If Flip Saunders had behaved this way when he was 5 years old, someone would have prescribed Ritalin. The man is on fire. As the Timberwolves’ personnel boss discussed his many moves on Friday, he could barely sit still. And after the news conference, when the room had emptied, he gushed with the kind of optimism that most team executives try to keep hidden beneath a layer of professional caution. “I’m really excited about what we have,” Saunders said. “I don’t want to put any expectations on us. And the reason I don’t want to put any expectations on us is I don’t want to make those expectations too low. “I do believe if we stay healthy, the way Rick [Adelman] coaches and with the system we have, that we could be a very scary team.” He’s right. With the addition of defensive-minded wing Corey Brewer, Saunders and Adelman, the Wolves coach, have built the deepest, most versatile roster in franchise history. In this case, “franchise history” isn’t too impressive. Look at it another way: This year’s Wolves will have a bench that could have beaten the starting fives of a few recent teams. If Adelman starts Brewer at small forward for defensive purposes, the starting five will be Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Brewer, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. The next seven players will be J.J. Barea, Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Ronny Turiaf and Alexey Shved. Last year’s Wolves, with Love out and Rubio recovering from knee surgery, lacked position flexibility, three-point shooting, defense and the ability to run. Saunders has addressed every need. So how does this team compare to the heavyweights in the Western Conference? “I think we can compare,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything. You’ve got to look at it more to know for sure, but we might be as flexible as any team in the conference.
Saunders' dealing puts Wolves in position to succeed
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jul 15