Healthy Wolves, crowded bench

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 12:48 AM

It’s been nearly two years since Rick Adelman fielded 15 able-bodied players. Now who gets to play and who sits?

Now that he’s done mediating his team’s locker-room differences, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman turned his attention to another issue: What to do with a roster completely healthy for the first time in nearly two years and a bench that finally presents him with options?

“That’s a good problem,” he said.

Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf returned from injuries last week that kept them out of all or most of the season’s first two months. Rookie Shabazz Muhammad came back Monday after a four-game assignment to the NBA’s Development League. Veteran Luc Mbah a Moute is available again after missing three games because of a groin injury.

The Wolves bench — too often the team’s glaring weakness for those first two months — now appears representable and potentially formidable.

The Wolves practiced Monday and Tuesday with all 15 players on their roster healthy and available. Until last week, the Wolves hadn’t been completely healthy since March 3, 2012, Adelman’s first season on the job and six days before Ricky Rubio sustained a season-ending knee injury in his rookie year.

Turiaf adds interior defense, a certain sense of spirit and he allows Adelman to rest starting center Nikola Pekovic longer. Budinger adds athleticism, three-point shooting and expertise on Adelman’s unconventional offense to a second unit that already included J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham.

“I don’t think it will take long at all,” Turiaf said about adapting to each other, “because I think our set of skills between the five of us match really well.”

But the Wolves’ healthy roster also means there’s not nearly enough playing time to keep everyone content.

“There are too many guys at one spot to play them all,” Adelman said. “They don’t expand the game to 60 minutes. I can’t change much. I have to play who I think is right.”

For now, Adelman appears prepared to play Budinger and Shved as the first players off his bench at small forward and shooting guard. Those decisions leave Mbah a Moute and Muhammad — not to mention rookie Robbie Hummel and veteran point guard A.J. Price — on the outside.

“Whatever the rotation is today isn’t written in stone,” Adelman said. “That can change, depending on how our team is doing.”

For now, though, Muhammad’s situation seems to have changed little even though he discovered his confidence and his offensive game by averaging 24.5 points on 57 percent shooting and 9.8 rebounds in four games with the D-League’s Iowa Energy.

Mbah a Moute has played fewer than 10 minutes in two games back from that groin injury. Wednesday’s home game is the first this season against Sacramento and the first since Mbah a Moute was acquired from the Kings in a late November trade that sent away former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams.

Williams is coming off the bench since the Kings acquired small forward Rudy Gay shortly after trading for Williams. He is averaging 25 minutes and 9.5 points on 50 percent shooting in 22 games in Sacramento entering Tuesday’s game at Indiana.

Mbah a Moute is trying to convince his offensive-minded coach he deserves to be on the floor because of his often one-dimensional specialty, defense.

“I do think there will be times when Luc will be real important if there’s a Durant or someone where we need a defender there,” Adelman said, referring to Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. “We have defensive players, and we have offensive players, but the two don’t meet and that makes it real hard. What do you do? How do you win games? And you have to measure: Is the offensive player going to be more effective than the defensive player because you have to play both ends.”

For now, Adelman will go with his instincts while also remaining prepared to experiment if needed.

“I don’t know, that looks like a good group but you’ve got to give it time, too,” Adelman said, referring to a second unit of Barea, Shved, Budinger, Turiaf and Cunningham. “It’s going to take some time. It’s hard on guys who have been playing because now you’re changing things, but we’ve got to try it.”

  • wolves 7 tonight vs. Sacramento • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close