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.

Posts about Vikings draft

Rodney Williams, Berggren part of two-day draft camp at Target Center

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: May 27, 2013 - 1:18 PM

The list of draft prospects -- mostly guys who will go undrafted or might slip into the second round -- for the Wolves' annual two-day camp here at Target Center this week is out.

Gophers forward Rodney Williams is there, in the Wednesday's group.

Princeton, Minn.'s own Jared Berggren -- by way of Madison and the University of Wisconsin -- will work out in one of Tuesday's two groups.

Other names: Baylor guard Pierre Jackson, Illinois guard Brandon Paul, Memphis swingman D.J. Stephens, French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh and Texas A&M guard Elston Turner Jr., whose dad could end back on Rick Adelman's coaching staff after a couple years away.

There's nobody whose names you are going to hear when the Wolves make their two first-round picks in June.

But just to cover all their bases for the draft's second round and summer-league rosters, the Wolves are bringing these guys in on Tuesday and Wednesday for annual workouts attended by scouts from just about every other NBA team:

Group 1
Anthony Marshall, G UNLV
Kenny Boynton Jr., G, Florida
DeWayne Dedmon, F, USC
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France
Carrick Felix, F, Arizona State
Chris Babb, G, Iowa State
Group 2
Solomon Hill, F, Arizona
Will Clyburn, G, Iowa State
Michael Snaer, G, Florida State
Brandon Paul, G, Illinois
Derrick Nix, C, Michigan State
Jared Berggren, F/C, Wisconsin
Matt Dellavedova, G, St. Mary's
Pierre Jackson, G, Baylor
Brandon Davies, F, BYU
Jackie Carmichael, F, Illinois State
D.J. Stephens, F/G, Memphis
Rodney Williams, Jr., F, Minnesota
Group 2
Elston Turner, Jr., G, Texas A&M
B.J. Young, G, Arkansas
Alex Oriakhi, F, Missouri
James Southerland, F, Syracuse
Elias Harris, F, Gonzaga
Jamelle Hagins, F, Delaware


Wolves slotted for 9th, 26th picks in June draft

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: April 19, 2013 - 5:49 PM

The NBA get its after-season draft bookkeeping today, conducting blind draws for teams that finished with identical records.

Memphis lost a draw with the L.A. Clippers to see who'd get the Nos. 25 and 26 picks in the June 27 draft, which meant the Wolves, of course, lost that blind draw.

They'll get the Grizzlies' No. 26 pick in the draft.

They're also currently slotted to draft ninth overall, depending on the results of the May 21 lottery.

They have a 1.7 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall and could also pick second or third if they defy the odds and get one of the first three picks in the lottery.

Or they could very well could draft 10th -- or 11th or 12th, too, if you think they're really, really lottery cursed -- as well.

If they stay at No. 9, here's a list of picks at that spot since the Wolves entered the league in 1989: Tom Hammonds, Willie Burton, Stacey Augmon, Clarence Witherspoon, Rodney Rogers, Eric Montross, Ed OBannon, Samaki Walker, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Joel Przybilla, Rodney White, Amare, Mike Sweetney, Andre Iguodala, Ike Diogu, Patrick O'Bryant, Joakim Noah, D.J. Augustin, DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker and Andre Drummond.

The Wolves also own two second-round picks: the 52nd (Brooklyn's selection via New Orleans) and 59th (Oklahoma City's selection.)





Hummel to play in Europe

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: August 9, 2012 - 1:35 PM

Robbie Hummel, the Timberwolves' only pick in the NBA draft in June, said he will play in Europe next year.

Hummel told the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier he will play in Spain for El Obradoiro.

He was taken 58th overall in the draft after a storied career at Purdue that was marred by ACL surgeries in his right knee two times in one year. Hummel said he didn't feel 100 percent last season, his senior year with the Boilermakers.

Hummel told the newspaper that he has the Timberwolves' blessing to play abroad.

He is already listed on El Obradoiro's roster.

According to Mark Bartelstein, Hummel's agent, the decision was made "in conjunction" with the Wolves and was made with playing time in mind. Hummel was going to have a difficult time getting minutes this season, and extended playing time is crucial for the 6-8 forward right now. While Hummel wasn't 100 percent as a senior at Purdue, he is back to 100 percent now, Bartelstein said. But he needs minutes to get his complete game back.

"It's always the second year after a torn ACL that you get your game back at a high level," Bartelstein said. "Now he's entering that phase, getting back to being an elite-level player again."



Budinger meets the press

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: June 27, 2012 - 3:23 PM

 Lots of newsy nuggets came out of todays press conference over at Target Center, which began with Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman and newly acquired player Chase Budinger talking about the trade that brought Budinger here. 

But it also included updates on Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Kahn talking about further moves being made, either in the short-term or down the road.
Hello. Kent Youngblood here. I'll get you a quick update while Jerry Zgoda tweets and works on his stories for tomorrow.
--Let's start with Derrick Williams.
Everybody's been wondering how he would look to improve his game and his body in his first professional off-season. Well, here's the update from Kahn.
Williams was not able to really start working out until after Memorial Day because he had surgery to repair the septum in his nose. Indeed, Kahn said that once the surgery was performed, it was discovered Williams had three fractures in his nose he didn't even know about. The Wolves are convinced that his improved breathing ability will be a big plus.
Since he started working out, Williams has been working with trainer Gunnar Peterson -- Kevin Love's guy. Kahn said he went to see Williams last week and was pleased with what he saw. "I think his weight was down to 233 (Williams was listed at 241 as a rookie)."
Unfortunately, a bout with pink eye put Williams down for a few days. But Kahn said Williams was hoping to lose more weight. "He's intent on pushing as low as 225," Kahn said. "That's not a mandate from us. That's what he wants. Here we are, June 27, he's been at it four weeks. We're pleased with what he's been doing."
As for Williams status, as in, is he on the trading block? Kahn wouldn't go there. He reiterated his belief that only Love and Ricky Rubio are untouchable, everybody else falls into other categories. But he did stress that Williams is only 21. "This is a very important summer for him to demonstrate he's serious about his craft, his occupation," Kahn said, "about taking care of himself, and do what one must do in an off-season. ... I'm eager to see the results of his summer."
-Now, on to Ricky Rubio.
Rubio, who had surgery on his knee in March, left for Spain yesterday. But he didn't cross the pond alone. The Wolves sent a staff physical therapist with Love to make sure Love continues on the rehab schedule he's been keeping thus far.
Kahn said a checkup last week on Rubio showed very good progress. Rubio is due back in Colorado for a checkup about six weeks from now. Kahn wouldn't put a time table on his return to the court, however.
--And now, here is more on the Budinger trade.
Interesting as to how it came about. Kahn said he made it clear to Houston GM Daryl Morey at the pre-draft combine in Chicago that the Wolves would be interested in acquiring Budinger, who played two of his first three seasons for Adelman. No proposals were made.
A few days ago Adelman came to Kahn and said he'd gotten a call indicating there was a chance of swinging a deal before the draft, and that's exactly what happened.
In Budinger the Wolves get a player who is still young, but has three years of NBA experience, two of them in Adelman's system. He can shoot from the outside, he's good at making the extra pass -- key to Adelman's offense -- and he has flexibility, able to play big guard or small forward.
Adelman talked all last season about the need for more wing players who could both knock down an open shot and be a play maker. Today Adelman said Budinger helps in both areas.
Adelman likes Budinger's ability to shoot off a screen -- something he wasn't allowed to do much in Houston last season under coach Kevin McHale -- his ability to cut to the basket and make a pass.
"He does a lot of things we need wing people to do," Adelman said. "He can come off screens, and he can shoot the ball very well. And his cutting, he has an instinct for that. That's really going to help us."
Adelman said Budinger will enter training camp as a player high in the Wolves' rotation, though he wouldn't talk specifically about the minutes Budinger should play. 
But it's clear his acquisition means the Wolves have some redundancy among wing players, one reason why Kahn said we should all assume that other changes will be made. Among those Budinger's arrival could impact the team's plans for Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster. 
(An aside: When asked about roster decisions to be made, including those on Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Webster, Kahn said those decisions would be made by Saturday).
Kahn said the roster was better for having made the move, but said other moves were likely. "You should assume there will be other changes made," he said.
Budinger, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he played on a club team with Love and Brandon Jennings. His biggest memory: Love's outlet passing ability. "It was a fast-break drill," he said.
Budinger said he felt a bit underutilized in McHale's offense last year, when he was used mainly as a spot-up jumper and wasn't allowed to do more things. He said he's thrilled to be allowed to use his abilities off screens, something he'll get here.
"I think I can still grow a lot," he said. "I really haven't used my pick-and-roll very much in my NBA career so far. That's a part of my game I think I could really excel at."
Here are some other notes:
--Kahn confirmed reports that the Wolves were interested in former Portland shooting guard Brandon Roy, who is looking to get back into the NBA after missing last season with knee issues.
--Kahn said there is a chance the Wolves could make a move to jump back into the draft before their second round pick comes up (58th overall). It would only happen, he said, for a specific player or two the team values were to be available. 
--Kahn said he has not yet contacted the agent for Lior Eliyahu, the other player acquired in the Budinger draft. Eliyahu is currently with a team in Tel Aviv, Israel. Kahn said the next few days should bring some clarity about Eliyahu contract status and future plans. 
That's about it for now. Have a good day.

Wolves trade 18th pick to Houston for Chase Budinger, prospect

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: June 26, 2012 - 12:06 PM

The Timberwolves today traded the No. 18 pick in Thursday's draft to Houston for swingman Chase Budinger and prospect Lior Eliyahu, a source has confirmed.

The deal reunites Budinger, a former second-round pick who can play both small forward and shooting guard, with Wolves coach Rick Adelman, who coached him at Houston.

"I'm very excited," Budinger said from his home in San Diego this morning. "Rick Adelman was a great, great coach for me. I have much respect for him. I love his system. I feel like it fit me very well. I'm excited to get up there and see all the coaches."

It also would appear to take the Wolves out of most of the fun for draft night, unless, of course, this deal is a precursor to another.

Budinger, you might remember, scored a career-high 35 points against the Wolves in the 2010-11 season finale at Target Center.

Might there be more 35-point nights there for him now?

"Let's hope so," he said. "I do always play well in that gym. That's another good thing: I love playing in that gym."

When asked for his memories of that game, he said, "Just how it felt everything I shot, every time I went to the basket, I couldn't do any wrong."

The Wolves have until Saturday to pick up a team option on Budinger's contract that will pay him $942,000 this coming season.

He'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"I hope so," Budinger said when asked if he can see a California kid staying long term in Minnesota. "I've just got to go buy more warm coats."

When asked if he fared as well playing for Kevin McHale last season in Houston as he did his first two NBA seasons with Adelman, he said, "I don't think so. I definitely don't think so. Last year was a bit of a struggle for me, definitely with my playing time there, very inconsistent. I felt like I did a lot of standing around last year, which in Adelman's system you don't do at all. There's a lot of movement and sharing the ball. I definitely did a lot better in Adelman's system than McHale's."

The trade now gives the Rockets -- and a guy named Kevin McHale -- the 14th, 16th and 18th picks Thursday and allows them to package those picks for a higher pick in the draft, which presumably they could use to then deal to Orlando in a package for superstar Dwight Howard.

The Houston Chronicle and Draft Express first reported the trade.



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