“Big” Silver Lining For Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been hit by a rash of injuries that nears epic proportions, yet they are off to a 5-2 start due in large part to the play of Montenegrin center Nikola Pekovic. Pekovic improved markedly last season, his second in the NBA, and so far this season he’s been a cornerstone for the Timberwolves to lean on while so many of their rotation players are out.
“I get some more touches,” Pekovic tells HOOPSWORLD of his improved play. “From last year, I get some more balls, and I just try to do my best. We got some problems, like you said, some injured players, so this is a chance for some other guys to step up to show what they have. We have so many guys out, so it’s a very tough job for us, going from game to game. But everybody’s trying to do something more than what they’re used to when everybody is healthy, and we’re just trying to do it and win games until some of the guys come back.”
Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman is no stranger to international players, as his Sacramento Kings team that featured Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu was the most international team in the league at the time. Adelman loves what’s getting from his new international power, and thinks he’s just tapping the surface of his potential.
“He’s a very good player, and plays his tail off,” says Adelman of Pekovic. “He’s going to get better, too; it’s just that teams are coming at him a little bit, doubling him a little bit, not making it easy on him, but if he’s out there for 30 to 35 minutes, he’s going to be working the whole time, and he’s a handful.”