Future is right now for Wolves' summer leaguers

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 7, 2014 - 8:52 PM

The Wolves top two draft picks from last year and this get their shot.

hide

Timberwolves draft picks Zach LaVine, left, and Glenn Robinson III will get to make their first on-court impressions during the summer league in Las Vegas.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders apparently has taken a win-now approach when it comes to discussions concerning trading away three-time All Star Kevin Love.

But when it came to June’s NBA draft, Saunders clearly took a patient, long-term approach when he selected UCLA freshman guard Zach LaVine 13th overall, and to a far lesser extent, Michigan sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III with the 40th overall pick.

What Saunders did do, though, with both picks is choose athletes who can jump and run with playmaking point guard Ricky Rubio, whether Love is part of the franchise’s future when training camp opens in October or not.

“I do think we’re here for a purpose,” Robinson said.

Both LaVine and Robinson continued on that purposeful path Monday, when each started four days of summer-league workouts at Target Center before the Wolves team of mostly recent draft picks and free agents departs for Las Vegas and games that begin there Saturday.

For the next two weeks, LaVine and Robinson will receive passes from Wolves third-year guard Alexey Shved as well as free agents Brady Heslip from Baylor and Markel Starks from Georgetown. (Shved’s Summer League presence is, in essence, an audition for the team’s backup point guard spot.)

Come October, they will be running with Ricky.

Saunders didn’t exactly say LaVine and Robinson both were chosen exactly for that purpose.

But he did say this: “We specifically wanted to upgrade our athleticism.”

LaVine can see the plan clearly now.

“I can definitely see that now, us being two dudes on the break who can run, we can jump and we can also spot-up and shoot and create our own shot as well,” he said. “I could see myself running the lane, not knowing who he is going to pass to and then the ball’s going to be in the air and it’s up for grabs as to who is going to dunk it.

“You’re always going to need to be looking for passes everywhere. He has eyes in the back of his head. I know he’s going to be exciting to play with.”

The Wolves currently also have veterans Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger and second-year swingman Shabazz Muhammad who can run the floor with Rubio, but Saunders seems to consider his two new rookies a bit in their own category.

“Their ability to run with Ricky, we don’t really have a lot of players like them,” Saunders said. “In order to become a good team, you have to become a melting pot. When you look at [NBA champion] San Antonio, they don’t all do the same things. Someone brings something different to the table. We wanted to become a little more diversified in our abilities and that’s what these two guys brought.”

LaVine and Robinson each have a Synergy Sports computer account that allows them to watch possession by possession footage of any game they’ve or any of their new teammates have played.

LaVine said he plans to use his account access to study Rubio’s moves.

“I’ve got to do scouting on my own team now,” he said.

The day after he was drafted, Robinson said he used to that account to watch Rubio play and has seen him on television and YouTube highlights as well.

“I’m very excited to see him in person and how he operates,” Robinson said. “Seeing how well he controls the offense and how well he can move the ball as a pass-first point guard, I’m really looking forward to that connection. I see a lot of highlights coming soon.”

Robinson said he believes both he and LaVine can help the Wolves “speed the tempo up a little bit” with the Rubio running the show with the ball in his hands.

He said the many possibilities are up for Saunders, also the team’s new coach, to decide.

“Who knows?” Robinson said of those possibilities. “That will be his job to figure out.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 4
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 3
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 6
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 11 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bergman 3
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 6
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Philadelphia - LP: J. Williams 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 1
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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