Wolves open season tonight against Sacramento, Flynn gets clearance to start practicing and more
Jonny Flynn was back on the court Tuesday, working out lightly with his teammates after getting clearance from his Colorado hip surgeon to start practicing and predicting he will play his first game sometime in mid- to late November.
Flynn's checkup appointment Monday cleared him to practice lightly this week then move on to contact workouts next week.
"Everything healed correctly, but we're still going to take it slow," he said. "This is an injury you have to be cautious with. It's still my body, and I still have to listen to it."
Flynn participated in light drills Tuesday and ran a few half-court plays. Tuesday's practice was more of a walk-through in preparation for tonight's regular-season opener against Sacramento at Target Center. Phillippon advised Flynn to limit his practice activity for a week before resuming full-scale activity, including contact and scrimmaging.
"We started out the huddle asking who's the new kid out here," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said of Flynn, who sat out all of training camp and the exhibition season. "It's good to have him back out here to get him acclimated."
Flynn is not expected to be available to play until mid-November.
Speaking of injuries, head coach Kurt Rambis told the media that Sebastian Telfair and Wes Johnson are expected to play on Wednesday night against the Kings. The Wolves will miss Martell Webster after the guard / forward underwent a procedure on his back.
Sacramento marches into town without Tyreke Evans in the lineup due to a league mandated one-game suspension.
From the Timberwolves site: Jonah Ballow and John Focke begin a new season of 5-on-5 with a preview of the Wolves 2010-11 season. (VIDEO)
The Timberwolves went 6-2 in the preseason, an encouraging sign for a team that has watched its fan base erode over five seasons of dysfunction and losing. But just how well this revamped roster really fits together will start to be seen on Wednesday night, when the Wolves host the Sacramento Kings in the season opener.
The additions of Beasley, Johnson, Webster, Anthony Tolliver and Nikola Pekovic have made the Wolves a much deeper, and taller, team. Nine of the 14 players who stand to see significant minutes are six foot seven or taller, an upgrade that Rambis and Kahn made a priority heading into the summer.
"You go down the roster, and there's not a player I'm not happy with," Rambis said.
"I can honestly say we're a much better team with the quality of players we have and their attitudes of how they want to win," said Love, who struggled in his first two seasons to find and accept his role but now no longer has to share the power forward spot with Jefferson. "For guys like myself, taken high in the draft (No. 5 in 2008), we feel we have something to prove. As a team, we all feel like we have something to prove."
Love is one of six Wolves who were at one time top-six draft picks. Another is shooting guard Wesley Johnson, whom Minnesota drafted fourth overall this year. And that's not counting point guard Ricky Rubio, the Spanish teen sensation who has to stay at least one more season in Europe before Minnesota can sign him.
Whether by design or simply coincidence, the Wolves added three former top-six draft picks -- No. 2 overall picks Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic and No. 6 Martell Webster -- last summer to a team that has never drafted higher than third but now is stacked high with former high lottery picks.
In doing so, the Wolves wagered they can provide the opportunity and proper environment that will summon from those three players what six other NBA teams once believed was there but never could unearth.
Each has arrived in Minnesota with differing circumstances, but some things shared.
"We all come in with hurt and pain and deceit," Beasley said. "People call us busts."
Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis, on a suggestion this week that he seems happier than last season: "I am, but we haven't played a game yet."
From RandBall: TFD: Kevin Love rips Bill Simmons, predicts 30-plus wins in blog entry
"Go-to guys have to be able to shoot, they have to be able to drive, pass and make free throws and the team has to have confidence (in) the person, whoever that person is. If that person does evolve, he has to have the trust of his teammates and make the right decisions at the right times.
"Right now," Rambis added, "being young and inexperienced as a ballclub, neither one of those types of people have emerged."
RC: If the Miami Heat tie the record of 72 wins, that will be a 53% improvement over last season. The Minnesota Timberwolves, my pick as this season's surprise, would have to win 23 games to achieve the same improvement. My money is on the Wolves.
But if the Timberwolves’ management continues to inefficiently run their organization, they may also be in serious contention for contraction.
Over the last 5 years, the 3 least efficient NBA franchises have been (1) NY Knicks, (2) Minnesota T-wolves, and (3) L.A. Clippers. Over this span the Knicks have been the undisputed kings of managerial incompetence, averaging $3.5 million in ‘player salary per win’. The T-wolves and Clippers both come in at around $2.4 million per win.