Don’t look at me, I have no clue where to even start here. I figure this is like going to a resteraunt with an absurdly big menu: Too many choices, ultimately leading to utter confusion and indecision. Throw in the fact that I’m a Libra and I might as well not even bother with this.
On the other hand, who would deny themselves such pleasure?
So yeah, I’ll take a crack at it, but if it ends up insufferably long, don’t say you weren’t warned.
THE GOOD NEWS
THEY FINALLY FORCED RICKY RUBIO TO SHOW UP
He waited as long as he could to avoid coming to this godforsaken team, like literally until the last minute before he the deadline to sign his contract under the old collective bargaining agreement. All technicalities aside, he’s finally in the fold, and even if some of the bloom is off his rose (so to speak) after a couple of lackluster years in Europe, he still brings a little hope to a team that hasn’t had any since Kevin Garnett left town.
Now, they’ve set Johnny Flynn adrift to eliminate the logjam at point guard, and chances are they’ll give Rubio the keys from day one. Not sure what bearing it will have on the win/loss record, but they’ll be a good bit more exciting to watch at the very least.
KEVIN LOVE WANTS YOU, TO WANT HIM
When you are a bottom barrel team in a one of the worst markets in the NBA, your best shot at getting a superstar is through the draft. I mean, good luck convincing a coveted free agent to play in minneapolis. Even better, if said star is a guy who puts up gaudy numbers and promotes himself breathlessly via social media, the only thing left is to convince said player to actually play defense and you’d have all your bases covered.
Of course, you rarely win them all, but for now David Kahn is perfectly content with Kevin Love and his record-setting double-double streak, twitter pre-eminence and eagnerness to be adored by the public. Of course, Love doesn’t appear as affectionate about his employers, so this might before over sooner than later.
LOOKING FOR RE-TREAD COACHES ONLY: THE UP-AND-COMING NEED NOT APPLY
It’s become quite the running joke ’round these parts. With a list that includes Don Nelson and Terry Porter and Mike Woodson, it appears the Wolves are enamored of re-treads. Personally, I look forward to rumors of Bill Fitch, Kevin Loughery, Don Chaney and Dan Issel getting interviews in the weeks to come.
Jokes aside, at least they are taking as much time to find a new coach as they took to fire Kurt Rambis. Khan never did strike me as the quick on his feet type.
THE BAD NEWS
CONSTRUCTING A TEAM IS HARDER THAN IT LOOKS ON NBA 2K11
And the Wolves are exhibit A. If this team looks like a collection of bodies, drafted, traded for and signed without regard to chemistry and balance, it’s because that’s what they are: Basketball’s version of the Galapagos Island or some shit. Sure, you could argue they have some decent players, but what 5 man unit can this team utilize that would scare anybody? Yeah, they might have some tradeable assets, but how much faith do you have in David Kahn to pull the off the right move?
Logic would dictate that a team that stays lousy for this long would accumulate enough high draft picks to get good again, even if it’s by accident. Well, except when you waste them on bums like Corey Brewer, Randy Foye and Johnny Flynn, or trade stars players like Al Jefferson for 30 cents on the dollar. Easy to suck when you play it that way.
THEIR PROVERBIAL EGGS ARE IN THE WRONG BASKET
This kind of stuff happens all the time. Personally, I was a big Kevin Love fan leading up to the 2008 draft, having seen almost every game he played in a UCLA uniform. Helluva rebounder. Nicest ooutlet pass I’ve seen in years. real range on his J. “Sure he’s a little loose around the midriff, but he’s a player“, I said to those less convinced.
Funny now that everyone seems to have come around on him, I’m less convinced. Statistics have a way of blinding alot of people to reality of things, moreso in 2011 than ever. What I see now is a guy putting up empty stats on a dismal team. Does that mean I think he’s a shitty player? Of course not. Does it mean I think he’s swung all the way to highly overrated?
Aside from the inherent “good player on a bad team” stuff, I just see a guy who is more concerned with what he did than what the team did, and all you really need to do to be convinced of that is to watch him play defense. I might be willing to grant him a “shitty team” exemption for now, but sooner or later we’ll see if he’s an empty-stat faux superstar or not. Personally, I peg him as a solid starter on a good team, but hardly a star. That said, where exactly is this team ever gonna go with Kevin Love as their franchise?
Seriously, I don’t have nearly enough time to run ’em all down. Do yourself a favor and just look at the hard numbers and draw your own conclusion, or just use your imagination or whatever
IF I RULED THE WORLD (IMAGINE THAT)
Of all the teams to play armchair GM with, this has gotta be the toughest, like wrestling a bear blindfolded or something. Fuck it though, I’ll still give it my best.
OK I think I got it.
First thing I’d do is pray like hell that Derrick Williams can be a star player in the NBA, especially at the 4. Assuming he can, I’d be looking to take advantage of what is definitely a seller’s market for Love, and do my best to turn him into a legit big man, ideally someone with inside presence. Failing that, a dynamic wing scorer who thrives in the up-tempo game.
The idea with this roster should be to get out and attack. Even if they won’t exactly lock people down, Rubio, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph can play at this pace. Shit, even Darko can get up and down the floor. If you could add a significant piece in a Love deal, especially considering the fact that he’s almost certainly not re-signing here, this could be high-scoring team sooner than you think. Thing is, there is depth here in the servicable player sense. Luke Ridnour, Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington and Anthony Tolliver are all solid reserves.
Beyond that, you’re going to have a few tough decisions to make. One, can Beasley play and contribute to a winning team. I’m thinking the odds aren’t good. Two, what do you do with a mercurial talent like Randolph? Me, I think he still has a world of potential, and I’d want to hire a Big Man tutor and an assistant coach who can play the mentor role. Guys with his ability are few and far between. I’d want to exhause every last resource I have to see if it can be brought to life.
If even half of this stuff went right you’d have a decent, still young team that plays a pleasing style, which is worlds ahead of where they are now.
And anyway, you can do worse than Kahn has, right?
(part two of our “good news/bad news” series, where we assess the present state of all 30 NBA franchises. Decided I needed a good laugh, so I chose to do the Wolves, easy targets that they are)