When I'm right, I'm right. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong.
In keeping with this notion, I appear to have been wrong with respect to my analysis of the Minnesota's Timberwolves 2009 Draft. I’ll be the first to admit it.
I gave the T-Wolves a B-. After last night this seemed more than fair.
What the f#&! is David Kahn, Minnesota's new President of Basketball Operations, doing? I said.
I thought: Okay, there's a reason why former players usually head the front office. Not lawyers turned sports writers. But at this hour, not even a full day since I so vehemently denounced his decision making, I stand corrected.
The former star guard of the local Jewish community center knew exactly what he was doing by selecting two point guards with his team's back-to-back lottery picks, numbers five and six, respectively.
First, Kahn nabbed 6-5 Spanish-sensation Ricky Rubio with the number five pick. Rubio is an absolute wizard with the ball in the mold of the late-great "Pistol" Pete Maravich. He’s been playing professional basketball since age 14, with an occult following throughout Europe that has grown exponentially since.
You might remember him as the skinny, floppy-haired kid running the half-court for the Spanish national team in last summer's Beijing Olympics. Rubio, only 17 at the time, not only held his own against team USA but earned serious props from the likes of Jason Kidd and Deron Williams. Not bad, at all.
Second, Kahn decided to go with Syracuse sophomore Johnny Flynn. In keeping with exponential growth, perhaps no player in college basketball improved more than Flynn between his freshman and sophomore years.
Flynn is not quite 6-0 yet tips the scales at nearly 200 lbs. Kid's built like an NFL defensive back, with the footwork, lateral quickness, and hops of one too. Did I mention he has a 40-inch vertical?
Flynn is a total ball hawk defensively (when he wants to be, that is) with a motor that rivals Tyler Hansbrough's.
He came on to the national scene during last year’s big east tournament with a 34-point, 11-assist, six-rebound performance against UCONN in their six-overtime thriller at The Garden in which he played a staggering 67 minutes. That's right, kid can literally go all-day.
On the surface, these back-to-back picks appeared questionable, at best. Most of the analysts, myself included, had reactions that ranged from simple boggle to absolute disgust. Did anyone catch the reaction by Timberwolves forward Kevin Love on Twitter? Classic. At this point people were literally calling for David Kahn's head.
I bet this didn’t phase him one bit. I can picture him now: Reclined in the T-Wolves war room, watching ESPN, just smiling away. He knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.
Obviously Rubio and Flynn, both pure point guards, would never be able to play with one another. Kahn's no dummy, he knew this. Check out dude's resume on Wikipedia, not bad.
I mean, why not take Rubio at five? I understand the kid's only 18 and has a long way to go before he's NBA ready. Especially with respect to his physique and hideous two-handed jump shot. Sorry, Ricky, but it's gross.
Nevertheless, who knows, one day this kid really could be the next Pistol Pete. Shoot, after all the hype surrounding him, he had better be. I'm not trying to take my all-time favorite player's name in vain.
However, the buyout situation with Rubio's Spanish club team is tricky. Sticky-icky tricky, and damn expensive. To the tune of over $3 million. So it was a real possibility, despite whatever the kid said on ESPN, that Rubio would not be coming over to the US to play for at least another year. Kahn knew this, too.
Kahn also knew that he still, desperately, needed a point guard. So why not go with Flynn next? Granted, he doesn't possess nearly the upside Rubio does. But he doesn't present nearly the same risk, either.
Kahn is a really smart guy. He earned his law degree from NYU, after all. He didn't get to the position he is in today by being stupid. Moreover, I feel like he knew things nobody else did.
I feel like he already knew, or at least had an inkling that Rubio might not decide to play in the NBA next year. So he took Flynn, perhaps the best pure point guard in the draft, arguably, even better than Rubio.
If Rubio decides to stay in Spain, Kahn still has Flynn. If Rubio decides to play in the League next year, Kahn still has Flynn. Whomever he and the T-Wolves ultimately decide to go with, they can always trade the other as both bring a tremendous amount of value to the table. I don't think Kahn, or anyone else in Minnesota's front office for that matter, ever planned to keep both.
What an ingenious move! Whichever point guard they go with, they win. I think both players will wind up tremendous lead guards in this league. So this really is a win-win for the T-Wolves. Ultimately, this has proven to be nothing short of a crapshoot for Minnesota: Do they want a Ferrari or a Lamborghini? Does it really matter?
Furthermore, they filled a gap at the two-guard by selecting UNC's Wayne Ellington. One of the best value picks in the draft and a real steal late in the first round. They will probably end up trading one of the two aforementioned point guards in order to fill more gaps and gain some much needed depth in the front court.
My money is on Rubio. This kid clearly does not want to be in Minnesota. After all, it's not a "big enough market." He has basically been whining ever since Minnesota picked him.
He's definitely reminded everyone of the fact that he's still only 18. Kid's a baby. And frankly, he's acting like one right now. After only twenty-four hours I think he has already worn out his welcome in Minnesota. Nice way to begin your NBA career, Ricky.
Flynn, on the other hand, just wants to play. He doesn’t care where. He displayed this same attitude at Syracuse, an attitude that will allow him to excel in what I hope to be a long and successful NBA career.
I bet Minnesota trades Rubio to New York. The one place he could go where he probably won't pout and moan. In return, Minnesota will probably get some very solid, proven NBA players.
As opposed to Rubio, these would be players that could come in right away and help. Everyone knows the Knicks are shooting for LeBron in 2010. I think Rubio, despite his poor attitude, would definitely help their cause. Moreover, Kahn is a former Donny Walsh protégé. I bet they’re in cahoots already.
Flynn, Ellington, Love, Corey Brewer, Al Jefferson, and whomever they may get from New York would make for a young, athletic, imposing, and very exciting T-Wolves squad next year.
That David Kahn, he's a cheeky fellow. He knows what’s good. He knew exactly what he was doing the entire time. If he keeps it up, he, and his Minnesota Timberwolves will be laughing all the way through the Western Conference for the next few years to come.
I'll say it again: I stand corrected. David Kahn, my bad. You were right. That's the last time I question this guy's motives.
Last night I gave you a B- in my draft analysis. Now, I might just have to bump you up an entire letter grade. Less than twenty-four hours later you have somehow managed to 180 me from a complete skeptic in to an absolute believer.
A true con man. Or should I say Kahn man?
Touché, Mr. Kahn, touché.