Wolves notes: New practice facility hailed as best in pro sports

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2014 - 12:58 AM

By NBA standards, the Wolves feel they’ll be going from relatively low-rent to high class when they move into their new practice facility across the street from Target Center in Block E.

In addition to a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, the facility will have two courts — a primary court for both the Wolves and the WNBA’s Lynx — plus enhanced workout and training areas and a team classroom. The new facility will house team offices and have additional offices for coaches, scouts and staff

“The present setup is clearly not ideal,” said Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders of the Wolves’ current workout facility, which is two floors below the team’s locker room, is shared by the Wolves and Lynx and is rather cramped. “The new practice facility and Mayo Clinic partnership will be great assets in attracting the top talent in the NBA.’’

Wolves star Kevin Love had a rather large hand in both the deal with the Mayo Clinic and in the actual design of the practice facility. Love flew to Minnesota last summer to be a part of the original presentation to Mayo and, according to the team, had a say in the design process.

Tuesday he touted the access to topnotch, on-site medical technology as a huge asset to players.

“This is a great day for our franchises,” Love said. “[Tuesday’s] announcement of a new practice facility and training center is especially exciting for us players. … This facility is destined to become the gold standards for the practice facilities in both the NBA and WNBA. These are exciting times for our franchise.’’

According to Wolves and Lynx CEO Rob Moor, the goal is to have the facility ready when the Wolves start training camp in October.

“This facility is like nothing else in the country,” Moor said. “It is not only unique to the NBA and WNBA but to all of professional sports.”

A slow process

It has taken longer than Chase Budinger had hoped to get back to 100 percent. The veteran forward, who missed the first part of the season after a second knee surgery, played in his 14th game Tuesday when the Wolves met the Lakers at Target Center.

The knee feels OK. But his legs are still not 100 percent in terms of strength. And, as a shooter, Budinger knows how important his legs are. Hence his frustration. And he’s not alone. Wolves coach Rick Adelman admitted he thought Budinger would get back to normal more quickly.

Budinger? “Everything is short,” he said. “Every shot is hitting the front of the rim.’’

While the problem is essentially a physical one — and he knows it — Budinger admits that his confidence has suffered. Especially when it comes to hitting three-pointers, something he has done throughout his career and something the Wolves need.

Entering Tuesday’s game, Budinger was shooting a career-low 31.9 percent from the field overall, 34.5 on three-pointers.

A player who analyzes his shot, Budinger said the biggest problem is that he’s catching the ball too high and moving his hands too much. Ideally he needs to be more crouched when he receives the ball, so he can quickly explode through the shot. Instead, he is dropping his hands to get his body lower before shooting.

“Any time you’re moving your hands that much, a lot of bad things can happen technically,” Budinger said. The result, he said, has been a very frustrating stretch.

But he’s working on it. The Wolves don’t get in a lot of practices this time of the season. And Budinger is still sore the day after playing significant minutes.

But when he can, he puts in the extra work. After Monday’s practice Budinger was the last player off the Target Center floor.

Etc.

• Backup Wolves center Gorgui Dieng took an elbow to the face midway through the second quarter, sustained a contusion and did not return.

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