Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said he will use the team’s first couple preseason games looking at and examining different combinations of players.
The Wolves open the preseason against Miami in Kansas City Saturday night. It’s the first of five straight preseason road games, a week and a half-long road trip that Thibodeau hopes will both bond the team and give him a good idea where the team is in its development.
“You want to get a good look at different combinations,’’ Thibodeau said after Thursday morning’s practice. “We’ll play a lot of guys just to get a look at everybody and then, as we progress through the preseason, we’ll pare it down.’’
Both Thibodeau and players have been talking about how much they want to get into an actual game after practicing against each other for nearly two weeks. For sure Thibodeau will know a good bit more about his players after Saturday’s game.
“I think that you’re practices are good,’’ he said. “Is a player practicing well? Is the group practicing well? And then, the games are like tests. They’re exams. They reveal exactly where you are. Once we start playing games, we’ll have a better understanding of where you are, what our needs are and how we have to move forward.’’
Here are a couple other items from today’s workout:
--Thibodeau was asked about the final roster spot. The team currently has 14 guaranteed contracts, and that includes Nikola Pekovic, who won’t play this season. That means one more spot will need to be filled. The team currently has Toure’ Murry, Rasual Butler and John Lucas III on non-guaranteed deals vying for that spot. But Thibodeau could also bring someone else in from the outside. “For us, the (preseason) games will be very helpful,” Thibodeau said. “It will reveal the things that we need to do better. It will reveal the things we’re doing well and, also, it will give us a better idea of who may help us the most with practice in the event you have an injury.’’
In other words, it’s likely too early to speculate. A potential injury could mean the need for a shooter, or another big man.
“You’re also looking at who may become available, too,” Thibodeau said. “We just keep an open mind and see how it unfolds.’’
--It’s been a while since Thibdeau put on the suit, walked on the court as the head man and coached a game. Will Saturday’s preseason opener be special for him?
Thibodeau said being a part of Team USA in Rio as an assistant helped him with a strong dose of competition. “You always look forward to competing,” he said. “And then, of course, this is a new challenge. So I think it’s an exciting time of the year.’’