Optimism building in Minnesota for playoff run
by Lang Greene, Hoopsworld.com
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the midst of an eight-year playoff drought. During that time, the franchise has managed to finish a season above .500 just once, in 2005. Heading into training camp for the 201-13 campaign, there is a genuine optimism surrounding the club after a strong summer working the trade and free agency circuits.
New to the roster are former All-Stars Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko. The club also acquired wing Chase Budinger from the Houston Rockets, who will provide the team with a solid three-point option from the corner. Newcomers Alexey Shved and Greg Steimsma are also expected to contribute.
Budinger said head coach Rick Adelman now has a group of guys committed to playing within his system and, more importantly, doing it unselfishly.
“This summer Rick Adelman got a lot of the pieces he wanted, so I think this team is really going to play well together,” Budinger told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I already feel just playing with these guys that everybody is very unselfish out there. That’s what you need to be part of Rick Adelman’s offense. You have to play unselfishly.”
Promising second-year guard Ricky Rubio echoed Budinger’s comments on Adelman’s system.
“We’re going to play a Rick Adelman style,” Rubio said. “I love how he runs the team, how he understands the game, and I love playing pick-and-rolls. I love Rick.”
Securing a playoff spot in the Western Conference this season will be a tough task with teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns all making significant roster tweaks during the offseason.
All-Star forward Kevin Love is confident of the team’s chances to finally snap the playoff drought and start competing with the league’s best consistently.
“I have faith in this team, I have faith in what we’ve done in this offseason,” Love said. “It was definitely a tremendous summer for our team. We have a number of guys who are going to help us. … I do think we have a great shot to make the playoffs.”
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