Wolf Track: The Timberwolves' long-term approach – TrueHoop – ESPN

Henry Abbott had a chance to interview trainer Idan Ravin, who has been working with the Timberwolves lately to work out the team on top of their practices and shootarounds. Here’s an excerpt:

In recent days, the team has had private trainer Idan Ravin in to run some special sessions in addition to regular practices and shootarounds. It is yet another break from the norm.

Ravin is the focus of a whole chapter of Chris Ballard’s The Art of a Beautiful Game, in which Carmelo Anthony explains why he calls the trainer Crouton: “Because his name rhymes with crouton, and he’s a lot cooler than a regular cracker.”

Ravin — who has a reputation both for challenging, and connecting with, players — took some questions on the phone on Thursday, and says he hopes to inspire the young Timberwolves.

How’s the team?

There’s some good promise there. Al Jefferson … wow. He’s got a lot of upside, let’s put it that way. He’s a 20 and 10 guy pretty much just using jump hooks. Have you seen him shoot with two hands? Jump-shots? And he could get to the line a lot more. He has just scratched the surface. We worked on free throws the other day, and then he had a 36 and 16 game. Afterwards, he said “Idan, that free throw stuff was great.” The guy’s going to be a killer.

Jonny Flynn is just getting started with what he can do. Corey Brewer, Kevin Love … they’ve all just scratched the surface.

And Darko Milicic — he’s way more talented than anyone ever gave him credit for. He has been beat up in his first six years in the NBA. I wish I could sneak you into the gym so you could see what he can do. He really is seven-feet-plus. He’s really bouncy. He’s really running. You can see why it was a debate who should be first, second or third in that draft.

And you’re a Carmelo guy!

Carmelo’s my guy. But Darko’s ta-len-ted. They’re doing something smart here by welcoming him openly, and making him feel a part of what’s happening. He’s a good kid. There’s nothing bad about him. What’s the point of all the yelling and screaming and cursing and insulting that he has endured? Once you have lost your dignity and self respect, it’s hard to be professional. Now he’s somewhere where they are acting like they’re happy to see him, and it’s awesome.

It’s good for people to be challenged. Kids get excited when they realize there’s a lot still to be done.

This is just the beginning.

When your team has won 1 game in the last 13, this is the kind of thing you want to be hearing about, that is bringing in more specialists to further player development.

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