Friday, June 26, 2009


This must be what the guys in "The Hangover" felt like. Waking up bewildered, seeing everything in shambles, missing a buddy, and wondering just what the hell happened last night?

Timberwolves fans can empathize. Just like for a bachelor party in Vegas, last night began with the anticipation and excitement that anything was possible. Would the Wolves deal up to get the clear second-best player in the draft in Ricky Rubio? Or would they stay at 5 and 6 and take what falls to them? The Clips started off the night by actually doing the right thing in taking Blake Griffin. Memphis was up next- were they going to deal the pick? Keep it? Were the Wolves dealing up to get Rubio? The Grizz kept it and because they're the Grizz, they take Hasheem Thabeet, a guy who me and plenty of others think is going to be a Shawn Bradley-level bust. I text to Jer "Thank you Memphis!"

The Stolen Sonics pick third, and here's where the Rubio dream is going to die- GM Sam Presti seems to have made the right move everytime...except he takes James Harden! ANother guy who is going to be a bust! I text again to Jer "Thank you Stolen Sonics!!" Just one team between Sota and Rubio- and unfortunately it's Sacramento, who is rumored to love Rubio, and even worse, Rubio apparently loves the idea of playing in Sacto. And so they take...Tyreke Evans!

HOLY $&%^&!!!! WE"RE GETTING RICKY RUBIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Wolves make the second easiest pick in the draft and take Rubio!!! YES! WE GOT HIM! CALL THE TARGET CENTER! GET YOUR TICKETS! WE'VE FINALLY GOT ANOTHER STAR!! VIVA EL RUBIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And to make it even better, we're going to get Steph Curry at 6! Steph Curry! Two of the most exciting players in the draft on the Timberwolves! If not that, we can deal down for somebody who wants Curry and grab DeMar DeRozan of USC. We're set! Hello promise! Hello bright future! Hello light at the end of the tunnel!

Then things when you least expect it, something went horribly wrong. GM David Kahn takes another point guard Jonny Flynn of Syracuse. Ummm...


I guess that light at the end of the tunnel was a train, not hope. You cannot play two point guards, one who could be the best passer to come into the league in a decade, and the other who's not even 6 feet tall, together. You just can't. Rubio and Curry would have been a GREAT combo, but neither Rubio or Flynn can shoot a lick. It'd be like the Vikings having the 5th and 6th overall picks in the NFL draft and taking Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford. You cannot play Rubio and Flynn together anymore than you can play Sanchez and Stafford at the same time. It just doesn't make sense!

In interviews last night and this morning, Kahn claims they CAN play together, that he's not planning to trade either guy, and that they can absolutely work in the new NBA where guards are now allowed to run wild, even going so far as using the example of Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. Really David? We're going to use a two-time championship backcourt of two possible Hall-of-Famers (Thomas is a lock and Dumars an outside chance) that played IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ERA?!?!?!? Thomas was one of the best guards EVER, and Dumars, while he didn't have a great outside shot was bigger, stronger and much more of a traditional two guard than Flynn will ever be. I LOVE Rubio, and like Flynn, but not on the same team.

So what now? I was fine with dealing Lawson and Calathes (according to the great Wolves blog, the future #1 the Wolves will get from Denver for Lawson actually belongs to Charlotte, but has plenty of protection: top 12 protected in 2010, top 10 protected in 2011, top 8 protected in 2012, top 3 protected in 2013, and unprotected in the 2014.), and maybe what all this really amounts to is Kahn believing he took the two best players available and will sort it out as we go. Fine, except you could have taken Curry instead of Flynn and not only keep the same mentality, but actually had a functioning backcourt.

Fred Hoiberg was on KFAN this morning with PA and Charch, and said the phones have been ringing off the hook with interests and trade requests about Rubio, yet maintained they hope and want and plan on Rubio playing here this season. I hope so. The only thing that could make all of this worse as a Wolves fan is if Rubio falls into their lap at 5 and they end up dealing him. I would hope Wolves fans would revolt with torches and pitchforks if Kahn and crew don't do everything humanly possible to make sure Rubio is here this season. If you let him use the excuse that his buyout is too much and he stays in Spain for another year or two, then you failed. Failed. You don't use the fifth pick in the NBA draft to stash a guy in Europe for a year or two. And you don't draft Jonny Flynn just in case Rubio doesn't come over. Failed.

After the first couple of weeks of David Kahn, I'm very nervous. I expressed this during the hiring process when two very qualified candidates, Ted Lindsey in San Antonio and Tom Penn in Portland, pulled out of the search process. I wondered then why two guys who have dreamed about being GM's would pass up what looks to be a great opportunity to shape a team with plenty of assets, picks and cap room exactly as they wanted it. What were we not being told? What was going on behind the scenes that were driving these guys away? I opined at the time that Taylor was telling his candidates that they had to keep McHale. Dan Barreiro has said recently a very good source is telling him that Rob Moore's son has become heavily involved and is even making decisions, which cuts into the power of the would-be GM.

Whatever it was that was keeping qualified candidates away, we ended up with David Kahn, a guy who had never ran a team (you'll hear he was GM of the Pacers, but Donnie Walsh ran that team. Kahn had no real power there AND DIDN"T EVEN LIVE IN INDIANA AT THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!) and was about as unqualified as McHAle was when he got the job. Yet the guy acted like he was Red Auerbach or Jerry West, and talked to the media like he was trying to explain quantam physics to a bunch of four year olds. Can you be an a**hole and be successful? Of course you can, but it might help to DO something first before acting like you're the smartest basketball man who's ever lived! He took way too long to make the no-brainer decision to fire McHale, then made a nice deal with Washington, had Rubio fall in his lap...and then took another point guard, which apparently has only infuriated Rubio. Brilliant.

It should be an interesting next few months: will Rubio or Flynn be traded? Who else is getting dealt? What will the team look like at the end of October? For now, Kahn gets an incomplete grade for his first draft, because I still cannot and will not believe he truly thinks Rubio and Flynn will play together. We shall see.

I know it's early, and I know there's still so much that can and will happen, but I just get the feeling that as a Wolves fan, going from McHale to Kahn is like going from the Titanic to the Hindenburg. It feels great at first to be free and safe and be somewhere different and exciting...and yet you can't fight the notion that something feels strangely familiar.

1 comment:

Joel said...


the minnesota titanichindenburgs, ladies and gentlemen!!

what in the freaking hades was kahn thining!?!?!?!?!


i'm sorry i'm not sorry, jeff.