Rick Adelman sat in on NBA TV’s broadcast of the Wolves’ Las Vegas Summer League opener – a 73-64 victory over the Clippers seen if you caught it on tape delay early Tuesday morning – and talked frankly about a number of subjects.
Here’s some of what he said:
* On Derrick Williams’ 15-pound weight loss so he can play small forward, “He wants to be a `3’ man. To be a 3 man, he’s going to have to be much more active and handle the ball and defend that spot. We’re trying to give him the opportunity to see what he can do because he can play both spots. He can’t just be a jump shooter at the 3 spot. He has to pound the ball inside and go to the boards. He’s bigger than most 3 men and stronger than most 3 men. He’s got to use those abilities.
“He does float. He can’t do it. He’s got to be aggressive all the time. He’s got the ability. He’s quicker than `4’ men, but he avoids contact. He can’t just settle for jump shots. He can be a player in this league but he can’t be on cruise control. I told him coming into this thing, `You’re not here for a workout, you’re here to dominate.’ “
When told it didn’t sound like he was “sold” on Williams playing small forward, Adelman said, “I’m definitely not sold on him. He’s never played it. He’s got to go and prove he can do it. If he can do that, certainly I’ll use him there because he’s got some skills there. Going to the boards and rebounding,that’s on him. He’s got to be a factor on the boards.”
Williams went 4-for-12 for a 15-point, nine-rebound night.
· * On Wes Johnson’s play on Monday (16 points, on 5-for-17 shooting: “He’s got to be more aggressive. He had 3 or 4 shots at the basket and he didn’t finish. He jumps so well, he’s so athletic, he’s got to finish plays and make them play him. He kind of avoids the contact. Last year, he struggled because he just settled for jump shots, and long jump shots normally. We’re trying to get him to be more aggressive. He did a better job trying to attack, but he’s got to finish.”
· He said Ricky Rubio is ahead of schedule in his return from March knee surgery and suggested that means he’d be ready to play game in November and December and back at practice before that.
"If anybody’s going to come back, Ricky Rubio will come back. He’s working hard. He’s ahead of schedule, but we have no idea if he’s going to be there, probably November or December, we hope. But right now, we’re just hoping. At practice, I think he’ll come back quicker than that. But we can’t rush him back. We have to make sure he’s sound. A young guy like that, he’s never been hurt like that, so he’s going to push himself. That’s who he is. Everything right now is going very well for him, but we have to have him back healthy.”
· * He talked freely about Brandon Roy’s arrival, even if David Kahn on Friday claimed the team hadn’t reached contract agreements with anyone, including Roy and Alexey Shved.
He said assistant coach Bill Bayno worked Roy out in Los Angeles and sounded confident the signing is a gamble worth taking.
“It’s kind of like you’re rolling the dice, but he’s the type of guy, you know how he is at the end of the game. He would help us so much at the end of the game. If he can stay healthy, he could be a real bright spot. He’s a great, great kid. He’s excited about coming back. He’s excited about playing with Ricky and Kevin. We can put him in the right spots.”
Asked about playing time restrictions, he said, “That’s something we talked about. I went through that a lot in Houston with Yao and Tracy McGrady and I’m really tired of restrictions on minutes. And he doesn’t want that. His whole thing is, `Play me how I show you I can play. If I’m able to play 30 minutes, then play me that. If not, then fine.’ You just don’t know with something like that. He wants to play. He’s excited about playing again and we hope he can really help us.”
· * On signing Nicolas Batum to that big offer sheet: “He’s a perfect fit for our team. That’s why we went after him. He defends, really, the 1-2-3 and we need that. The way we’re going to try to play -- the cutting, the movement -- I think he’ll get better at that and feel comfortable with that. He has proved he can make outside shots. He’s a good fit for us, but it’s a business. There’s so much going on about this (offer sheet). It was a good intent. I wish it would get over with. If Portland wants him back, we want to move on. But if we get him, he can certainly help our team.”
The Wolves continue Vegas play Tuesday night with a 9:30 game (Twin Cities time) against Charlotte, live on NBA TV.