Turiaf excited to join young Timberwolves

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 19, 2013
Ronny Turiaf has traded elbows with Nikola Pekovic in the post and chased Ricky Rubio around the court in international competition long enough. The eight-year veteran said he's happy to join the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he will serve as a mentor and an extra big man off the bench to help prepare the younger players for what everyone expects will be a run at the franchise's first playoff berth since 2004. ''It's a great thing for me to fit in. I'm tired of playing against Ricky in Spain. It's good to be on his good side,'' Turiaf said on Wednesday, drawing chuckles from the crowd. ''I'm actually really being serious about it.'' Turiaf has averaged 4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his career and played just over 10 minutes per game last season for the Clippers. But when Flip Saunders went looking for a veteran big man to beef up the team's bench, he immediately thought of Turiaf. Saunders coached Turiaf in Washington two years ago, and grew to admire not only his tenacity on the defensive end, but also the tireless outreach in the community. ''He brings that passion, he brings that enthusiasm, he brings what you need, the glue, for a team to have success,'' Saunders said. The team held Turiaf's introductory press conference on the University of Minnesota campus at the Ronald McDonald House, which houses sick children who are being treated at the hospital nearby. The Timberwolves renovated a basketball court in the building last season and named it in honor of late team executive Conrad Smith. After the press conference, Turiaf played with about a dozen children on the court, playfully swatting away their shot attempts. With the Timberwolves, Turiaf will be counted on to give them some toughness when they face some of the bigger teams in the league. The Wolves have Pekovic starting at center and drafted Louisville shot-blocker Gorgui Dieng in the first round in June, but protecting the rim is one of the team's biggest issues going into training camp, which opens on Oct. 1. Turiaf has averaged 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes over his career and has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best low-post scorers in the game. ''I'm so excited about joining this team because of what they already are and what I can bring to the table,'' Turiaf said. ''It's this kid excitement, this pureness about really wanting to accomplish something special.'' Exactly how much playing time he sees probably relies a lot on the development of Dieng as a viable backup to Pekovic. But even if Dieng proves to be ready to handle the role, it's likely that Turiaf will be a big reason for it. He has played in the playoffs in six of his eight seasons, some experience that could come in handy for a team that has a three-man core - Rubio, Pekovic and Kevin Love - that has never appeared in the postseason. ''I'm a proven player. I know that I can pass and play defense,'' Turiaf said. ''I can just do whatever needs to be done to win the game. This team has special talent. If I can help people get better, just by giving advice and sharing what I've seen ... I'm all about winning.'' --- Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker