The sky is falling… upward? TRANSACTIONS GALORE!

Zach Harper —  July 25, 2012 — 60 Comments

OKAY!

A lot has happened over the couple days and now we’re getting a better idea of the way this roster could look heading into next season. After missing out on Nicolas Batum (when evil Paul Allen wouldn’t let him go despite Neil Olshey wanting to let him go or at least work out a sign-and-trade), the Wolves were left with a plan B. Only nobody really seemed to know what the plan B was. The team missed out on Courtney Lee because… well… let’s just say negotiating issues, and it left the team without many options.

So here are the four transactions that have gone/will go down:

1. Greg Stiemsma signs with the team.
2. Wayne Ellington is dealt to the Grizzlies for Dante Cunningham.
3. Wes Johnson and a 1st round pick are part of a 3-team deal that brings back Brad Miller’s contract (CJZero corrected me that he’s going to Phoenix), Jerome Dyson, and a couple of picks.
4. The Wolves sign Andrei Kirilenko for two years and roughly $20 million.

Let’s look at these in order of importance: 

Andrei Kirilenko signs with the Wolves for two years and roughly $20 milliom

This is the big get of the offseason for the Wolves, assuming Brandon Roy’s knees haven’t been replaced by Wolverine’s DNA.

Before we get into the analytics of the signing, let me start by saying the contract is completely fine and anybody freaking out about the money isn’t looking at the new lay of the land after the latest CBA was put into effect. $10 million per year sounds like a lot of money, but there really isn’t such thing as a bad two-year or one-year contract in the new CBA. It essentially is a one year deal with a player option, and even if he picks up the player option you can still move him as a valuable expiring at the trade deadline in 2014. The flexibility isn’t really lost at all. When you get into three and four-year deals, that’s when things become crippling for a player if he doesn’t produce.

So money aside, is Kirilenko a good fit for this team? I say absolutely.

Kirilenko is an extremely intelligent basketball player that should fit in nicely with Rick Adelman’s system. You can put him on the wing and he can attack off the dribble. You can put him in the high post and he’ll pick apart the defense with his passing ability. Scoring-wise, he was really efficient in the 2010-11 season per possession, according to mySynergy Sports. AK scored 0.95 points per possession, which was good for 163rd in the NBA. Part of this was because he shot really well from 3-point range (36.7% compared to his career percentage of 31.1%).

Another big reason he scores so well in points per possession is he gets to the free throw line a lot. He only shot 32.5% from the field in isolation plays and yet he ranked 90th in the isolation points per possession. Why is this? Because Kirilenko drew a foul on isolation plays 29.3% of the time. That’s a pretty incredible rate for someone that isn’t know as a physical player or a guy that really makes a huge impact on offense. And that’s why I think he can be a pretty incredible offensive weapon on this team.

I don’t think he’s an All-Star caliber player anymore, but even in 2010-11 (which was the second worst season of his career) he attempted 4.9 free throws per game. Nikola Pekovic was second on the Wolves last year with 4.0 attempts per game. Kirilenko shot 77% from the charity stripe two years ago, and this past year he made 74.7% of his free throws in Russia. He’s a very solid FT shooter when he gets to the line and he gets there a lot. That’s going to get the opposing team into foul trouble a lot, in theory. Playing alongside Kevin Love shouldn’t change that much either. He played with CJ Miles, Deron Williams, and Devin Harris during that season, and all of those guys had usage rates (25.1%, 26.2%, and 25.2%, respectively) fairly close to Love’s (28.8%).

In terms of Kirilenko’s overall impact on an offense, he’s had good success being on teams that are better with him on the court than off the court. According to NBA.com/stats, here are the offensive ratings of the team overall and with Kirilenko on the court over the last four seasons he was in the NBA:

2010-11 season: Utah Jazz – 104.9, Kirilenko – 106.6
2009-10 season: Utah Jazz – 107.9, Kirilenko – 106.5
2008-09 season: Utah Jazz – 107.1, Kirilenko – 108.0
2007-08 season: Utah Jazz – 110.8, Kirilenko – 113.4

Defensively, Kirilenko has been a mixed bag over the past two years he was in the NBA. In 2010-11, AK was not very good defensively. Most of the points he gave up were off of spot-up situations, meaning his help defense wasn’t spectacular. He was very good against hand-off and guys coming off of screens. But when he had to cover ground and close out on shooters, he struggled to get there. The year before, he was a nightmare defensively, but for the other team. Opponents shot just 37.3% against him overall. He still struggled against spot-up shooters, but everywhere else was an elite status.

If Kirilenko can come back to solid defensive efforts like he showed in 2010 (and he was pretty good defensively in Russia), this signing looks genius. If not, I still think he fits into this system nicely and can figure out how to contribute on a nightly basis. Again, forget the money because two-year deals are just smart signings. He fits the system really well and that’s what matters the most here (although it would be nice if he could shoot better from 3).

It’s also important to note he has this for a back tattoo.

Wesley Johnson and a 1st round pick traded to the Suns for Brad Miller, Jerome Dyson and some picks

This one is surprisingly tougher for me than I thought it would be. After seeing Wes show SOME light at the end of the tunnel during Summer League and his comments after the fourth game of the week, I was talking myself into him having a pretty decent season. In fact, I still think he can be a decent NBA player at this point if he comes through on his realization that he was in his own head last year and needs to just play basketball.

HOWEVER, let’s not kid ourselves on this trade. Even if you want Wes to be good (which he probably won’t be), trading Wes for the cap space for the Andrei Kirilenko signing is a huge upswing in talent and production.  I want Wes to be good and he’s a really good guy, but AK is a lot better in the next two years than Wes, already 25 years old, will be in this time. Giving up the Memphis 1st round pick kind of sucks but we don’t exactly know the draft picks coming back to the team yet. They’re future second round picks, but perhaps they’ll be closer to the first round than the end of the second.

Wolves sign Greg Stiemsma

This is not a signing I’m crazy about. I’ve never been a Stiemsma fan, even though he finally broke through to the NBA and got some playing time this past season. He’s supposed to be the defensive center on this team, and with very few options in the frontcourt, he’s going to have to be. Stiemsma had a great season blocking shots, with a block rate of 8.5% and getting 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes. He definitely protects the rim, and this team is desperately going to need this.

But can he play significant minutes for this team?

He averaged 6.8 fouls per 36 minutes, meaning he was almost always in foul trouble when he was on the court. When he was on the court for the Celtics, they had a defensive rating of 95.1, which was slightly better than their 95.5 defensive rating for the entire year. But his foul rate is kind of ridiculous. It was fine when he was playing just 13 minutes per game for Boston, but won’t he need to play more minutes for this team?

Can he stay out of foul trouble and provide 20-25 minutes on nights when Pek is in foul trouble? What if Pek isn’t okay after his offseason surgery? What if Pek can’t start the season or has a setback because someone put Kryptonite in his basketball shoes? Can Stiemsma step forward and be a guy playing more than 13 minutes per game? If not, where does this team go?

I will give Stiemsma this — he’s not Jordan Hill and he’s not Darko Milicic. It could be a lot worse.

Wolves trade Wayne Ellington to the Grizzlies for Dante Cunningham

I like this move from a standpoint that Dante Cunningham is going to provide some much needed depth in the frontcourt and Wayne was in a crowded backcourt. Wayne is such a good guy, and I believe he can be the fourth guard in a rotation somewhere. He’s a good guy, a good shooter, and I’ll miss having him around the team. But it’s a numbers game right now and he is in a crowded part of the depth chart, with the additions of Roy, Shved, and Chase Budinger.

Cunningham is coming off the best season of his career. He had a career-high PER of 14.9 and a career-high WS/48 of .147. Just as a reference point, JJ Barea was fourth with the Wolves last year in PER with a 14.9 and Anthony Randolph had the third highest WS/48 on the team with 0.099. It looks like he can produce if given an opportunity, especially in a thin frontcourt.

Overall, I’m happy with where this team has gone in the offseason. People can make a big deal over acquiring a lot of players without a lot of melanin, and the jokes are all in good fun, but if that’s all you see the team has done this offseason then you’re missing the point of basketball. The Wolves have acquired talent this offseason, and that’s something that was greatly missing from the team last year. The Wolves acquired guys that fit the system, and sometimes that means more than any other thing a team can do. Organizations can keep piling on projects and hope it comes together, but eventually you need guys that fit what you do. I think the Wolves have done that so far.

Here’s the problem though. Can this team do anything relevant if Ricky doesn’t come back and galvanize his teammates like he did for the first 41 games last year? Can this team play enough defense to win games? There are four good defensive players signed to the roster right now. That’s Rubio, Kirilenko, Cunningham, and Stiemsma. Everybody else needs to figure out how to play team defense and trust each other to make plays. The Wolves were a really good defensive team when Rubio was playing last season. The offense couldn’t make shots and they acquired guys that can shoot the ball this summer.

But will it all come together? I guess we’ll have to wait for medical reports to truly find out.

Zach Harper

Posts

60 responses to The sky is falling… upward? TRANSACTIONS GALORE!

  1. Wow, longer post than normal. Bet it was fun to write

  2. Zach, as always you’ve made me feel better, but couldn’t a better GM have gotten more for Wes and a first?

  3. I really don’t think so. They needed to get cap room for Kirilenko and Wes hasn’t exactly portrayed value in his play. While I think he showed us some good signs during Summer League and expressing his thoughts, nobody is going to pay to acquire a player just for that little. First rounder was probably to get them to take Wes’s contract.

  4. Love it…like you I’m definitely worried about the foul situation with Pek/stiems but c’mon you can’t complain about this offseason great moves.

  5. You totes forgot JEROME DYSON in the depth chart. #gamechanger

  6. Hey Teebers, a better GM wouldn’t have picked up Lesley Johnson’s kahntract option for the upcoming season. And actually, a better GM would have NEVER drafted Lesley in the first place!

  7. Again, it’s Wesley Johnson. Some people call him Wes. Just details.

  8. wes has a pretty nice contract… 2 years left 4.5 each year… thats not bad at all… we easily coulda just said hey anyone in the league want him we will give him to you for a second round pick and ship you some money… someone woulda definately done that

  9. pagingstanleyroberts July 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Lesley Johnson! How creative! Kahntract! Teebers!
    It’s too bad there’s no Internet equivalent of stone silence and eye rolling. There’s a relatively valid point somewhere if it wasn’t accompanied by 3rd grade humor and seething condescension for Zach and the other posters to this site.

  10. Argonbeast0034 July 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Honestly, we really don’t need Steim to play that much…. Most of the time we will just use K-love at C, and D-will at PF during long stretches of time… (except for those rare teams that actually have centers…)

    Even with Kahn’s bungling he somehow managed a solid team (if Roy, and AK can come back to solid play). Although with a TON of wasted players, and picks…. He did do something most terrible GM’s never do though.. He realized his mistakes, and instead of stubbornly sticking to them, he got rid of them… An admitted failure is much better than one that sticks around…. (Darko jokes aside)

    I still say he deserves to be fired, but only if you can find a better gm….

  11. With the inclusion of Tolliver on the depth chart, is that a sign that you think he’s going to return? I want him to, but the Ellington for Cunningham trade made that seem less likely in my eyes.

  12. seriously can we ban college wolf. Listen fella no one really cares to hear your not-at-all cutting digs. If it were funny it might be cool, but it isn’t and truthfully the arrogance just doesn’t work. Please stop posting.

  13. if…IF…IF all this comes together as planned the Wolves would put people in seats that’s for sure. Not to mention all the international coverage they’ll garner….Melanin joke? How bout a joke where they trade Love for Pau and start Shved over Roy just so they don’t start an American. Also, after watching that highlight video i believe the Wolves are trying to field a team that doesn’t throw a pass in front of themselves. This off season is worse then last, not only are the Ricky withdraws killing me but all this “potential” they are stock piling is flooding the parts of Minnesota that aren’t already under water. Once again, IF this team can play as inspiring as it looks on paper…..

  14. The Wolves need a defensive 2 or 3 player. If Krilenko can not play defense due to his age anymore then this is a bad signing even if it is only a 2 year deal. The Wolves need to show Love that they are on the path to winning and the number one thing they are lacking is a player that can defend 2s or 3s.

  15. Zach — What does this mean for Derrick Williams? Is he on the block for a better backup center, or… what else could they be shopping for?

    A huge AMEN and thank you to everyone who is tired of College Wolf’s comments.

  16. THe question is there a derrick williams trade to go?

  17. Aks defense will be fine. Have watched some of the Euroleague and AK’s team CKSA did very well and made the final. From what I saw he had bulked up a bit but didn’t seem to have lost any of his quickness. (Hard to tell vs NBA though) Was pretty dominant all over the court – filling up all the columns in the stat sheet blocks, steals, rebounds. Very good signing and in retrospect perhaps a better gamble than giving 4 years to Batum. Should be good fit for Wolves and to mentor his ex-teammate – Shved.

    Another point on Wolves off-season, there is a large element of addition by subtraction as well – Darko, Webster, Johnson, maybe Randolph dragged down the plus guys a lot.

  18. I would like to know who we were bidding against that we had to pay someone whose published highest offer was $1.25 million. This reminds me too much of the Darko $20 million offer where Kahn out bid himself for the pleasure of eating the rest of Darko’s contract. I do feel better that the #1 thrown in was the Memphis pick. If memory serves that pick is pretty well protected and will most likely vanish. I think we really over paid for AK-47 and I predict we will find we gained nothing by this signing. It doesn’t take great math skills to look at AK-47 last few years in the NBA to see he was on a steep decline.

    PS Chrisser can you really call someone arrogant in one breath and in the next ask for him to be baned from a site because you do not like what he had to say?

  19. 163rd in efficiency is really good? Let’s see…30 teams, about 8 or 9 guys per team that qualify…ummmmm…Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it, but c’mon.

  20. Smart move on the Russian signings, you know they won’t complain about the cold in Minnesota!

  21. So people actually would prefer a lineup that has Beasley, Darko and Randolph on it? And Wes Johnson has not lived up to his hype when drafted. Don’t even start talking about the summer league games. Summer league means nothing. I think that the lineup has improved. The actual games will show for sure if this is true, but I have faith and hope. We took a leap forward last year and we can get even better this year.

    For all you Kahn haters out there, no I don’t think he’s a good GM either, especially not good at drafting, but neither was McFail. Aside from the Darko debacle, Kahn has refrained from giving large contract to fringe players. Remember Trent Hassell, Marko Jaric, Mike James, etc? When Kahn first took over, he got rid of Foye, Mike Miller and others that were clearly underachieving. I really liked that. Following that up by drafting Flynn was not a great move. Last offseason he took a chance on some former high picks that could have gotten a fresh start with a new team. Unfortunately we know know that Beasley won’t change and Randolph won’t play. This year we get some veterans and though no one knows if Roy’s knees will last, at least he has the right mindset and will inspire the team. Kirilenko is also going to help this team a lot.

    And I agree with frnorth’s comment to chrisser. If you don’t like what someone writes here, then don’t read it. No reason to ban someone just because he has a different opinion from you. College Wolf has been a contributer here quite some time and I have never read anything offensive by him. He has his views and free speech allows him to express them.

  22. I’d guess that the team will go small before they play Steisma 30 minutes. Regardless of how many assets were burned in the Rubio, Roy, AK-47, Love, Peko starting 5 is the most complete this franchise has ever seen. Now that the Kahntracts are mostly signed I just pray they are all starting games at the same time.

  23. Why not use the cash and some of our assets to go after the 3rd leg of a big 3? Don’t you think the Sixers would bite on D-Will, Barea (or Ridnour if they didn’t want to tack on years), W. Johnson, and the Memphis pick for Iguodala? Unless you can manage like San Antonio (which Kahn can’t) – this is a star player based league. I think Love, Rubio, and Iggy qualify. Why are we balking at the price when the net between signing Kirlienko and keeping D.Will (who they seem to be skeptical of) is the same price as acquriing Iggy? I would have focused my entire attention on that this offseason (once Philly drafted their guy and well before going after Batum).

  24. Jayjay, that’s not how Synergy works. They rank everybody that had a possession, so being in the top 230 is above average, and being in the top 200 is pretty good.

  25. According to Doogie, the Wolves were bidding against CSKA Moscow, not other NBA teams

  26. Minnesota is really starting to look good now. Nobody can diss David Kahn now. They look like a team that can take on the OKC thunder for the NW Division Title.

  27. First off, I want to say I support College Wolf’s posts, mostly because he provides a different viewpoint – although taking shots at Wes Johnson is a bit mean-spirited. Wes seems like a humble, generally likeable guy. Yes, he is a bit of a draft bust at this point, but blame Kahn for the pick, not Wes. But to College Wolf’s point, let’s not mistake Kahn’s activity for skill as a GM – over the years he has been very active with many trade/signing, etc. discussions, and has turned over the roster quite a bit, but the bottom line he is constantly making additional moves, such as trading a first round pick in order to shed the Wes contract, or amnestying Darko, a guy he described as manna from heaven, in order to pursue his next scheme. So his track record reads more like: fail, fail, win, fail, fail, win. But it definitely includes a lot of failure. And is that something that we should settle for? I don’t just want this team to make the playoffs – I want them to win a championship, and I don’t see evidence that they are building something that can get them there, particularly when I see the other teams in the league.

  28. Generally I like the moves we made, especially getting set better wing players, but I have two concerns:
    1. We didn’t get any major, game-changingly great, just new role players. We need a splash, an elite player.
    2. Are we good enough to make the playoffs? Especially with how some other west teams (namely New Orleans) have improved?

    Despite these concerns, I’m still really excited for this season. And yes, part of that excitement will be the bizarre novelty of the Wolves fielding nightly white-outs.

  29. To be clear, I’m different than the Matt who posted just before me. The best part about this Kirilenko-related trade is seeing Wes leave. Good guy but man what a bust.

  30. Zach, what are the chances that Roy comes off the bench and Shved, Ridnour, or Buddinger start at SG? This would give us the first legitimate starting whitewash since the Celtics of the 80′s. Why isn’t anyone talking about this?

  31. Thanks frnorth, Ivan, and Matt. Appreciate it.

    Matt summed up my thoughts nicely in his kahnmment. Just because Kahn is doing all this stuff, it does NOT make him anywhere near being a good GM. He’s not even close to average. He’s still really bad. He got Rubio, but I guarantee that 99.999% of us here would have made that trade with the Wizards for #5, and then drafted Ricky when he slipped. I know I would have. I also know I would have NEVER drafted Flynn (not #6, or ever.)

    Other than that, he has made trades to save Taylor money, awful draft picks… And that’s about it. Don’t get sucked in by this guy. And I dont know about you guys, but I am not fine with settling for mediocrity (at best!) sorry jthoops, but the Wolves have absolutely zero chance in hell at finishing above the Thunder.

  32. JB3 – Iggy can opt out of his contract after this season, it’s not worth the risk trading for him.

  33. I think we are lenient with kahn because of all those years with mchale. I like mchale as player and coach but compare to him everybody looks like competent gm.

  34. Kahn is a worse GM than McHale was.

  35. There are 30 jobs like this in the world, and guys like Otis Thorpe and Billy King still have jobs. It’s very possible that this is a harder job than we all think it is. Personally, I think Kahn is an average GM at best, but if you do a little exercise and try to rank the GM’s in the league 1-30, I think you will be surprised where you end up putting Kahn.

    Also, want to echo pants thoughts from earlier- Rubio, Roy, Kirilenko, Love, and Pek is the best starting 5* we have ever had. I think that when a guy assembles the best starting 5 in franchise history (however meager that history) you at least let him stick around until the end of his contract. And I think that is all that Glen Taylor is doing.

    * a reasonable argument can be made for the 04-05 team- Cassell, Spree, Sczerbiak, KG, Olowokandi —That’s right folks, before Kahn came along, our best starting 5 in franchise history involved Michael Olowokandi.

    When I think about that, I am happy to let him finish out his contract. As far as extending his contract goes, I want a 5 seed or no way.

  36. This is all you need to see. If only he were average….

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/draft/gm-ratings

  37. So the rating system gives negative points for drafting any foreign player?

  38. If any of these guys we just signed can play just average, this team will be better and we will make the playoffs. Roy and AK-47 are former all stars and have played in playoff games. There leadership will be invaluable and both are on 2 year deals that our author pointed out are not franchise cripplers. (batum deal could’ve been). If these 2 in particular play anywhere near their all star level or pull off above average we will score a lot of points. I like all the international players, they have all been taught since a young age to pass the ball. Adlemans offence is predicated on ball movement. We got more talented, more experienced, and more intelligent. Say what you will about Kahn, but he made moves this offseason that will make us better. I can’t blame Kahn if he can’t convince Iggy (or even a better player) to commit to a long term MN. We earned a bad rap all these years of futility. This will be the best starting 5 we have ever put on the court. We should all be looking forward season and watching what should be a very entertaining product.

  39. I wouldn’t be so down on Stiemsma. The financial commitment in terms of money and years is slight and as for his fouls, yeah they were very high but that can happen with bigs in their first year in the NBA. Maybe it’s more alarming since he was 26 but it was his first experience at NBA speed and it came for a team that is very aggressive defensively. His basketball IQ seemed decent enough that he can acclimate and reduce his foul rate. If he can, he can provide elite shotblocking as well as the willingness to take charges. The surprising thing about him is that he owns a pretty decent outside shot and his touch around the rim is good. He’s not a total non-threat on offense like Jason Collins or Reggie Evans. His rebounding could be a lot better.

  40. Greetings T-Wolves,

    Just wanted to drop a quick note to say what an absolute pleasure it was watching Daunte Cunningham play last year. Nothing spectacular, mind you. But the guy goes 100% all the time, does not mind doing dirty work, and will go get a rebound like he owns it. He defends, runs the floor, and rebounds.

    So while I am hopeful that Ellington can settle into being a 3-point specialist for Memphis, and understand that with our other signings DC’s playing time was going to be negligible, I sincerely believe MN got the better player in the deal.

    Good luck next season when you’re not playing Memphis.

  41. I already conceded the point that he is not a strong drafter, College. That is the only thing your link focuses on- it is a list made using ONLY draft activity. If your point is that Kahn sucks at the draft, I think every single commenter on here agrees with you. But the draft is not the only thing to factor in a GM’s abillity.

    Here is the realistic deal- We cannot do better than Kahn for this year, it’s too late, and if we wanted him replaced, than the time was at the end of last season.

    What we all need to remember about Kahn’s status as the GM is that his boss is Glen Taylor, not us. The T Wolves ticket sales have increased every year since he took over, and he has not exceeded the cap once. He figured out a way to make some other teams foot the bill for the Rambis fiasco, and that means a lot to an owner.

    Kahn has made Taylor even a richer man than he was previously, and the on court woes of the T Wolves might not be enough to justify firing a guy who keeps the pups in the black- at least not in Glen Taylor’s eyes.

  42. That rating system is kind of a joke. Anything that has Billy King ranked 3rd is probably not a very scientific method.

    With that said, I don’t think you have to think Kahn is a good GM to be happy with these moves this offseason. Personally, from things I’ve heard and the targets the Wolves have this offseason, I see Adelman’s camp having a lot more say than most people seem to be admitting to.

    I don’t think Kahn is good at his job and there is a lot of published and unpublished evidence that seems to lead to confirming that a lot. However, just because a move is made with him involved doesn’t mean it has to be considered a bad move. The Wolves improving shouldn’t protect his job. I think he’s done enough to look for a decent replacement (which shouldn’t be too hard), but it seems like whenever the Wolves make a move, instant reaction is to mock the move.

    That just doesn’t seem like reasonable analysis to me.

  43. I think the nice part about these “IFs” is it gives Wolves fans hope. Brandon Roy and AK47 could provide a lot to this team that we desperately need: a player to hit open looks and a defensive presence at the 3. The biggest concern that I have is our first 15 games seem quite easy, but they will likely be without Rubio. If we had Rubio for those games I honestly think we could go 13-2 during that stretch.

    We have an incredibly different team with a lot of hope. We need to remember this is Minnesota. It is tough to sign big name free agents. Getting Roy and AK47 is great for us. Buddinger should fit in well too. I am not scared of any teams in the West except the Thunder and Lakers. If things fall into place the Wolves could be fighting for a 4 or 5 seed. Maybe I am just too optimistic though, especially considering all of the other playoff hunters (Portland, Denver, Phoenix, Golden State, Clippers, Memphis…)

  44. I liked Wes even though he struggled on the court. I can understand why people don’t like him, but I’m finding it hard to fathom why so many people are just writing him off as a bust already. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of a Sophmore Slump. The fact that that phrase exists should be proof enough that it is not rare for second year players in any sport to struggle. Add to that the fact that he had his sophmore year during which the league was locked out, we got a new coach and system, there was no training camp and there was limited practice time all year long and I don’t get why everyone has just written him off as done. Is he going to be an all-star, no. But it is not out of the realm of possibility that he can be a quality role player. He was drafted too high, but I think people expected way too much of him just because he was the 4th overall pick and he was already 23. Most of the players in that draft have yet to meet their expectations and are still adjusting to the NBA game. I would say Cousins, Monroe and George were the only three that were above average players last year (Avery started to come on later in the year for the Celtics). I think Wes will have a solid year in PHX. I wished we would have kept him to see what he could do with a full training camp, but at the same time I think AK47 does give us a much needed defender on the perimeter who can affect the game in many ways other than scoring.

  45. Wes is just terrible. Look at the stats. PER, Win shares, all that stuff. Hell, he was our starting SF and averaged less than HALF A FREE THROW ATTEMPT per game. Sickening.

    He won’t get better. He was one of the worst players in the entire NBA that played as many minutes as he did. I say good riddance to him. What a wasted pick.

  46. For lack of a better melanin, I mean term, there’s not much sun in Minnesota anyway.

  47. Kahn gets a lot of flack for his mistakes and he’s made plenty (who hasn’t) but if you just look at the bottom line he has done a remarkable job. In 2009, he took over a team with a coach he needed to fire in McHale and very few assets. In three years he has put together an organization with a top 10 coach and a line-up that should compete for a top seed in the division. How many other teams that were as bad as the Wolves in 2009 have made as much progress since then. It’s easy to focus on his mistakes, but looking big picture if this season pans out he deserves another contract.

  48. Compete for a top seed in the division? You know the Thunder are in the division, right? So you’re saying the Wolves will compete for the #1 seed in the West next year?

  49. No, my comment was that they could be “a top seed in the division.” I think they can push to get into the top 4 depending on whether the LA teams break down because of age or lack of depth. IN any event they should be a safe playoff team if they are healthy.

  50. We are certainly better, but there’s no way we could be worse than the past half-decade. It’s been beyond brutal.

    And again, we are better right now, but the ceiling for this squad as currently kahnstructed is a 2nd round playoff team (AT BEST.)

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