Luc Mbah a Moute walked out of the Timberwolves locker room about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He looked both ways down the hall, hesitated. Then he had to ask directions.
“How do I get to the court?” he asked a member of the team’s PR staff.
Just another step in a hectic day that had Mbah a Moute — acquired from Sacramento in a trade for Derrick Williams — going since 6 a.m. Doctors, physicals, paperwork, followed by a meeting with Wolves coach Rick Adelman.
“From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t talk a lot,” Mbah a Moute said. “I was glad I got to meet with him earlier today.”
In Mbah a Moute, the Wolves get another strong wing defender who can match up with almost any position. He is a player, Adelman said, who could help him solve the problem of inconsistent bench play.
“My biggest concern is now how to fit him in,” Adelman said of Mbah a Moute, who dressed but did not play in the 117-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets. “It’s what we can do to get a second group that’s going to be consistent. It’s been tough for us to get any continuity going. That’s my biggest mission, to figure out where he is in that mix.”
That could, ultimately, be off the bench. Or, even, as a starter, with Corey Brewer coming off the bench. For now, Adelman is glad to have another on-the-ball defender and Mbah a Moute is glad to be on a team with rising expectations.
“It’s always good to be in a situation like this,” said Mbah a Moute, who said he was both surprised and excited by the trade. “Trading for me showed they really had a need for [defense], someone like me.”
A UCLA teammate of Kevin Love’s for a season, Mbah a Moute was part of three Final Four teams.
“Having Luc around brings a guy who, defensively, is going to be great for us,” Love said. “He can guard basically anybody.”
Now Adelman has to use what little practice time he has to fit Mbah a Moute into the rotation. “That’s my biggest mission, figuring out where he’s at in that mix,” Adelman said.
Trade good by D-Will
To Adelman, the problem was simple. Williams was a natural power forward, and wasn’t comfortable when he tried to move to small forward. And the team already had a pretty good power forward in Love. That, plus the problems with the second unit, eventually cut Williams’ minutes.
“A lot of people think [he was] in the doghouse,” Adelman said. “I haven’t had a dog in years. So that’s just not true.
“As a coach, you’re crazy if you don’t play the people you think can win the most games for you. You look at all 15 guys, and see how that fits together.
“[Williams is] going to be a good player in this league,” Adelman said, “but he’s going to be a power forward. He’s going to get a chance to play [in Sacramento] and we’ll see what he can do. I wish him the best.”
In an interview posted on the Sacramento Kings website, Williams called the trade a case where both sides benefited. He said he was thrilled with a new chance with a young team.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work and I think we all felt that way and that’s the reason I’m here,” he said. “… It was just a bad fit for myself and the situation I was in.”