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

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

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

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

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