Archives For David Kahn

Advertising and promotional work are tricky things.

There has to be a balance between boosting the product you’re trying to sell in a way that makes it desirable for the customer and at the same time you can’t really insult their intelligence too much. At a certain point, you’re trying to trick your clientele to giving their “hard-earned” money to you for a service or product that you’ve convinced them they want or need. But transparency can still be a tactic used while trying to trick your potential customers.

As many Wolves fans have seen by now, there was an open letter to the fans in the Monday edition of the Star Tribune. And the strategy was something that wasn’t all that surprising and yet still refreshing to see. The Wolves front office took a page out of Eminem’s character in the movie 8 Mile to promote themselves as a necessary part of Wolves’ fans lives.

They criticized themselves and essentially brought certain criticisms of the organization and rebuilding plan to light before it could be used against them. It was just like the final rap battle in 8 Mile. Eminem’s character wins the competition by ripping on himself throughout the freestyle (warning: language NSFW). It’s essentially a version of reverse psychology to get you to let your guard down while they try to throw ticket package options your way.

But how much do you believe the message they’re giving you? Do you buy into the plan and the way it’s being executed? What about how they shaped their message in describing the players on their team?

The plan is a curious one because while they’ve done exactly what they claim they have wanted to do the entire time (younger, faster, more athletic), we don’t know that the team is truly any better than it was in the first place. Maybe there is more unknown with the future of how these players could develop and therefore it’s easy to think, “Sure, they could be better.” At the same time there is still too much confusion of how they get a #1 guy on this roster and how these pieces fit into the triangle offense.

While it’s unfair to criticize the EVERY move made by David Kahn simply because it’s him (even I’ll admit he’s done some good stuff in the year-plus he’s been in charge), it’s also ridiculous to defend him just because people are making fun of your team all the time. The justification of the Darko contract is baffling to me. Just because other teams spent money more irresponsibly on big men than the Wolves did doesn’t mean the contract is a valid move towards rebuilding. The execution of the plan is just as confusing as the figuring out how all of the pieces fit into the halfcourt system. It doesn’t mean that neither will work out but to say, “we know we’ve turned the corner” is a weird way to shape the sales pitch being given to Wolves fans in this letter.

The overall context of the message was well crafted and at the same time a bit of a head-scratcher. They opened with poking fun at themselves, stating the plan they believe in, being brutally honest about the present likelihood of success and describing the team and then ending it with an air of confidence before one more bout of humor. The letter was very well laid out and symmetric in its approach. But it was confusing how they could go 518 words of an organizational state of the union address with only mentioning the best player on the team as “one of the best outlet passers in the game.”

This was really the only weird/off-putting thing I took from the letter. Kevin Love is/should be the face of this franchise. I think you can actually sell tickets with him. He just became a cult hero of the basketball-following world during the FIBA World Championships and he gets a slight blurb. He’s by far the best player on the team and yet gets less praise attributed to him than the adolescent years of Michael Beasley received. Maybe I’m just nitpicking this point but I found it to be really odd and disheartening.

Other than that, the Wolves are telling the NBA world and more importantly Wolves fans to take a look into the glass house before they throw stones at it. They’re being fairly open and honest about their feeling of where the franchise is headed. And they’re even able to poke fun at themselves while doing it in a clever way to push tickets.

“Enough talk. It’s time to play.

Oh, wait. We forgot to talk about Rubio.

Next time. “
Way to go out on a high note.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

ESPN’s panel of experts has been speaking for nearly two weeks now. So far, they think the Heat will win lots of basketball games, that Amare Stoudemire will be a disappointment and that Lebron James will be good. Nothing all that controversial there. Today, though, the panel pronounced that our Timberwolves would be the most tumultuous team in the NBA this year. The Pups narrowly beat out the Cavs and Hornets but still, I thought, our honor needed some defending. So over at the ESPN NBA page, I did just that. Here’s the nuts and bolts of the thing. As you can see, they caught me on an optimistic day:

I realize it seems questionable to brazenly flout the “best player available” maxim by drafting Wesley Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins, and then immediately duplicating Johnson’s skill set by trading the 16th pick for Martell Webster.

It’s strange to trade Al Jefferson, the team’s best player over the past three seasons, for two draft picks, and then bring in Michael Beasley to replace him as your go-to scorer. And even stranger to sign two Serbian centers for a grand total of $34 million over the next four seasons, especially when one of them is named Darko Milicic.

And maybe you’re also amused and/or exhausted by the knowledge that in the first year of Kahn’s tenure, the Wolves have acquired no fewer than seven point guards, some of them more than once (although, to his credit, not all at the same time).

And that teenage prodigy Ricky Rubio — the fifth pick in the ’09 draft and maybe the best player of all of those PGs — currently runs game in Barcelona with no guarantee of ever setting foot in Minnesota…

It’s fashionable at the moment to ridicule Kahn as an abrasive, unqualified hack. It’s clear the man has had some awfully low moments this summer and that he and Rambis haven’t yet found that transcendent player who will give meaning to their long-suffering franchise. And it’s equally clear that the Wolves are going to lose a lot of games this season.

But if you scan this lineup — Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Wes Johnson, Martell Webster, Corey Brewer, even Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley — you’ll find a lot of young, smart, athletic, hungry players. These are players who want to learn, who want to run, who want to move the ball and play defense. Aren’t these just the type of players who would seem to fit well into Rambis’ up-tempo-and-triangle offense? And when you consider the Wolves have roughly $10 million in cap space, doesn’t the picture look a lot less ridiculous than this chaotic offseason might have suggested?

Am I just being naïve? Is it wrong for Wolves fans to hold on to even these tiny shreds of optimism? Let me tell you a story.

For the three years beginning with their six-game Western Conference finals loss to the Lakers in 2004 and ending with the Kevin Garnett trade of 2007, the Wolves slowly melted down. With very few exceptions (KG among them), the team became a nightmare of ball-hogging, extravagant contract demands, intentionally careless defense and mediocre effort. As the front office hemorrhaged draft picks, this collection of aging jump-shooters and corrosive personalities contributed to the firing of both Flip Saunders and Dwane Casey and helped hasten the KG era’s sad, pathetic end. What I’m saying is: We’ve seen turmoil and this isn’t it.

March 14, 2010: Ramon Sessions of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM.

A lot of people are not going to believe this but David Kahn did something I like.

Meat And Potatoes Of The Trade

T’Wolves trade Ramon Sessions (3 years, $12.7m), Ryan Hollins (2 years, $4.8 m) and a future second round pick.
Cavaliers trade Sebastian Telfair (1 year, $2.7m) and Delonte West (1 year, $4.5m)

Ryan Hollins and Ramon Sessions both have player options for the final years of their contracts while Delonte West’s contract is only guaranteed for $500,000 if he’s waived by August 5th. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Wolves will waive Delonte West and save themselves the $4 million this year.

So what does this mean for Minnesota?

When Luke Ridnour signed with the Wolves for the exact same contract Ramon Sessions autographed last summer, the writing was on the wall that Sessions would be moved to a new team. I never understood the Sessions signing last summer. I had no problem with him joining the Wolves. But considering Minnesota had just drafted Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, signing another point guard for four years just didn’t make a lot of sense.

Fast forward a year and they’ve signed another point guard to a four-year contract that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me if they have the intention of having Rubio and Flynn running the point for the future of this franchise. Luke Ridnour is the newest floor general signed by David Kahn in what has been a running joke of him trying to acquire all of the point guards in the league. But for once, the running joke against Kahn is a little unfair.

Ridnour is possibly a better point guard than Ramon Sessions in the traditional sense. Sessions is a fantasy basketball legend. He does a nice job of distributing the ball at a high level in the final weeks of the season when the effort is gone in meaningless games. That’s not to belittle what Sessions can do on a basketball court. He is a willing passer and that’s something that can be overlooked in today’s NBA. He doesn’t take a lot of bad shots and rarely will hijack a possession.

But Ramon Sessions was such a liability on defense last year that it’s hard to truly know if he could fit in with this team. Ramon was bad at closing out on shooters and defending guys when isolated. He didn’t fight through screens well or make sure to rotate properly in help. He also doesn’t have great vision for a point guard despite being good at racking up assists. He can miss the obvious play far too much for my liking and with a pass-first point, that’s sort of a problem.

Instead, the Wolves bring in a more veteran and steady presence with Ridnour while bolstering the depth with this trade. Ridnour will be better in the triangle system with a whole lot of tempo than Sessions could have been and a lot of that has to do with his three-point shooting. It’s hard to believe a career 34.7% shooter (career-high 38.1% last season) from long range can be a huge upgrade. However, Ridnour does make the defense have to account for him on the perimeter. Sessions and his 10 career three-point makes do accomplish that whatsoever.

With West already gone, it’s essentially a swap of Sessions and Hollins for Sebastian Telfair. Is this a little one-sided? Absolutely. But is this trade good for the franchise? I believe it is.

A team in the process of rebuilding doesn’t need four potential point guards. Let’s play Make Believe and trick ourselves into thinking Rubio will willingly come to this franchise in the 2011-12 season. Then you’ve got Rubio signed for four years, Flynn signed to two more years (assuming the Wolves pick up his two team options), Sessions signed for two more years (assuming he picks up his player option) and Luke Ridnour to three more seasons. That is way too much salary and time wrapped up into the same one-dimensional position.

Cutting bait with Sessions before the contract became an albatross was the way to go. And at the same time, they got rid of a horrible big man option by jettisoning Ryan Hollins. Hollins was another big man in this league that owed a big portion of his contract to Jason Kidd. He played with Kidd in Dallas for a portion of the ’08-’09 season and he looked much better than he actually is because of it. He wasn’t given a ridiculous three-year contract like Mikki Moore got with the Kings a couple of years ago after playing with Kidd but he still got a three-year contract that didn’t make any sense.

But now? The Wolves no longer have to worry about that.

They’ve been able to rid themselves of two contracts that don’t fit and don’t make sense. This is a key when rebuilding with some sense of fiscal responsibility. Being able to get rid of superfluous and unnecessary contracts before they become a burden is huge. It allows contracts like Darko’s signing and Luke Ridnour’s signing to be much easier to digest as a bitter fan base.

The Wolves have carved out even more cap space without sacrificing legitimate building blocks to do so. Even though I’m a firm believer that Kahn should be criticized for the majority of the decisions he’s made in his 14 months on the job, for once he’s making a move that makes short and long-term sense.

David Kahn Gets Loose

Benjamin Polk —  July 25, 2010 — 20 Comments

Photo by Genvessel

So it turns out that David Kahn is not the scheming, Gekko-esque bromide-dispenser that he seemed to be. Despite appearances, and despite his frequent references to league-enforced propriety, Kahn seems to be pretty innocent of the politic non-speak that vibrates throughout most NBA front offices.  In a way, its disarming and refreshing to hear an NBA executive speak so openly and common-sensibly about things. Derrick Favors is out of shape? Sure looked like it to me. Michael Beasley is immature? Not really controversial. Chris Webber is “a schmuck”? Don’t hold back, dawg!

Then there’s tidbit on Beasley from Kahn’s now infamous KFAN interview:

He is growing up — he’s not grown-up. He’s 21 … and if you think back, as I do all the time, to when I was 21, and if you had given me this kind of money and put me in this kind of world with these kinds of pressures attached to it and some of the demands, I don’t know how well I would have handled it, any easier than, say, he has.

For the GM of an NBA team, this strikes me as totally reasonable, and maybe even a bit compassionate. But, of course, those aren’t the “inapropriate comments” that got Kahn and the Wolves fined $100 grand by the league. These are:

[Beasley] is a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he’s not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case.

Again, not your typical NBA front-office sound-byte, right? On one hand, you’ve gotta love the honesty. And the league’s fairly heavy penalty is fairly consistent with their schoolmarmish pandering to white, conservative, NBA-skeptical middle America (wherever that is) and whomever else might be both a fan of basketball and terrified at the possibility that some people smoke drugs.

On the other hand, if your employer ever talked about your drug use on the radio (which drug use was admitted to in a presumably private conversation), wouldn’t you kind of freak out? One has to wonder, not necessarily at the accuracy, but at the wisdom of, say, questioning the fitness of a prospective first-round draft pick. Or musing aloud upon the schmuckiness of a recently retired, heavily respected NBA legend. Or making it known that the extremely personal contents of private conversations with your players are not, after all, so private. I mean, is this someone you would want to work for?

Photo by Macwagon

After trading Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz for two first-rounders, a newfound $25 million or so in cap room, and a chance to give Michael Beasley some serious burn (by the way, Kevin Love says, B-Easy or no, he’s not feeling another year of sixth-man limbo–anybody know how this is gonna work?) David Kahn strongly hinted that the party was not over. “We’re only about halfway through this exercise,” he said on the eve of the Jefferson deal. Apparently an essential facet of the exercise was signing Luke Ridnour.  AP’s John Krawczynski reports on that:

With so many baby-faced players on a roster that is in the middle of a massive overhaul, team president David Kahn put a priority on adding some experience to help the young Minnesota Timberwolves grow together.

The first veteran addition didn’t come cheap. The Timberwolves agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with free agent point guard Luke Ridnour, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

This probably also tells us that Ramon Sessions, the Wolves current backup point guard, is on his way to a (hopefully) happier place. Krawczynski continues:

The deal likely means that Sessions, who signed a contract nearly identical to Ridnour’s last summer, will be traded. Sessions’ agent told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has heard about discussions with several teams, but a deal has yet to be completed.

Let me tell you what this makes me wonder. Over their careers, Ridnour’s and Sessions’s stats are awfully similar (Ridnour’s sample size, of course, being quite a bit bigger than Ramon’s). Sessions boasts a career PER of 15.6 to Ridnour’s 14.5 Sessions’s true shooting percentage is .519, while Ridnour’s is .512. Dimes? Sessions’s assist rate is 31% while Ridnour’s is 29.7%. Turnover rate? 15.9% for Sessions, 15.5 for Ridnour. Even defensively, the two players’ profiles are remarkably similar.

So what’s this about? As mentioned above, veteran leadership was something sorely lacking from the Wolves’ lineup last year; Ridnour certainly provides that–although Sessions, despite his relative youth, offered a quiet, steady contrast to Jonny Flynn’s exuberant vocal stylee. I certainly hope this isn’t an overreaction to Sessions’s disappointing stats last season and Ridnour’s career year (Luke’s PER and true shooting percentage were significantly higher last year than in any of his previous six seasons–which suggests that they’re more than likely an aberration).

Because if anyone got a rotten deal last year, it wasn’t Jefferson or Kevin Love, but Sessions.  For an entire season, he watched from the sidelines as Flynn received on-the-job training from the Wolves’ starting unit. Ramon, meanwhile, had to make do with the truly impressive cast D-Leaguers and Eurostars on the Wolves’ bench–and I’ll tell you, that crew could suck the life out of anybody’s game. Over and over, Sessions found himself the most competent scorer on the floor, forced to shoulder the man’s share of the offensive burden.

Suffice to say, this did not play to his strengths. Watching Sessions’s game slowly deteriorate after thousands of minutes spent next to Ryan Hollins and Sasha Pavlovic was one of the least appetizing facets of the Wolves long, grisly season. I’m pretty sure that Ramon Sessions is an awfully good basketball player. He doesn’t deserve what he got (and what, it seems, he’s getting) here in Minneapolis.

The Reverse Fix

Myles Brown —  July 14, 2010 — 11 Comments

It was tough to watch Al Jefferson last season. He was a bit tentative, a step slow and what was once a scowl of determination looked more and more like sulking. But it was understandable. He was trudging about on one knee, surrounded by new faces and learning a new system. The writing was on the wall and he knew he never had a chance.

There were flashes of brilliance in Jefferson’s first two Minnesota winters. In the age of the uber-athletic forward, Al was a throwback: an earthbound player with a skill set that aged gracefully. His intuitive footwork, soft hands and endless array of pump fakes established him as one of the league’s best postmen. He worked to extend his range, improved his passing and became even more dangerous. Of course he wasn’t without his faults; for such a fundamentally sound offensive force, he was a woefully inept defender and the aforementioned improvement in court vision was from absolute blindness to mere nearsightedness.

Make no mistake though, Al was much more than a bottom feeder hoarding stats and losses, in the eyes of many he was an All Star. Unfortunately, in the eyes of those who mattered he wasn’t a winner like David West. It was quite ironic. Kevin Garnett was an All Star the previous two seasons on teams that struggled to win 30 games. But that’s just the way things work: prominent veterans on losing teams and tertiary players on winning teams get the benefit of the doubt while the new guy gets the shaft.

He was so much more than the new guy. He was the new face of the franchise. He was the faint hope that a struggling team could recover from losing a Hall of Famer. He was the one who had to rally his teammates. He was the one left to face the media every night. He was a hard worker who made no excuses and believed in accountability, not lip service. He was the leader. He never had a chance.

In his first days on the job, David Kahn provided a refreshing dose of honesty that drew the respect of many Wolves fans. Al Jefferson wasn’t going to be the best player on a championship team, but he could be a dependable second option. Unfortunately, he’ll have to do so in Utah.

Questionable as the circumstances may be, I’m happy to see him go. Too often players aren’t given the time or conditions to develop. They’re treated as commodities instead of projects. Al suffered through some of Boston’s darkest days, only to be discarded in a deal for their salvation. He emerged as a legitimate force in Minnesota, hindered more by injury and instability than any defense. Now he finds himself in the steady and capable hands of Jerry Sloan, who will appreciate his no nonsense attitude, cater to his strengths and bang out those deficiencies.

Hopefully he’s found a home.

Hopefully we won’t regret it.

Miles of Smiles

Benjamin Polk —  June 26, 2010 — 11 Comments

Photo by harold.lloyd

Here are a few clarifying, explanatory, provocative notes from Friday’s media sessions with the Wolves new draftees, Wes Johnson, Lazar Haywood and Namanja Bjelcia, plus David Kahn and Kurt Rambis.

  • Its become clear that the Timberwolves have made re-signing Darko Milicic (and, to a lesser extent, Nikola Pecovic) a condition of trading Al Jefferson. “It’s the right time finally for us to explore this,” Kahn said. “I’ve met with Al and discussed this. If Darko comes back, there could be a need to create some playing time. We really need to get our front line settled.” This is slightly unsettling because it  suggests that Kahn and Rambis have calibrated their concept of “team need” around Darko’s presence. One wonders: did this factor into their decision to pass on Demarcus Cousins? I am now squirming in my chair.
  • Kahn predicted that sign-and-trades, rather than straight free-agent signings would dominate the landscape this summer. But, as Myles rightly points out, now that Rudy Gay seems to be off the table it’s not clear which free agents the Wolves might be pursuing. They could certainly attempt use Al to work a Chris Bosh sign-and-trade although I would think that Bosh’s first desire would be to just go wherever Lebron goes. After that, what’s left? Joe Johnson? Carlos Boozer? Amar’e Stoudemire? David Lee? Tyrus Thomas? Amir Johnson? Does any of this make sense?
  • Or might the Wolves simply save their cap room for next summer, when the Miamis, Chicagos and New Jerseys of the world have already chased their dreams and Carmelo, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Al Horford and Nene can all become free agents? The mind boggles.
  • Kahn adamantly rejected the premise that the Wolves needed to make dramatic changes in order to attract Ricky Rubio. “He’d like us to improve, but we all would,” Kahn said. “I think that what’s important to him is that he feels that he’s ready to play. And he feels that in a year he’ll be more ready to play. Anything else is just fluff.” Ok, then.
  • This from Kurt Rambis (a sentiment later endorsed by Kahn): “Last year was just what we had to do, business-wise. Now we’re starting to build a team. I’ve always considered this our first year. Last year was just a business year.” I guess we all kind of knew that already. Not sure how much business got done but it sure wasn’t much fun.
  • Also from Rambis: “Smart players don’t have a problem picking up any offense.” That’s a bold statement. But I feel like it explains a lot of what the Wolves are doing here. They clearly have put a premium on athletic players, like Johnson and Martell Webster, who also happen to be pretty sharp fellas. They may not be the ultimate in terms of pure individual skill but, I’m guessing this thinking goes, they’ll be able to find roles within the offense. They’ll be willing  and able to move the ball and move without the ball, to be in position to make plays and then to actually make them.
  • But still, commenter Mac makes a great point. Last season, the Wolves suffered from a desperate lack of shooting, athleticism and creativity on the wing. Johnson and and Webster take care of the first two but not the third. The team still badly needs a perimeter player who can (intelligently) create his own shot.
  • I was totally charmed by Johnson’s and Haywood’s giddiness and earnest enthusiasm. They seem like good dudes. I really hope they’re good basketball players.
  • Bjelica does not speak English well at all. We can only imagine how arduous an entire day spent in the company of strangers, in a country you’ve never before visited, answering questions in a language you barely speak must have been–particularly if those foreign strangers are your future employers. The kid looked sad-eyed and shell-shocked.

Broken Windows

Myles Brown —  June 25, 2010 — 6 Comments

My partner and I have made our stance on rumors quite clear. It’s more prudent to provide worthwhile analysis of the developments at hand than to frustrate both ourselves and our readers with idle speculation. There is a distinct difference between foresight and hindsight.

The time has come for the latter.

David Kahn was roundly mocked for his selection of of four point guards last year, but I defended the move since Jonny Flynn was considered to be the best player available after securing Ricky Rubio, our intended target. I considered all the talk of the two sharing a court to be nothing more than posturing as we built Flynn’s trade value. Unfortunately, Flynn posted a woeful assist to turnover ratio, displayed a questionable shot selection and was no more of a defensive threat than a plastic spoon.

Nonetheless, another struggling franchise in Indiana was reportedly willing to take Flynn on as a project in exchange for the tenth pick in last night’s draft. Sayeth the Kahn? “We turned it down in a second.”

Why? Management and fans alike made no secret of their desire for Evan Turner, though according to the rumor mill, Philadelphia was unwilling to part with their pick for anything less than a king’s ransom. But were they so intent on unloading Elton Brand that they’d reject an offer of the 4th and 10th pick? It’s impossible to know now, but why would they be so committed to emptying their frontcourt without a suitable replacement? Are they that confident in Spencer Hawes? Weren’t they enamored with Derrick Favors? Have they no use for DeMarcus Cousins? Was such a proposal even discussed? Surely there was room for negotiation.

It would have been worth pursuing. Instead we drafted Wesley Johnson, a fine prospect, but hardly a bourgeoning All-Star and more importantly, a duplicate of the All-Star free agent we’re supposedly pursuing. Johnson and Rudy Gay are both small forwards and the imbalance of such a perimeter is readily apparent. Turner-a natural shooting guard- is the more suitable complement and thus, the more enticing option in convincing Rudy to walk away from Memphis.

Now what? This means they’re passing on Gay, right? Or are they trying to gain the confidence of yet another reluctant player after drafting someone who plays his position? Every salary dump by the likes of Chicago and Miami makes $15 million in Minnesota seem all the more paltry and each confounding move by Kahn only compounds the situation. At this point the money seems best suited to absorb another contract, a move we just refused to make. Furthermore, any trade must involve not only another player, but another GM and few-if any-are willing to deal with ours.

As Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported: “Under general manager David Kahn, the Wolves are becoming the organization that no one wants to send players. Kahn’s condescending, abrasive style is frustrating to rival GMs and agents because few people believe he has the background, knowledge or credentials to even hold the job. To his credit, Kahn did hire a personable assistant GM, Tony Ronzone, who can work the phones for him.”

This is a business built on not only on the acquisition of talent, but establishing relationships. This year’s NBA Finals is indicative of as much, since both Los Angeles and Boston valuted into championship contention with a little help from some old friends. In light of this, Kahn’s insistence on isolating himself with such a haughty attitude is more than disconcerting. In fact, given the frequency with which the words have been coupled, it’s worthy of an addition to the lexicon…

kahndescending (kon-di-sen-ding) adj. -displaying a patronizingly superior attitude depsite questionable decision making

To many, Kahn’s prideful disdain for his detractors has been visible for quite some time, but I initially interpreted it as coyness and admirably watched him clear cap space while acquiring assets. Now I’m not sure he even knows what to do with them and find myself frighteningly close to joining the chorus. I can’t hold back much longer.


Myles Brown —  June 25, 2010 — 4 Comments

“You’ll never make me stay, so take your weight off of me. I know your every move, so won’t you just let me be. I’ve been here times before, but I was too blind to see that you’ll seduce every man, this time you won’t seduce me. You’re saying, “That’s okay, hey baby do what you please. I have the stuff that you want. I am the thing that you need…

Michael Jackson has been dead for a year now. His final days were spent embroiled in controversy and haunted by questionable decisions, but his contributions to the cultural landscape remain unparalleled. Plainly put, the man knew how to make hits.

David Kahn has been at the helm of our moribund franchise for a year now. Last night, in his first draft since being spurned by mop topped phenom Ricky Rubio, he had another chance for his first hit. In my humble, jaded, yet honest opinion, he failed.

  • Pick 4: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
  • Pick 16: Luke Babbit, SF, Nevada*
  • Pick 23: Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson**
  • Pick 45: Paulao Prestes, C, Brazil

*traded to Portland along with Ryan Gomes in exchange for Martell Webster

**traded to Washington along with Pick 56, Hamadi N’diaye in exchange for Pick 30, Lazar Hayward and Pick 35 Namanja Bjelcia

The dream of Evan Turner proved to be just that, the specter of an unhinged DeMarcus Cousins was apparently unbearable, Al Jefferson’s trade value depreciates with every rumor and we are now the proud owners of a 22 year old lottery pick with a skill set that duplicates our most coveted-and attainable-free agent.

Plainly put, this is just……Bad.

I’ll be back later with some thoughts from my compatriots who may be a bit more optimistic than I am.

Nice Dreams

Benjamin Polk —  June 24, 2010 — 6 Comments

Photo by Unhindered by Talent

It’s on, homies. The Timberwolves our right now facing the biggest night of the post-KG era. Lets not fool ourselves with predictions or pipe dreams. The truth is, nobody knows what’s going to happen. All we can do is allow the questions to loll about in our heads, to face that essentially Timberwolvian sensation of overwhelming dread mixed with faint hope.

The immediate questions: is New Jersey serious about Wesley Johnson, or is David Kahn just getting royally played? Is Al Jefferson seeing his final sunrise as a T-Wolf? and if so, will the Wolves parlay the moody Mississippian into another top-1o pick, or a coveted young veteran like Rudy Gay or Danny Granger (or, more troubling, just another salary dump)?

And the long-term questions: did Demarcus Cousins, by multiple measures the most productive player in college basketball last year, do so badly on his psychological evaluations that four teams, the Wolves included, are willing to pass him by? Just how good will this dude be? And what will Derrick Favors be like when he’s not an 18-year-old boy? And is any of this enough to entice Ricky Rubio?

And finally, the basic, awful question at the heart of it all: will the Wolves ever be done rebuilding?

Myles will be with you tonight. Tomorrow we’ll all try to pick up the pieces. Hold on to your faces.