chase Budinger to help spread the floor for the second unit, it’s going to be hard for Adelman to find minutes, especially for a rookie.

“We have 15 guys,” Adelman said. “Only so many guys can play. But, in this league, things can happy very quickly, and you’ve got to be ready all the time. I think he’s proven with his attitude and everything else.’’

This is a situation Muhammad said he understood. “Whatever the coaches do, I’m going to respect,” he said. “And I’m going to wait my turn.’’

Here are some other items from today’s practice:

--Saunders identified four things that have hurt the Wolves at different times in close losses this season: Free throw shooting down the stretch, getting multiple defensive stops, turnovers, and finding the second option on offense when the first option isn’t there. “Those are the things we continue to work on every day,” Saunders said. “Even though I’ve been a coach, I’m pretty patient on things because I look at this team and I realize we’ve played 37 games. These guys have only played 37 games together. So it’s a work in progress.’’

--Adelman was asked if Budinger might be a candidate to start going forward. The answer: his current 18-minute time limit (though he played 22 minutes in San Antonio. “I couldn’t get him out of the game,” Adelman said, defending himself) would make that a moot point in the short run. “I haven’t even thought about that,” Adelman said.

--The new method for putting together All Star teams will make it harder for Wolves center Nikola Pekovic to make the Western Conference squad. But Pekovic, who has averaged 22.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in January, is definitely worthy, according to Saunders. "I had some people, this was three, four weeks into the season, question me and say, 'How could you be happy with Pek's signing? don't you think you made a big mistake?' At that time, I said no. I knew over the summertime that Pek had not played at all, and when a guy hasn't played for the first time in seven, eight years, it's going to take some time. ... It was just taking time to get his body to where he wanted it to be. Our medical people have worked a lot with him abou this flexibility. There's no qustion right now that if they had not changed the rules on the All Star games that he would be an All Star. So our job now is to push, because I think he's deserving of being an All Star. He's one of the top big guys in the league.''

--Monday was Turiaf's 31st birthday, and the team concluded practice by singing Happy Birthday to him.

That’s about it for now. Have a great rest of your day. 


Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8:00 PM
UNLV 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota 9:00 PM





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