Regular Season Western Conference Rank: 15
I’ll try not to waste many words on the Minnesota Timberwolves because they aren’t worth our collective time – and definitely not even worth the ink to print the criticism of their franchise.
Where to begin?
A season ago, the team had two lottery picks and another first rounder in the 2009 draft that was filled with talent. They had back to back choices at numbers five and six, and of course, with a keen personnel man like David Kahn overseeing operations, what with his complete lack of NBA knowledge, they drafted two point guards, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, in the lottery. But that wasn’t enough because they also drafted Ty Lawson too, at eighteen, but traded him away. No surprise here – he was the most effective rookie out of the three in 2009, but he wasn’t playing for the Wolves.
Now it doesn’t take an NBA genius to figure out that with a struggling team which really didn’t have much of a puncher’s chance a season before, there are many needs at multiple positions. There isn’t the luxury to draft three point guards, or even two, because logically, one will be buried behind the other being as they play the same position, and one of the players’ development will be stunted.
But if you are going to keep two point guards, you sure as hell better make sure that they are the two most talented ones – not a tiny turnover prone and inconsistent one and an international one three years away from coming over to the US. You can’t afford to miss out on players like Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, or even Rodrigue Beaubois, all point guards who flashed major potential in 2009 and were drafted after five and six.
And if you’re going to draft two point guards, you need to be sure that one of them (Ricky Rubio) isn’t an international player with options other than joining your team. With players in a precarious position, like Rubio was, you need to be absolutely certain that he wants to play for your squad and will fight to join it, especially if he is embroiled in a contract buyout dispute. Also make sure that this player feels like he is wanted, in order to convince him that moving to the NBA is the best decision for his career and that he will be given a fair shake as a rookie – in other words, don’t draft someone else who plays exactly the same position as him.
If he were in baseball, David Kahn would be JD Drew – always striking out.
With Kahn’s major stupidity, the team performed as expected in 2009. They were the worst team in the league by some measures and don’t really deserve to play in a gym. They were 10 games behind the second to worst team, which just goes to show their level of crappiness.
But in the offseason, amazingly, Kahn topped himself.
He promptly traded Al Jefferson, the team’s most dependable big man who could operate effectively out of the low block with his scoring abilities (a rarity in the NBA), because he claimed that the team had a logjam at power forward.
This was true, but for God’s sake, the logjam was only there because Kahn stupidly signed an utterly useless Darko Milicic to a long term deal and chose him to keep instead of Jefferson. As opposed to locking up the 25 year old Jefferson who was averaging 22 and 11 before his injury two seasons ago and was just getting back into the groove of things, Kahn chose Milicic, a 25 year old player who had tantalized the Pistons, Knicks, Magic and Grizzlies already but couldn’t put up better than an 8 point and 5 rebound stat line during any year of his career. He is only 25 but has already cemented his status as one of the top draft busts in NBA history – and you’re going to extend him for 4 years instead of keeping Al Jefferson, the key cog in the Kevin Garnett deal?
Are you kidding me?
It is truly unfathomable that an NBA general manager can still be employed after a decision like that, and I hope for all our sakes, he is gone soon. This season, the Wolves will be terrible. I don’t think they will win more than 12 games, but I surely hope they don’t win the lottery – I’d feel bad for any poor soul drafted by the Timberwolves.