Old accessory brings Wolves journeyman Howard comfort

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 7:07 AM

 Josh Howard's trusty headband, a no-go in Utah, has eased his Wolves transition.


Josh Howard (5) when he played for the Dallas Mavericks.

Photo: Vernon Bryant, MCT

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The road back always starts somewhere, and for newly signed Timberwolves swingman Josh Howard that path toward recalling the player he once was begins with ...

Something as simple as a headband?

"Yeah," he said about wearing a white one during his Wolves debut Friday against Golden State. "I felt like my old self."

Howard played in Utah last season with a Jazz team that forbids wearing such a thing.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman has no such policy. So while Howard quickly acclimates himself to new teammates, new system and a new city, he has found at least a little comfort and familiarity in an old friend -- his signature look while playing in Dallas and Washington.

"Not saying that I didn't feel like my old self in Utah, but that was part of my repertoire," said Howard, who wore a headband the season he was selected for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game.

"That was me. It felt good to put it back on."

Howard played mostly on instincts and adrenaline in his Wolves debut, a 14-minute, 10-shot, six-point, two-rebound, two-steal performance Friday. It included some time at shooting guard because his team was down to only three guards, after signing him and waiving Will Conroy.

He has had three practice days since then to improve his conditioning and learn plays that differ under Adelman's system mostly in name only from those he ran for Don Nelson, Avery Johnson, Flip Saunders and Ty Corbin in his first nine NBA seasons.

"I've been in three different systems already," he said. "It's kind of like erasing things and starting over. For the most part, it's easy."

He is back in the NBA after the season started without him, trying to prove there's still some game in those 32-year-old legs.

He's also trying to show he's not the person who created controversy in 2008 when he admitted on a radio show that he smoked marijuana, got arrested for drag racing his Lexus against a Volkswagen and was caught on cell phone video disparaging the national anthem.

"I did what I was supposed to do as far as cleaning up my image and doing the things to make myself better," he said.

Howard's presence gives the Wolves a needed natural scorer on a team that signed him after Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy all went down injured.

Pekovic is expected to return for Wednesday's game against Denver at Target Center. Barea likely will, too.

Howard has prepared to back up Andrei Kirilenko at small forward and help out at shooting guard. On Friday, Howard, a natural small forward, became an honorary guard to supplement a group that was down to just Luke Ridnour, Malcolm Lee and Alexey Shved.

"I'm kind of a guard/forward anyway," Howard said. "So I'm just refreshing my memory on those guard things."

Either way, Adelman said Howard fits in a system where the shooting guard and small forward are basically interchangeable offensively.

Place him at shooting guard alongside Kirilenko at small forward and Howard perhaps can improve, with his length and experience, a defense that was pretty good until Pekovic sprained his ankle last week at Dallas.

It also gives the Wolves two veterans who have played a combined 21 NBA seasons now. And each has played in an All-Star Game.

"He's a veteran," Ridnour said. "He has been around. He has played in a lot of different systems, and he caught on quick. He's going to help us. His energy is high. He can really space the floor. He understands how to play. In '07, he was an All-Star, so he's a good player."

Just a week ago, Howard was a free agent sitting at home in Dallas, working out by himself because he found no competition in open-gym pickup games and waiting for another, perhaps final, NBA chance.

It arrived when the Wolves called.

"It's bound to happen to every player and it was just my time," Howard said about watching an NBA season that started without him. "The good thing about me is I'm not a quitter. I'm going to keep fighting until I know it's time for me to stop and I wasn't ready to give up. You know you're finished when you sign those papers saying you're retired, and I never did that."

  • related content

  • Roy to miss a month; Adelman optimistic

    Tuesday November 20, 2012

    Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy was back among his teammates Tuesday, clattering down a Target Center hallway on crutches one day after undergoing exploratory arthroscopic surgery that cleaned and smoothed the...

  • Barea expects to play Wednesday vs. Denver

    Tuesday November 20, 2012

    Pekovic ready to play as well

  • Preview: Wolves vs. Denver

    Tuesday November 20, 2012

    Preview: The Nuggets (5-6) ended a a three-game skid Monday with a 97-92 victory at Memphis that ended the Grizzlies' eight-game winning streak. Before that, they lost games to Phoenix,...


    7 tonight • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Boston 8:00 PM
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 6:00 PM
American Univ
Wright State 6:00 PM
Syracuse 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Delaware State 6:00 PM
NC Central
High Point 6:00 PM
Howard 6:30 PM
Coppin State 6:30 PM
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Hampton 6:30 PM
SC State
Gardner-Webb 7:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Savannah State
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
McNeese State 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Milwaukee 7:05 PM
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Long Island 75 2nd Half 0:53
Bryant 75
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 48 2nd Half
Wagner 34
Delaware State 29 2nd Half
NC Central 25
Howard 4:30 PM
Coppin State 4:30 PM
Hampton 4:30 PM
SC State
Norfolk State 4:45 PM
Savannah State
MD-Eastern Shore 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Samford 5:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
Prairie View 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 5:30 PM
Alabama State
Texas Southern 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
(12) Texas A&M 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Wofford 6:00 PM
Morehead St 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Illinois 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question