Hartman: Saunders believes pieces will all fit with Wolves

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 13, 2013 - 11:56 PM
hide

Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love celebrated in a victory over Houston in February 2012 at Target Center. The two Wolves stars never had a chance to do this in 2012-13; they played only one game together all season, a Dec. 26 loss to the Rockets.

Photo: File photo by DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Flip Saunders, as the new Timberwolves president of basketball operations, was in a unique position when he accepted his new position because all last season he had the advantage of either watching Wolves games on TV or in his job as a commentator on ESPN.

Because of that, he could study all the strengths and weaknesses of the Rick Adelman-coached team.

“One of the biggest things I talked about was getting the team balanced, getting the roster balanced, increased three-point shooting percentages, and getting some offensive wing-type players in,” Saunders said.

Saunders learned how important it is for the team to stay healthy, and having Ricky Rubio and then Kevin Love sidelined by injuries made it clear how much worse off the team was when its stars weren’t healthy.

“It’s a matter now of building around [Rubio and Love] and with the players we’ve brought in, they can make [them] better,” Saunders said. “Many times, you bring players in and you’re hoping that your main player can make those guys better, I believe the players we have coming in will make Kevin and Ricky better.”

Saunders was asked what his thinking was bringing back Corey Brewer.

“One, he won a championship [with Dallas in 2011] and he got thrust into a trade-type situation, but he has continued to improve,” Saunders said. “This past year he averaged over 12 points a game on a team that won 57 games. He played 27 minutes a game. He was one of their key ingredients on how Denver played this year.

“We looked at him not as the guy that was here in Minnesota when he was the seventh pick, we look at a guy that averaged 12 a game last year and is improving. What he does is that he can run and defend, and that’s what we need. He was the best guy that we thought would fit within our system.”

The Wolves have 13 players on their roster, and Saunders said he is confident Nikola Pekovic will be the 14th.

“We’ve had talks, we’re progressing, and I really believe Pekovic is going to be here. I don’t have any doubts with that,” said Saunders.

“We have one roster spot that is available [if Pekovic signs] and we’ll let that sit there and see through the summer how our rookie Lorenzo Brown plays, if he’s going to be a guy that can fill that role, or see if someone else pops in.”

Saunders expects the additions he has made will make the team competitive. “I think the team can be really good,” he said. “I look at the Western Conference and it’s stacked, a lot of good teams, but when you look at a team that can put both size, scoring ability and flexibility, I believe we can be one of the top teams. We should be a team that, if we stay healthy, can compete for a playoff spot, no question, and maybe even better.”

Partners opt out of Wolves

Glen Taylor reported that former Wolves minority owners that he bought out include Dennis Frandsen; the Moore brothers, and Fred Lutz. In addition, Burt McGlynn died in December 2011, and his partnership was in an estate, which his family decided to sell to Taylor.

But Taylor, the Wolves majority owner, said he will not be doing any more buying out in the foreseeable future.

Yankees injuries are numerous

While the Twins have suffered from a glut of injuries the past couple of years, surely their opponent this weekend, the Yankees, is suffering about as bad a season for injuries as any team in recent memory.

They are missing $275 million third baseman Alex Rodriguez; first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is out for the year; Kevin Youkilis, who was supposed to replace Rodriguez at third; outfielder Curtis Granderson, who has played only eight games this season; pitcher Michael Pineda, who has yet to pitch in a Yankees uniform since they traded for him last year; starting catcher Francisco Cervelli; and infielder Eduardo Nunez.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas 1 Bottom 8th Inning
LA Angels 1
Philadelphia 6 Top 6th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco 0 Bottom 6th Inning
San Diego 2
Arizona 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Colorado 6
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 3rd Qtr 4:39
Arizona 20
Denver 3 3rd Qtr 10:04
Seattle 17
Kansas City 21 3rd Qtr 6:36
Miami 10
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd 9:56
Washington 1
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 29 1:18
Saskatchewan 17
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: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close