New Wolves coach Adelman looking for leaders

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2011 - 7:44 AM

The Wolves new coach needs his top players to buy into his system and bring the rest with them.

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Three hours before he took the court with his new team Friday, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman talked specifically about his players and his philosophies for the first time.

Here is what he had to say:

Q  What did you see in this roster that convinced you to take the job?

A  I knew they had a lot of young players. When we played them last year, I was always surprised. I thought they should have won more games. But you're not here, you're not coaching them. You don't know why things happened.

Q  How much did your relationship with Kevin Love -- and the chance to coach him -- influence you?

A  He's one of their best players. He was someone I kept telling our people in Houston: If you figure out a way to get him with Yao [Ming], then we've got something. I knew what type of player he was, so he gives you a starting point. I'm like everybody: I never thought he was going to rebound like he did last year. That was something.

Q  How do you build off the success he has had already?

A  Him, [Michael] Beasley, these guys are really talented. In some ways, things have been easy for them. They have to learn they not only have to do things for themselves, they have to make their teammates better. They have to find a way to do that. I truly believe Kevin will do that naturally. I know he can do things that a lot of people can't and things he hasn't done yet. He's got the court vision and basketball IQ of a guy like Vlade Divac.

Q  You have 17 days to prepare for the season opener. What do you leave out and what do you emphasize in this short training camp?

A  There are two areas, looking at the film: These players have to take some responsibility at the defensive end. It's horrendous the way they approach it. And for as much as they scored, I think they led the league in turnovers. That's decision-making. There's a trust level in the way you play the game at both ends. We have to make them understand this is how we're going to play. I wish we had a couple of veterans coming in who can teach these guys. With a young team, you're looking for who's going to grow. Who's going to buy in? That's what we're looking for the next two weeks.

Q  Have you seen enough of Ricky Rubio to know what you have?

A  I really haven't. I know one thing: He can really pass the ball. He has great instincts. He sees things. My job is to figure out his best strengths and get him some success early so he has some confidence. That's true of all these guys.

Q  How can you get everything out of Michael Beasley that's in there?

A  There's a growth guys go through in the league. His growth is going to come. Like I said about Kevin, if he starts making his teammates better ... he's got to be consistent. Like everybody, defensively the effort has to be there. Some guys, it takes longer. I'm not hiding anything. They won 17 games. Things have to change. Guys have to realize they have to do things better in other areas. Guys like Michael and Kevin, when they do it, everybody will follow.

Q  How do you play a roster filled with so many natural small and power forwards together?

A  It's a very short time. I have two exhibition games. I have to figure out who plays the best together. There are two ends of the court. There won't be a regular starting team when we scrimmage and what we decide for the first game may not hold true. And they have to understand that.

Q  How much center can Love play?

A  We have a number of guys flexible enough to play two positions. A lot depends on the defensive matchups, but I think you're going to see Kevin playing some center.

Q  Can you play Love, Beasley and Derrick Williams together much?

A  We'll see what combinations work best. They're all three talented players. I don't see why we couldn't play them. The key is, they're going to figure out how to defend and rebound because offensively we should have an advantage.

Q  Can Anthony Randolph play center as well?

A  I think he can. He'll have to learn how to use his quickness against a bigger or stronger guy. The biggest thing for me is make these guys understand their strengths, at both ends of the floor.

Q  How do you balance trying to win vs. developing this young talent?

A  You go with the people who help you win. I don't know about development. Potential gets coaches fired. I'm not worried about any of that. I'm way past that. I may have to experiment. I may play the wrong people at the wrong time, but I'm finding out what we're going to do with these guys.

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