MANKATO, Minn. - A year removed from the NBA lockout, the Minnesota Timberwolves got back to business with training camp kicking off on the campus of Minnesota State in Mankato.
It wasn't a soft opening or an ease back into work scenario. The team worked out for more than four hours on Tuesday, ending it with a spirited scrimmage that went down to the wire.
"(There's a) lot of potential in this group. We played well together at both ends," Head Coach Rick Adelman told reporters after the first practice.
This new wolf pack has a lot of new faces. Almost half the guys that will likely make this roster joined the team this summer. Small forward Chase Budinger is among them.
"We get a full training camp, full preseason, which is very much needed for this team because there are a lot of new guys on this team, so it's going to take us a little while to get adjusted to one another," he said.
All-Star Kevin Love was more clean-shaven this year. Nikola Pekovic was leaner and meaner.
"The body works," he said. "No pain, no little problems like I had last year. So for now it feels good."
The Wolves, who last season went from prey to predator, built a lot of momentum with the addition of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams. Kevin Love also elevated his play last year. In turn, attendance soared more than 13 percent, and the team hopes to build on that by adding a half a dozen big names during the off season.
"You just anticipate what's going to happen and getting out there I just felt really good," Guard Brandon Roy said.
Roy recently came out of retirement to join this squad.
Blending this team together is Adelman's job. He's in command of a roster that reads like a United Nations lineup, with players from Russia (Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko), Spain (Rubio), Montenegro (Pekovic), and Puerto Rico (JJ Barea).
"It's going to be interesting to watch them grow," Adelman concluded.
The Wolves will break camp in Mankato on Friday. Their first preseason game is the following Wednesday in Fargo and they tip off the regular season at home on Nov. 2.
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