Last tuneup hits close to home for Timberwolves' Stiemsma

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 26, 2012 - 11:39 AM
hide

Greg Stiemsma

Photo: Elise Amendola, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves finish their seven-game preseason schedule Friday night with a journey to backup center Greg Stiemsma's motherland, and a game against Milwaukee in Green Bay, Wis.

"Actually, Green Bay isn't my neck of the woods," said Stiemsma, who will have a few family members and friends make the three-hour drive from his hometown of Randolph, Wis. "But it'll be nice to go back to Wisconsin."

Wisconsin born, raised and college-educated at the University of Wisconsin, Stiemsma has played himself back into shape during this preseason from a foot injury with performances that suggest he could be a change-of-pace complement to starting center Nikola Pekovic.

He'll never, ever be the physical force Pekovic is.

That much was evident last week when Pekovic missed a game at Chicago because of a hand injury and Stiemsma started in his place, playing 26 minutes on a night when Bulls big men Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson bullied their way around the basket.

Stiemsma was asked if he'll ever be as strong as Pekovic, who came back from summer lean as can be, and still seems stronger than ever.

"I'm trying to catch up to him, but he's on a pretty high level," Stiemsma said. "He's just a big, physical guy who's talented enough to use that size, too. Obviously, Pek is a big dude and that's a big hole to fill when he's not out there."

But Stiemsma, in at least a couple of respects, is something that Pekovic is not: At a listed 6-11, he's a touch taller than Pekovic, with a wingspan that appears to be a bit longer as well.

Pekovic is a lot of things, but a natural shot blocker he is not.

And that's one thing Stiemsma has proven he can do in a brief NBA career that started with 55 games played for Boston last season. He he signed a two-year contract -- with only one seqason guaranteed -- with the Wolves last summer.

Last season, he was second in the league only to Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka in blocked shots per minute played.

Stiemsma blocked 1.55 shots while playing 13.9 minutes a game, but extrapolate those numbers out and he averaged 5.33 blocks per 48 minutes played, behind only Ibaka's 6.46 per 48 minutes played.

"He does affect shots around the basket," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said when asked about Stiemsma's natural shot-blocking abilities. "He's got a good instinct for it."

Stiemsma attributes that ability to one constant throughout his life: He always was the tallest kid in his class growing up.

"I've always been taller, but for a lot of years a lot of guys were a lot faster than me, too," he said. "So I had to use my height, use my size to combat other things I wasn't quite good at. It just kind of always came natural to me."

Stiemsma provides one other weapon that Pekovic hasn't yet displayed: The guy's got a 15-foot jump shot.

"It's pretty rare for a big who can shoot like that," teammate Andrei Kirilenko said.

Etc.

• Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's four-year reign as the NBA's Board of Governors chairman is coming to an end. The league announced Friday that San Antonio owner Peter Holt will replace him. NBA Commissioner David Stern, who announced he will retire in February 2014, praised Taylor's service, saying, "His wisdom and counsel over the past four years have been invaluable."

• The Wolves will have a week after Friday's preseason finale to prepare for their Nov. 2 season opener against Sacramento. Adelman said he expects to play Kirilenko some at power forward against the Bucks, just in case he'll have to play there in the regular season with Kevin Love out. He has split time at that position between Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham the past two games.

  • related content

  • Stern to retire in 2014

    Sunday October 28, 2012

    David Stern took the NBA around the globe in nearly three decades as commissioner, turning what was a second-rate league into a projected $5-billion-a-year industry.

  • WOLVES NOTES

    Up next: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Milwaukee at Green Bay, Wis. • no TV (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close