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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-06-30


Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-06-30


Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-06-30
Two weeks before the Timberwolves presumably exercise their highest draft pick since they took Christian Laettner third overall in 1992, Stanford sophomore center Brook Lopez was the only prospect known to have come to Target Center for a workout and interview.

But a busy week awaited. The team was expected to bring eight or more prospects, including UCLA freshman forward Kevin Love and possibly USC's O.J. Mayo, to town for at least three consecutive days of workouts.

Memphis guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, Oregon guard Bryce Taylor, Virginia Tech small forward Deron Washington and France's Nicolas Batum were scheduled to work out June 16 at Target Center. All are players who might be available with one of the Wolves' two second-round picks or if they can package those 31st and 34th overall picks to move up acquire another first-round pick later in the first round. On June 17, big men Kevin Love of UCLA, DeAndre Jordan of Texas A&M, JaVale McGee of Nevada, Kosta Koufos of Ohio State and France's Alexis Ajinca were due in.

The Wolves' scouts and coaches were in Houston observing joint workouts with the Rockets, who with the 25th pick in the June 26 draft will consider many of the same players who could be available with their two second-round picks (31st and 34th overall). The Wolves also could try to package those two picks -- the first originally from Miami via Boston -- to acquire a pick later in the first round.

Brook Lopez arrived in Minnesota directly from the NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando, where he was measured and tested along with the other top 14 draft prospects who attended but did not play in games.

He worked out the first day players were allowed to visit NBA teams and stayed overnight for two workouts. He banged bodies the first day only against 46-year-old Wolves television analyst Jim Petersen, who played in the NBA before the 7-footer from Fresno, Calif., was even born.

"We asked him to do some stuff that he probably hasn't done before," McHale said. "He's actually got three-point range. You can watch Brook Lopez every possession of every (college) game and never see him shoot a three-pointer. I assume he'll play more like he did at Stanford, especially his first few years in our league, but he showed some range."

Lopez went from Minneapolis to Seattle to work out for the Sonics, who own the fourth overall pick. Asked how he might complement Wolves star Al Jefferson, Lopez said, "Al commands so much attention, it'd make my game so much easier. I was so used to getting double- and triple-teamed in college. He'd really open it up for me because he's such a great player."

Lopez finished last in two drills -- a lane-agility test and three-quarter court sprints -- among 80 players tested in Orlando, according to ESPN.com. He measured 6-11 and one-quarter without shoes and 7 feet, one-half inch with shoes.

"He's a 7-foot guy with a 7-foot, 5-inch wingspan," McHale said. "You don't play the game from the top of your head, unless it's soccer. Usually you play from the top of your hands, so you've got to think wingspan and arm length are every bit as important, maybe even way more important than height."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Two home victories over Phoenix P.S. (Pre-Shaq O'Neal), including one in January that was the second victory in a stretch when the Wolves won five of seven games after they started the season 5-34. Those transforming games included a victory at Golden State and home victories over the Suns, New Jersey, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers.

TURNING POINT: July 31, 2007. The date of the Kevin Garnett trade, when the Wolves traded their last three seasons of mediocrity for a big step backward that evoked the team's early expansion days. The Wolves lost 60 games (22-60) for the first time since Garnett was drafted in 1995. Until then, the Wolves had lost 60 or more games in five of their first six seasons.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2008

 

 
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