Wolves need Love's fill-ins to rebound much better

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2012 - 6:51 AM

Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams combine for just six rebounds in 49 minutes against Chicago on Friday.

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman split playing time at Kevin Love's vacated power-forward spot evenly between Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams during Friday's preseason loss at Chicago, and the two of them combined for six rebounds in nearly 49 combined minutes.

That's about what Love might collect in a couple of trips down the floor.

"That's not going to get it," Adelman said. "We have to have those two guys be more of a factor on the boards."

Cunningham started Friday, and Adelman brought Williams off the bench. He'll reverse the roles Wednesday and start Williams against Detroit in Winnipeg.

Williams continues to try to find his place -- in his true position -- on a team 16 months after the Wolves selected him second overall in the 2011 NBA draft.

When somebody suggested more has been expected from Williams than he has delivered so far, Adelman said, "Well, I don't know what people expected, though, because he played behind a second-team All-Pro guy last year and the guy played 40 minutes a game. That's not the easiest situation for somebody to be in.

"You've got to give him some time, give him some time to grow. That's not going to happen all at once."

Adelman said he expects to look at small forward Andrei Kirilenko at power forward during Friday's game against Milwaukee in Green Bay, Wis., an indication that Williams likely is one option -- but not THE option -- to replace Love and his 26 points and 13 rebounds every night.

"I just want to see him play and be effective," Adelman said of Williams. "I don't know what else to say. He's got to play both ends of the court. He's got to be more active, find out what he can do. We as a coaching staff have to put guys in positions to be successful, but then they've got to go do it.

"I'm not putting anything on him. As a team we have to find out how we can be successful because without Kevin it changes a lot of things."

Getting healthy?

Both starters Luke Ridnour (herniated disc in his back) and Nikola Pekovic (hand) practiced fully Monday and Adelman expects both to play Wednesday.

"He looked a lot better," Adelman said about Ridnour, who received a cortisone shot in his back Friday. "He says he feels a lot better. His conditioning, he's got to get there. We'll see how he feels tomorrow after going through this practice."

Knock on wood

Adelman, understandably, is a little sensitive about injuries now that Love and Ricky Rubio both are out and Pekovic didn't play Friday as a precautionary measure to get him healthy for the Nov. 2 season opener.

When asked how backup center Greg Stiemsma has come through preseason so far after fighting plantar fasciitis in his foot last season and summer, Adelman replied, "So far they've been fine. I wish you wouldn't have brought that up."


• NBA general managers picked Love as the league's best power forward in an anonymous preseason poll conducted by NBA.com. Other tidbits from the poll: The Wolves tied with the Lakers for second as most improved team, behind runaway winner Brooklyn. Kirilenko and Brandon Roy got votes as the most underrated player acquisition, Rubio and Pekovic finished second and third as the international players most likely to have a breakout season behind Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas, and Adelman received votes in a couple of coaching categories.

• Wolves players went directly from practice Monday into a media-training session with public-relations expert and radio talk-show host Dave Mona.


    Up next: 7 p.m. Wedneday vs. Detroit at Winnipeg • no TV or radio

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