Enter Ridnour

Benjamin Polk —  July 22, 2010 — 7 Comments

Photo by Express Monorail

Here in Minnesota, we love ourselves some point guards. In the last two years, Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Nick Calathes, Ty Lawson, Mario Chalmers, Kevin Ollie, Sebastian Telfair, Randy Foye and Ramon Sessions  have all, at least momentarily, sported the hometown blue-ish and green-ish (and black, plus a little silver).

And now, Luke Ridnour is officially a member of that distinguished group. Welcome, Luke.  I recommend swimming in lakes for a third of the year and wearing long underwear for the rest. So what’s this all about? Are we moving Ramon Sessions as has been reported and widely assumed? Are we, uh, actually hanging on to all three of these guys? Here’s what Kent Youngblood has to say about it:

Jonny Flynn, last year’s starter as a rookie, has a sore left hip. David Kahn, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, said it’s the same injury that kept Flynn out of last season’s regular-season finale and out of summer league ball. Kahn said the team will hold onto all its point guards until Flynn’s immediate future is clear.

“We have three point guards on our roster this season, and yet another one [Ricky Rubio] overseas,” Kahn said Wednesday. “It’s not my intent, in any way, shape or form, to have three healthy point guards on the roster this year. That wouldn’t be fair to any of them. … [But] I’m not certain, as we speak today, about Jonny’s condition.”

On a different, although somewhat related note, jianfu of Canis wonders aloud whether a mid-market team like the Wolves can afford the talent necessary to run the triangle offense:

It would appear that running this style of offense demands versatility out of all its players: your bigs need to be creative passers, your wings need to be versatile, do-it-all types. Is this sustainable for a smaller-market team wishing to avoid the luxury tax? Wouldn’t it seem, assuming you found enough players that could make this thing sing, this is a less-cost-efficient strategy given these players are skilled to the point that they’re going to be awfully expensive? The Lakers have Lamar Odom coming off the bench and he’s paid 3X the Wolves’ highest-paid player, after all. Is a Utah- or Phoenix-style offense–built almost entirely around a 2-man pick-and-roll game, supplemented with role players that are more specific (as opposed to diverse) in their skillsets a more viable alternative?

This is an interesting point, I think. My personal feeling is that you don’t necessarily need a team full of spectacularly talented players to make this offense work–although it would probably be helpful to have at least one guy of Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol or Kobe Bryant’s skill level. Rather, you need smart players who are willing and able to get open and move the ball. Its also nice if they can run the floor and shoot and feel like playing defense.

Utah doesn’t run the triangle, but Jerry Sloan’s offense relies on some similar skills: overall basketball knowledge; crafty passing; smart off-the-ball movement and screen setting. The Jazz’s great talent has been to surround their stars–Stockton and Malone, Williams and Boozer–with smart, willing, modestly paid role players; there’s no reason that the Wolves can’t do this too (and in some ways, they’re already on the right track). So when do we get our Deron Williams (or Kobe or Pau)…?

Benjamin Polk

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7 responses to Enter Ridnour

  1. Interesting to note the triangle in reference to market and quality of role players. I think they go hand in hand myself, but the teams known for running the triangle (Phil Jackson’s) have had the GOAT and the best player in the game today. Looking at the Bulls and Lakers teams that have run it, what’s present is one completely dominant player and a slew of talented (if not great) supporting players. The hometown team have….neither, thus making it real tough to interpret whether or not this can work here. Can they run the offense? Sure, i think they can eventually. As it stands now, Kevin Love being right in the triangle, Ridnour serving as a good pickup for the specific offense, Johnson and Beasley as well, and Flynn being a pick and roll guy, our hope lies with ricky….or harrison barnes. fingers crossed.

  2. From ESPN:

    “We don’t know how this will play out,” Kahn said. “We’re trying to be as open and honest about the situation as we can when we talk to people. I told Sessions’ agent that we have a situation where Ramon could be the starting point guard or we could trade him. In the meantime, he’s a member of the team and nobody has stopped thinking otherwise.”

    This is the basic problem with Kahn-talk, he says four different things at once. Sessions could start, he could go, he is a valued member of the team, he doesn’t fit their plans. He’s talking to anyone who is interested in a trade but he never thinks that Sessions could play for anyone else.

    Kahn has a lot of great ideas (I’m being kind today) but he clearly needs an editor. Unfortunately he’s the editor-in-chief. The PG conundrum all arises from two basic problems that Kahn himself has created. First, he envisions this team to be an uptempo running team like the Suns but he hired Kurt Rambis because he was the best coach available. Kahn nevertheless wants to run and continues to obtain personnel that fits his scheme and not Rambis’, so they constantly end up with players who are not good “fits” except neither Kahn nor Rambis are ready to be candid about the fact that the “fit” issue arises in significant part from Kahn’s philosophical schizophrenia where he supports and respects Rambis, but doesn’t really want to do things his way. Second, Kahn’s success as Wolves GM is basically predicated on Ricky Rubio coming in and being a star, yet he can’t stop fiddling around in an effort to both develop a contingency plan in case Rubio doesn’t show, but not a full-on replacement that would discourage Rubio from coming. And to fit the two disparate offenses that he both kind of likes.

    Kahn needs to find a plan and commit to it, and if he’s wrong face the consequences. Instead like Hamlet he’s all soliloquies and ditherings. And we all know how it turns out for Hamlet, he gets what he wants but doesn’t live to see it.

  3. There are 2 ways to get a superstar in today’s NBA. Obviously, the best way is to draft one. The only other way is to get one to join your team by convincing him with your assets. You either use your assets in a trade, or you use them to convince a free agent to sign outright.

    Drafting a superstar is a bit of a gamble, and the best way to succeed at a gamble is to have multiple chances at the prize. This is obviously the focus of Khan’s plan, as we have had the most overall picks in the draft for 2 years straight, and look to have another 3 1st rounders next year.

    As far as signing a superstar outright, good luck in Minnesota- no one ever has and I have to think that no one ever will. That leaves any GM of the T Wolves with one option- use a combination of assets and cap space to make a trade for a player under a long term contract. With 15-17 mil in cap space, and superfluous players at nearly every position, I’d say that the Wolves have a good chance to do this should a desirable player come up for trade.

    Think about what the Wolves could offer a team in a trade for their disgruntled superstar- Any of the Love\Rubio\Flynn trioka, plus 3 1st rounders, Wes Johnson, and their pick of serviceable young contracts to make the numbers work. Add in the fact that we have enough cap room to accept a bad contract along with said superstar, and it’s a tough package for a team to refuse.

    The roster is odd right now, but the T Wolves have more flexibility than any team in the league- Khan may be a goofy guy, and he has no doubt made some questionable moves, but we have the pieces and picks to add a superstar in the future- too bad none of them want to live in Minneapolis.

  4. The only problem with your philosophy Nate, is that would put us right back in the KG mode, where we have 1 superstar, and no supporting cast. I do agree that we have a lot of flexibility… That is, other than the fact that a guy (Rubio) who isn’t even ON the team, is dictating the majority of our roster moves. And he, less than anybody, actually wants to play here… But that flexibility only matters, if we can actually use it to our advantage. And quite frankly, I just don’t trust (Shocker)Kahn to make those moves.

    I mean seriously… any GM that would look at this whole PG situation and say, “Well, I have Ramon Sessions on the team. And I can go get Luke Ridnour. But then I would probably have to get rid of Ramon, down the road, because they have very similar skillsets. Oh, what the heck… let’s cast off the guy who has a year of experience in our system, and a year of cohesion with the rest of the guys here, and bring in a guy who can’t possibly repeat the anomale that was his last season”… how are we supposed to put our trust in this man’s hands? I am not a professional basketball expert. I don’t know all the ins and outs of managing a basketball team. But two things that I do know, is that chemistry and experience outweigh skill and potential, at the end of the day. And it seems like every decision that Khan(artist) makes, is based on the latter two elements. Which to me spells failure for years to come. But then again, until this team makes an effort to fix the problem that is the front office… they aren’t going anywhere anyways.

    Just out of curiosity… anybody want to contend with my belief that the GM job should have been handed to Freddy Hoiberg on a silver platter, now? I’m guessing not. But “ya’ll” thought I was crazy before. But now (Ghengis)Kahn will reign. And we shall all live in terror!

  5. Kahn just got fined $100K for his bizarre comments about Beasley smoking too much pot. I dunno, Wolves fans who insist there MUST be method to his madness I think are just seeing what they want to see (I don’t blame them, hope is a hard thing to abandon), not what seems apparent from Kahnnie’s own statements and actions.

  6. Your description of the Wolves’ jersey gave me a revelation: Sad sack teams have busy jerseys. Wolves, Grizzlies, Warriors, Nets, Mavs (not a sad sack team, but always a bridesmaid)…

    Know what NBA champions in recent memory have in common? They have 2, 3 maximum, colors.

    Lakers: Purple and gold
    Celtics: Green and white
    Heat: Red, Black, orangy-yellow?
    Spurs: Black and silver
    Pistons: Red, white, and blue
    Bulls: Red and black
    Rockets: Red and white

    Hmmm.

  7. I agree, it should be Fred “the Mayor” Hoibergs job!

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