Trio of veterans look to mentor Timberwolves' pups
MINNEAPOLIS - As much as Kevin Garnett built his future Hall of Fame career on great seasons with the Timberwolves, he never pictured himself coming back.
MINNEAPOLIS – As much as Kevin Garnett built his future Hall of Fame career on great seasons with the Timberwolves, he never pictured himself coming back.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “Minnesota was the last place I thought I would end up.”
The same could be said for Tayshaun Prince and Andre Miller.
Both could have signed with NBA title contenders or at least teams looking to make deep playoff runs - not an inexperienced team trying to get to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
But they decided to join Garnett to create a veteran threesome that is committed to spending part of their twilight years mentoring a young and talented Timberwolves team.
School will be in session for several Minnesota players trying to learn from Garnett, Prince and Miller as the 2015-16 season begins with training camp this week.
“Lot of younger guys coming into the NBA, they have to learn on the go,” Miller, a 16-year point guard, said. “When you have a guy like Kevin Garnett who can rub off on the bigger guys, Tayshaun that can rub off on the wings, and you got Kevin (Martin) who can rub off on the (guards) and me rubbing off on point guards, it’s a good balance and good mix of championship guys and guys with good character. It’s definitely good for the young guys.”
Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders was the mastermind behind uniting the three veterans to take the pressure off players like last season’s rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins and rookies Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones.
Saunders is taking a leave of absence to battle Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but interim coach and former assistant Sam Mitchell understands what he wants from Garnett, Prince and Miller in the beginning.
Will they start? Will they play in crunch time? When will it be time to accept lesser roles?
Mitchell isn’t concerning himself yet with how many minutes the veterans will play.
“They’re going to be most valuable for us in the locker room and on the practice court every day, showing those guys how to do things,” Mitchell said.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service