Wolves' coach Adelman wants to play more of Barea with Rubio

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 14, 2014 - 11:38 AM

Coach Rick Adelman would like to play Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea together more often.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman liked what he saw with Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea on the floor together Tuesday against Milwaukee. As a result, you might see more of it going forward.

It is one of the changes Adelman is considering as the season dwindles down, games have more importance and rotations tighten. It is also the end result of a difficult season in which Adelman has struggled to find a set rotation.

Tuesday against the Bucks, the two guards played together for a bit in the first half, then again for the bulk of the fourth quarter. The Wolves were a plus-17 when they played together. Rubio finished with a triple-double, and Barea was efficient on the offensive end.

It is a combination that gives the Wolves an extra ballhandler on the court and plays to Barea’s strengths.

For much of the season Adelman has used Barea as the backup point guard for the second unit. But that group has struggled, with injuries to Chase Budinger to start the season and to center Ronny Turiaf twice during the season. It has also put a lot of pressure on Barea to be both the ballhandler and the scorer for a second unit that has been very up and down this season.

“Sometimes I get in trouble when we struggle to score with that second unit,” Barea said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to score, and that’s when I get into a little trouble.’’

Adelman’s idea is to use a rotation of Rubio, Barea and Kevin Martin at the guard positions to get Barea more minutes with starting players and more time playing with Rubio.

“I think it’s better when Ricky has the ball to start with, and then when he kicks it to J.J., now you can get another pick-and-roll where [the defense] isn’t locked in on him,” Adelman said. “He doesn’t have great size, so when they lock in on him, he can’t see. … Any chance I get [to play them together] I’ll try to do that. Because it’s nice to have those two on the court together.’’

Part of the plan could be to get Barea into the game earlier, with the first team, in place of Rubio. That would allow Barea to get into a rhythm for when Rubio returns.

The problem is defensive matchups. Playing two point guards together — something Adelman was forced to do with Rubio and Luke Ridnour last season because of injuries — will only work when the defensive matchups work, as they did Tuesday, when the Bucks played much of the game with two point guards.

But, against smaller lineups, Adelman could see a three-guard lineup with Martin playing the three.

“One thing when you play the three guards, it’s an easy rotation,” Adelman said. “When Chase came back we tried to get him going. And then there is the matter of who is going to play behind Corey [Brewer]. I don’t know, it could be my fault, but we never got a rotation with any kind of consistency.’’

That could be changing. Budinger has struggled with his shot, and might see fewer minutes. Certainly until center Nikola Pekovic’s injury-induced minutes limitation is lifted, forward Kevin Love is going to be forced to play big minutes.

But it’s clear that, for the stretch run, Adelman wants to shorten his bench, and look for opportunities to get his two guards on the floor together.

“J.J. is a great scorer and sometimes he needs to play the two,” Rubio said. “It’s hard to do when they play two big guards. But I like playing with him.”

Turiaf gets back on court

Center Ronny Turiaf did some things in practice Thursday, his first on-court activity since sustaining a bone bruise in his right knee Feb. 19.

“I think they’ll start pushing him more and see what he can do,” Adelman said. “If we could get him back it would be so much easier for us.” Turiaf said he still feels pain in the knee when he bends it and when cutting and running. “I will see how I respond [Friday],” he said.

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Wolves at Charlotte

    Thursday March 13, 2014

    wolves gameday6 P.M. at CHARLOTTE • TIME WARNER CABLE ARENA • FSN, 830-AMPreview: Just one game over .500 after having...

  • Ricky Rubio smiled with J.J. Barea during a timeout during first half action at Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday December 15, 2012.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60


question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters