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.

Training camp, Day 2: Thinking big

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves players, Wolves practice news, Wolves training camp, Wolves news Updated: September 27, 2010 - 9:30 AM

The Wolves reversed things Sunday -- a schedule they will probably duplicate daily until they break camp here in Mankato Wednesday night -- by holding their non-contact practice in the morning and then finishing tonight's practice with a scrimmage.

Michael Beasley left the scrimmage near the very end after banging his left hand, an injury that required ice afterward but is not believed to be serious.

Wes Johnson did participate in most of this scrimmage after being held out Saturday morning because of that troublesome hamstring.

John Thomas stopped early tonight bothered by a hamstring, or a "hammy" as Kurt Rambis likes to call 'em.

The main impression I came away with after watching tonight's three-team affair:

There's no comparison with the bigs from last year to this year.

Of course, last year you had Ryan Hollins, Oleksiy Pecherov and the famous Jared Reiner complementing power forwards Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.

This time, the Wolves have Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic and Kosta Koufos.

Koufos actually probably stood out more than anybody tonight, if only because there have been low expectations for a guy David Kahn hinted might not even be on the roster when they acquired him as part of some salary-cap bookkeeping in that Al Jefferson trade back in July.

Koufos showed a nice outside jumper and looked lively.

"I feel like I'm a very good shooter, that I can play inside and out," he said. "Most importantly, you've got to play within the system."

And hey, he's also got this going for him:

Playoff experience.

All 30 minutes of it in nine games with Utah last spring.

"He played very well tonight," Rambis said. "He threw his body around defensively. He made outside shots. He did a really good job running the floor. He had a really good session tonight."

Pekovic scored on a nice move spinning baseline and then banking the ball into the basket. The guy's got a low-post game, that much is obvious.

But you saw something in the scrimmage you hope you don't see every day: Darko dribbling behind his back.

Afterward, I asked Rambis about the obvious upgrade: Milicic-Pekovic-Koufos subbed for Hollins-Pecherov-Reiner from a year ago.

Rambis paused and then delivered a very short, very measured answer.

"I like the guys we have on our team now," he said.

Two months ago, you might have wondered if you'd ever see Koufos in Minnesota. Tonight, I asked him if he feels like he's here to stay or if he feels like he has to prove himself every day.

"I have two feet in as a Minnesota Timberwolf," he said. "Just taking it day by day and working hard."

If he were older than 21, I'd swear he had been tutored in his media dealing by Crash Davis.

A couple other things:

* Jonny Flynn won't be going to Europe with the team. He'll stay behind and concentrate on rehabilitating his hip. He said he had been looking forward to London and Paris but called staying home "a good cause" if it'll get him back ont he court quicker.

Looks like he won't play a game until at least sometime in November, but could get back on the court for some work if he gets approval at an Oct. 18 doctor's appointment in Colorado.

“We don’t really have an etched-in-stone timetable, anything can happen,” Flynn said. “We’re just going to take our time to make sure I get out there healthy. If that’s the first game of the regular season, so be it. If that’s the middle of November, so be it. But whenever I’m healthy and feel I can go out there and play 100 percent, that’s when I’ll be out there.”

* Guess what Mike Beasley today said is his refuge from, well, being Mike Beasley: Golf, of all things. Just don't tell Rambis. He HATES golf...and golfers.

* Referees brought from the Twin Cities to Mankato for the scrimmage were 40 minutes late because Hwy 169 was closed Sunday morning between St. Peter and Mankato because of flooding.

* Assistant GM Tony Ronzone will host a lunch Monday mostly for Southern Minnesota media. A year ago, David Kahn was the guy. He really has taken a low profile since getting fined by the NBA in July for those Michael Beasley comments.

That's all for tonight.

Wolves practice again Monday at 10 and 5.

See ya after that!



 

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