TWolves Blog writer Dave Kelsey was kind enough to answer some of my questions in preparation for tonight's GAME OF THE DECADE going down between Portland and Minnesota at the Target Center. I encourage you to also read the reversed version of this Q&A in which I talk crap about you all . I highly recommend adding TWolves Blog to your rotation; it is guaranteed to make you feel better about the Blazers. On to the (your company sponsorship here) uncomfortably warm chair:
BaB: Not to bring up old stuff, but do Minnesota fans still talk about the Brandon Roy trade?
DK: I don't think the casual fan cares too much anymore, but us hardcore lifers in the TWolves Blog forums will never forget. Scarred. For. Life.
BaB: I have to know whats up with Ryan Gomes starting over Kevin Love. Is Love just better in a sixth man role than as a starter?
DK: It's not actually that Gomes is starting over Love, per se. It's that Love and Al Jefferson are TERRIBLE together. They both play sub-standard defense (Jefferson!!!), and are just too small. Look how huge Darko looks compared to anyone else on our team. That's the problem. We need a true center, and neither Love or Jefferson is that guy. Personally, I think we will trade Jefferson sooner rather than later, which will open the door to Love starting alongside a center next season (Aldrich? Whiteside?) However, Love is pretty great in the sixth man role, where he can come in and beat up on the opponents reserves. I can't really complain about that role for him too much.
BaB: Is Al Jefferson in the long term plans? If they were to trade him, what would they be looking to get back? Please don't say more point guards.
DK: I would say no, he is definitely not in the future long-term plans. He gets paid like a top player, but he's just not that guy, especially defensively. Also, you just don't know how his future will turn out due to the ACL injury. WIth that said, his value is incredibly low right now. I don't believe Granger was offered for Al straight up at all. If it was, we should have jumped on that trade in a heartbeat. I do believe the offer from the Bulls of Deng and Ty Thomas at the trade deadline. I don't like Thomas, and Deng's contract is terrible. So his value is low. If we could have gotten Deng and Noah (WHY DIDN'T WE DRAFT HIM?!?!), that would have been a nice trade. Noah + Love would have been superb. I think the best thing to do value-wise would be to trade Al at the next trade deadline, assuming he puts up better numbers next season due to being healthier.
BaB: What are your thoughts on Jonny Flynn? Are you comfortable with him over the long haul?
DK: Do not like. It's obvious he's not a point guard, as I've been saying all season in our TWolvesBlog forums. He's a shooting guard that is too short, trapped in a quick, yet still too short, point guard's body. I guess there might be some potential due to his athleticism, but still, he doesn't make good decisions. He doesn't facilitate the offense whatsoever, and he's pretty useless when he's not scoring points. Thank goodness we have Rubio waiting in the wings. If we can draft John Wall, we do that in a second. Trade Flynn + other assets to also nab Even Turner. Wall + Rubio + Evan Turner = billions of championships.
BaB: It seemed like OJ Mayo for Kevin Love was a controversial trade at the time. Are people warming up to Love or is there still a sense that Mayo would have been a better choice?
DK: Yeah, we like and embrace Love. I was the biggest hater of anyone, ever, when the trade was made. Seriously. He's been great and has performed better than we could have ever imagined. Hell, he's probably our best overall player. Sad, but true. So yeah, I think most people like him, and the casual fan(s) Love him. (Love him, get it?) Anyways, Mayo is also a stud. Mayo + a healthy Al Jefferson would probably be a better combination for our long-term future, just because you need that inside-out combination in the NBA. Especially someone like Mayo that can get to the FT line and hit the 3. Still, not much we can do about it now. I think the trade worked out OK though, since Love turned out to be a player and we dumped a lot of salary in the process.
BaB: Are you paying attention to Ricky Rubio? In your mind, what are the chances of him playing for Minnesota eventually?
DK: Of course we are paying attention to Rubio. We want/need/admire him. I think the chances of him playing for us are probably 50-50, unless Kahn moves him for a solid deal. As of right now, with his potential and amazing skills as such a young player, the only way I trade him if I'm the GM is if it allows us to land both John Wall AND Evan Turner. Anything else, and I keep him until he is ready to play in the NBA. Of course, though, I'd trade him for LeBron/Durant/Howard etc, but obviously that type of trade would never, ever happen. But we can dream. That is all TWolves fans do...dream.
BaB: I imagine getting the top pick in the draft would be exciting, but outside of John Wall what player in the draft would you most like to see in Minnesota?
DK: Evan Turner, no doubt. He's exactly the type of wing player our team needs. I think he'd fit in perfectly to our "system" as a Scottie Pippin-esque player. He can really do it all, and is a nightly triple double threat at Ohio State. To be honest, I want both him AND John Wall. We have the assets to make it happen, but we just need to get lucky in the lottery (FOR ONCE.) So, that definitely won't happen. We are cursed. I can't wait until we are picking fifth. Insert epic facepalm here.
BaB: I'm heading to the game, is there any place I can find a Nathan Jawai jersey?
DK: I wouldn't get your hopes up if I were you. With that said, I'd love a Jawai jersey. Great choice. You may have to contact his mother, or commission one of the counterfeiters on Ebay from Singapore to make one for you.
BaB: I went to a game earlier this season and was told to "look out" for Ryan Hollins. Should I?
DK: I would be more concerned with Big Nate Jawai. He might try to eat you.
Photo: The Future AKA Nathan Jawai