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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published October 01 2012

Adelman happy with more veteran team

MINNEAPOLIS – Rick Adelman was handcuffed in two respects during his first season in Minnesota.

The lockout-shortened training camp offered precious little practice time once the season began, preventing the coach from installing even a fraction of his celebrated corner offense with the Timberwolves.

Adelman was also held back by the relative youth of the roster, a collection of superb athletes, care-free personalities and several players who didn’t really know what it took to be successful in the NBA. So he asked for more veterans in the offseason, and president of basketball operations David Kahn delivered them this summer.

Kahn jettisoned youngsters Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Wes Johnson as well as veteran Darko Milicic to clear enough room to bring in Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Lou Amundson, Greg Stiemsma, Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved.

The result is a roster with a completely different look. The Wolves still have plenty of youth with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams, but now that core is surrounded by players who have been in the league for a while and understand the game.

“We’ve got veterans, especially when you look at people like Brandon, Andrei, guys that have been in the league for a while,” Adelman said on Monday. “They know how to play. That’s a big difference. What I like about the group is it’s a team that has a chance to really get better in areas as a team. They don’t have to think so much about what they’re doing; it’s about what the team is doing.”

Adelman didn’t get everything on his wish list. The Wolves are still a little thin in the frontcourt and at shooting guard, where a lot hinges on the condition of Roy’s knees after the former All-Star took last season off.

But Adelman sees a versatile group that he can work with and far more easily than the undisciplined team he had last season. Budinger played for Adelman in Houston, so he is familiar with the system, Kirilenko is the kind of do-it-all defender the team has sorely lacked and Roy, if healthy, provides an end-of-game presence that this young team needs.

Love is coming off a gold medal run with Team USA, and Adelman expects him, Roy, Kirilenko and JJ Barea to set a much more professional tone in the locker room this season.

“Too many times last year when we lost a game, they were out of there. They were gone,” Adelman said. “It didn’t hurt enough. We have to have guys that really feel that. And I think the guys we have right now, just watching them, it’s a different atmosphere.”

Adelman will also be able to open up his playbook a little more this season, thanks to the normal amount of training camp.