But only if they play defense . . .
The issue for Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman in using Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and rookie Derrick Williams together on the front line is not whether they can score as a unit. In Saturday night's exhibition win over Milwaukee, the trio combined for 56 points.
What Adelman is trying to figure out is this: How effective is the Wolves' defense with Love, Beasley and Williams on the floor at the same time?
Love and Beasley are nearly identical in height at 6 feet 9, give or take an inch, and Williams is a burly 6-8. All three weigh between 235-245 pounds. Taller front lines could present matchup problems, particularly with Love playing center.
In order to give Beasley and Williams more opportunities to play side-by-side, Love said he is willing to spend more time at center when Adelman wants to use a smaller lineup.
"It's fine with me," Love said. "I'm comfortable there. I'm still strong enough to rebound."
The Love-Beasley-Williams line was featured for stretches of both halves in Saturday night's exhibition opener. Adelman said he wants to give the trio more time together in Wednesday night's exhibition game at Milwaukee. The plan could put more pressure on the Wolves' entire defensive system, which Adelman and his staff have been working hard to upgrade after the team allowed the most points per game in the NBA last season (107.7).
Adelman is willing to make use of the Love-Beasley- Williams combination because of the stress they can put on an opponent's defense.
"They're a tough matchup for the other team, but they have to do the job defensively," Adelman said. "They were active Saturday night. The key is everybody has to keep their concentration. That's the biggest problem we have. We get into situations on the weak side, and we don't have guys thinking all the time. We'll keep working at it."
— Ray Richardson
— St. Paul Pioneer Press