Minnesotaâ€™s starting five has changed quite a bit in the past year.
By JOAN NIESENFS North
MINNEAPOLIS – The pieces are starting to fall into place – at least for this first preseason game. Just hours before the team took off for Fargo, N.D., coach Rick Adelman revealed his projected starting five for Wednesday night's matchup against the Pacers:
PG J.J. Barea
SG Brandon Roy
SF Andrei Kirilenko
PF Kevin Love
C Nikola Pekovic
It looks a lot different than last season's opening night against Oklahoma City, when the starters were Love, Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic, Wes Johnson and Luke Ridnour. Only Love remains in this year's bunch, although Ridnour will likely get ample opportunity to start once he recovers from a stiff back.
Adelman said Ridnour and Malcolm Lee are the only two
Timberwolves who won't play against the Pacers Wednesday. Ridnour's stiff back is improving, and he will likely be ready by the weekend, but Lee's sore groin has been an ongoing issue throughout camp and doesn't seem to be improving.
"He hasn't practiced hardly at all, so we'll just have to wait and see," Adelman said of Lee. "He hasn't been able to get on the floor; when he has, he's gone down."
$5 goes a long way in Russia: Kirilenko continues to be plagued with questions about rookie Russian point guard Alexey Shved, and his transition to the NBA. As the de facto voice of Shved for the past week, it must be getting old, but Kirilenko continues to provide insight, even if it might be a bit tongue-in-cheek.
On Shved's inquisitiveness:
"He got so many questions. Some of the questions, even I don't have answers. Like, ‘What kind of dress code are we going to see tomorrow?' "
And then this nuanced bit on transitioning:
"A basketball is a basketball, but the lifestyle is the difference. Getting to the arena is different than in Russia. Acting on the road. Like when the police stop you on the road, it's different in Russia. Here, you have to say in the rules. In Russia, you can give them $5, say sorry and keep going."
Ricky and Adidas: Throughout training camp,
Ricky Rubio has been spotted wearing Adidas shoes, contributing to the rumors that he had or was about to jump ship from Nike to Adidas. Monday evening, those rumors were confirmed with an Adidas press release confirming that the brand had entered into a long-term partnership with Rubio.
"Growing up in Spain, I always loved the Adidas brand and their products," Rubio said in the release. "The last few years they've really changed the game with new technology and style in basketball shoes and apparel and I can't wait to be a part of it."
Rubio will join the likes of Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan, all NBA players who have signed deals with Adidas.