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T'wolves coach Rambis still pondering starting 5

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LONDON (AP)

With so many new pieces added to his team, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis still isn't sure what the starting lineup will look like this season.

A day before Minnesota's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers in London, Rambis experimented with different formations in practice. The game on Monday at the O2 Arena will be much the same.

''We're still talking about it,'' Rambis said. ''It really doesn't matter who I start in the first game, because we're going to look at different starting lineups as we go through preseason.''

Minnesota has only five players returning from last season's team that won just 15 games. Prominent newcomers include former Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, veteran guard Luke Ridnour, 6-foot-11 Nikola Pekovic from Montenegro, and rookie Wesley Johnson.

Returning players Kevin Love - a newly crowned world champion - Corey Brewer and Darko Milicic are all hoping to increase their roles.

No wonder Rambis has a lot to think about.

''There's nothing etched in stone about it,'' he said. ''There's even the possibility that you change the starting lineup, or start a different group of people, in the second half. Just to give people opportunities to play with different teammates to see how they play together.''

Brewer and Beasley said they were happy to accept whatever role the coach gives them.

''I'll do whatever I've got to do to win,'' Brewer said. ''This is my fourth year. I'm tired of losing.''

Brewer had a breakout year, starting all 82 games last season and averaging 13 points after missing most of the 2008-09 campaign because of an injury. Brewer and Love seem certain to be corner stones of Rambis' rebuilding project, but in which position remains to be seen.

The 6-foot-9 Brewer is listed as a forward, but prefers to play as a shooting guard. Love can be used at forward or center, and the added size of Pekovic and 7-footer Kosta Koufos gives the Timberwolves added options.

''The two fits me really well,'' Brewer said. ''I played the two last year and had the best year of my career. ... But with this team, we have a lot of scorers, so it takes a lot of pressure off me just having to go out there and having to score a lot. I can just go out there and play my game.''

A lot of that scoring is expected to come from Beasley, who has made an immediate impression on Rambis. Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, was one of the players who had to leave the Miami Heat after the acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Rambis is hoping the forward will provide the same kind of offensive spark he gave Kansas State during his one year in college.

''He's unbelievably athletic,'' Rambis said. ''He can do so many things with the basketball and with his body. It's truly amazing how gifted he is. And he's picking up our system. He's going to be on the spots on the floor where he feels comfortable.''

Beasley said he is not fretting about where - or for how many minutes - he will be played.

''That's up for the coach to decide. We don't even have starters yet,'' Beasley said. ''I'm just here to play basketball. Whatever the coach needs and whatever the team needs, that's what I'm going to do.''

Tagged: Heat, Corey Brewer, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Timberwolves

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