Pre-Lottery Franchise Analysis: Minnesota Timberwolves' Last Chance
My apologies to the Bleacher Report community and staff for being out of commission for so long. Given the freedom that I have been granted with, I will now continue to write with a 100 percent non-biased opinion on the team I love, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before I break into the meat of my analysis, allow me to give some insight as to why I took my break from writing on BR, and why this franchise is doomed if next season does not go as it should.
I came around the time in which David Kahn was hired. During his press conference, I was impressed as anyone would be with his approach and desire to change the franchise. He talked with a ton of prestige and confidence, said the right things, and although it was clear that there were some questions that he could not answer with substantial certainty, Glen Taylor's hire looked like it couldn't, at the very least, be worse than Kevin McHale.
I found myself becoming more fascinated with basketball, and so of course, being from Minnesota, I started following the Minnesota Timberwolves. While looking for some good opinions on a season prediction regarding my Wolves, I hardly could find one that I could agree with. The reason being was that all of the ones I found sounded like the Wolves were about to be in a train wreck. Because of that, I went on writing about them myself, finding optimism and light in the darkest of holes.
Fast forward two years, and the Wolves have won 15 and 17 games respectively. Canishoopus.com, one of the best Minnesota Timberwolves blogs, has been dead. The usual 300-plus comments for an article aren't the norm anymore. Casual fans are non-existent, die-hard fans don't watch games anymore, and people like me, that live in Georgia or in other states besides Minnesota, don't buy an NBA League Pass to see their team lose.
Will Wolves Win The Lottery
Quite frankly, who could really write about this franchise anymore? It's easy to write about a losing team that you have no emotional attachment too, let alone having an emotional attachment to a whole state. Losing, incompetence, no hope, the constant bashing and embarrassment led to me not writing anymore. Jerry Zgoda has taken a break, five on five with Jonah Ballow isn't interesting anymore, the Fanchatter on Timberwolves.com just bashes the Wolves the hardest.
Who is to blame for all of this?
Is it the incompetency of Glen Taylor? The owner that refuses to put some real money into a real GM? Is it really David Kahn's fault? Well, he's made some decent trades, he's hired Tony Ronzone, he's even put the Wolves in a position to have cap room. Well he hasn't done anything with that cap room, he has done a horrible job with drafting and he has made countless verbal mistakes with his schmuck attitude towards a ton of the media, that is, quite frankly, well deserved.
Is it Kurt Rambis? A coach that turned a potential rookie of the year candidate in Jonny Flynn into a D-League bencher? A coach that implemented an offense that only seasoned veterans with great continuity could get the hang of? A coach that takes Andrew Bynum's side when one of his own Timberwolves players (Michael Beasley) gets fouled and knocked to the ground? A coach that has been an assistant to Phil Jackson but cannot write a play to save his life?
Regardless of what you want to say, this three headed monster has been nothing shy of an end of a franchise. The only reason that this franchise even exists is Kevin Love. In short, Kevin Love is a man child, he gets it, he understands basketball. The best rebounder the league has seen in some time, one of the most efficient players in the NBA, one of the most uniquely talented specialists the NBA has EVER seen, just truly brilliant.
In essence, the whole front office needs to be revamped. The only reason that Glen Taylor shouldn't resign is that he's the only one incompetent enough to swallow the money that he's losing from his dumb mistakes instead of rectifying it sooner rather than later. I'm not a financial expert (although I am an accounting student), but firing David Kahn and throwing money to Kevin Pritchard would be a fantastic start.
Firing Rambis and letting Pritchard work his magic with a coaching hire, along with Tony Ronzone leading a scouting team would definitely be a huge check to write, but it could potentially put butts in the seats at the Target Center, which the Wolves can't do right now.
Instead, what we have here is a game of six against four. The only way I see this franchise getting out of this bind is if they win 35-plus games next season, and it starts with this draft. Far too long, the Minnesota Timberwolves GMs have tried to get cute and fancy (Kevin Garnett is the only time this worked), and it's sad because all Kahn has to do is try not to be smarter than everyone else, and make the simple move.
His "smarter than everyone else" move has only produced 32 wins the last 2twoseasons. To his credit, he has traded for Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, two legit prospects with potential of helping turn the Timberwolves around.
The lottery is today, Ricky Rubio is rumored to be coming although I'm not entirely convinced. The Wolves have the best chance of winning the lottery. The No. 1 pick, whom I'm sure that almost any team would take, Kyrie Irving, is a point guard. Assuming a team had a player like Ricky Rubio (a point guard), and won the No. 1 pick, this would presumably be a great situation to have.
In the Minnesota Timberwolves' case, I am not so sure. I have read numerous comments around the web and the funniest one I read was a situation in which the Wolves win the lottery, and David Kahn makes it known that they are taking Rubio by walking up to the camera, with his thumb and pinky finger out in a telephone motion saying "call me." Hilarious.
The sad thing is, something like that is probably not far off on David Kahn's level. Something in me says that if the Wolves do win the lottery, that they will take Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio will be on his way to a trade to upgrade the center or the shooting guard position. The reason why, is that they have to build around Beasley and Kevin Love.
The fact is, the pick and roll will work wonders with Irving and Love, and that's a duo that could become nasty. The other sad thing is, the Wolves just never seem to win anything. I pray I'm wrong, but the Wolves just won't win the lottery, and that, assuming that Kyrie Irving is off the board at No. 2 or No. 3, is the only reason that Ricky Rubio should even be able to hop on a flight to Minnesota.
And the maddening thing is, that even if the Wolves won the lottery, they would trade the pick off for another young and athletic forward that the Wolves don't need. True, I shouldn't assume the worst, but the worst is now, and their track record suggests it.
In summary, this is just the pre-lottery analysis.
Thanks for reading.
Timber Wolf is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @ Timb3r_Wolf.
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