Don Nelson has been in town all week prepping for his interview with the Wolves on Sunday.
OK, so maybe he arrived here from Hawaii early this week to spend some time with his daughter, a schoolteacher, and his grandkids in Minnetonka.
Point is, he’s here in town and next on a list that started with Terry Porter on Monday, Mike Woodson on Tuesday and continues with Bernie Bickerstaff today and Rick Adelman on Saturday.
There might be one or two others after that.
1. David Kahn actually knows what he’s doing, as the GM for Minnesota;
2. The REAL goal for this franchise is to make gradual and consistent progress building towards an upper echelon team in the Western Conference over an extended period of years.
If Rick Adelman has legitimate interest in the T-wolves job, then, he is by far the best fit for this team, since their present roster is chalk full of talented young players in need of constructive direction by a highly successful, veteran, head coach with a track record of being able to communicate effectively with them.
According to recently published reports, the Toronto Raptors are either:
A. Actively in the running to acquire Derrick Williams [SF-PF], via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves [who currently hold the rights to the No. 2 [overall] Selection in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery], in exchange for DeMar DeRozan [OG-SF];
Which of these different reports is, in fact, accurate is of little consequence to yours truly.
What is pertinent, however, is whether or not an authentic “top notch” GM in the NBA would actually make this deal, on behalf of the Toronto Raptors, if the Timberwolves’ GM [i.e. David Kahn] is, in fact, willing to go for it.
Derrick Williams is 20 years of age, 6-7, 248 and plays the game like this:
DeMar DeRozan is 22 years of age [as of August], 6-7, 220 and plays the game like this:
According to this corner:
1. Jerry West, RC Buford, Pat Riley, Danny Ainge, Joe Dumars, and Mitch Kupchak are in the small group of ‘top notch’ GMs in the NBA today;
2. Demar DeRozan is similar to Vince Carter [OG-SF, 6-6, 220], while Derrick Williams is similar to Paul Pierce [SF, 6-7, 235]; and,
3. The correct answer to this poll question is an unequivocal,
Kahn: Rubio not ready to jump to NBA “This morning I met with Ricky and his parents and told them that I understood Ricky’s decision,” Kahn said in a statement issued by the Wolves. “It was clear to me yesterday and in this morning’s meeting that the pressure surrounding Ricky and his family to remain in Spain for at least two more years had only intensified as the summer wore on and was weighing heavily on them.
“The NBA is the best basketball league in the world, by far. As an 18-year-old man, Ricky would have been challenged on a nightly basis to a degree he has never experienced. In order for Ricky to meet this challenge fully, I believe it is important that his family and other people important to him were comfortable with the move to the NBA and fully supportive.
“I also agreed with Ricky’s position that two more years of competition in Spain and the Euroleague will only aid his development and that he will be much more ready for the NBA when he joins us” at age 20.
is the best possible outcome for the T-wolves, in a sticky situation.
At-present, Minnesota is entrenched at the bottom of the NBA.
Ricky Rubio … given his age , the state of his physique [skinny], and his present skill-set [can't really shoot it consistently] … simply isn’t ready to make a significant contribution to an NBA team, over the course of an 82 game season.
- Just hired an entirely new coaching staff
- Has its star Big Man in the process of recovery from ACL surgery
- Has its best SF in the process of recovery from ACL surgery
- Has a current roster which looks like this … and,
- As of right now, has a fairly high probability of landing the No. 1 [overall] Selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, and at least one other high 1st Round Draftee from the 2011 NBA Lottery, given their prospects for success in the Western Conference these next 2 seasons.
If Rubio arrives in the NBA, from Europe, in time for the 2011-2012 season, the T-wolves franchise will be in a much better position to take full advantage of his unique package of skills, at the PG spot, when:
Kevin Love [PG] will be 22 years of age,
Jonny Flynn [PG] will be 22 years of age,
Wayne Ellington [OG] will be 23 years of age,
Corey Brewer [SF] will be 25 years of age,
Aleksiy Pecherov [C] will be 25 years of age,
Ryan Hollins [C] will be 26 years of age,
Al Jeferson [PF] will be 26 years of age,
Ryan Gomes [SF] will be 29 years of age, and,
Kurt Rambis [and Co.] will be in his 3rd season as their head coach.
If David Kahn is truly serious about building a championship basketball operation in Minnesota that’s the type of roster – with an eye towards the future - which can get the job done in the long run … provided the plan includes adding a high calibre 1st Round draft pick next summer, a 2nd high calibre 1st Round draft pick the summer after that, and a dominant, pass-first PG, with good size, and skill, and charisma, like Rubio, for the 2011-2012 season.
After rolling “craps” for quite some time, the T-Wolves may have finally been able to “make their point”.
When it comes to assessing accurately the skills and abilities and career of one Kenny Smith …
The Jet was 100%, on the money … in his observation that, had he [1987/No. 6, overall, Draft Pick] been in the same backcourt as, both, Ricky Rubio [18 years of age] and Jonny Flynn [20 years of age], at the beginning stage of all three of their NBA careers, he would, in fact, have been the best Point Guard on that team’s roster.
Only those who do not know the game nearly as well as they think do would the mistake of under-estimating just how good Kenny Smith actually was as a 1st rate Point Guard, in the NBA, with solid credentials.
Prior to last night’s proceedings, these 15 individuals were identified by this corner as players who could have given the Toronto Raptors what they need, at this moment in time, heading towards a long term future [A] with or [B] without Chris Bosh:
Al-Farouq Aminu [6-9, 215, SF/PF, Wake Forest, now unavailable]
Tyreke Evans [6-6, 219, PG/OG, Memphis]
DeMar DeRozan [6-7, 220, OG/SF, USC]
Earl Clark [6-10, 226, PF, Louisville]
Derrick Brown [6-8, 225, SF, Xavier]
Terrence Williams [6-6, 213, OG, Louisville]
Wayne Ellington [6-5, 202, OG, UNC]
Danny Green [6-6, 208, OG/SF, UNC]
Sam Young [6-6, 223, SF, Pittsburgh]
Marcus Thorton [6-4, 194, OG, LSU]
Tyler Hansbrough [6-9, 234, PF, UNC]
Taj Gibson [6-10, 214, PF, USC]
Dante Cunningham [6-8, 227, PF/SF, Villanova]
Tyler Smith [6-6, 212, OG, Tennessee, now unavailable]
Nando De Colo [6-5, 190, OG, France]
This is what happened last night with each of those 15 players::
- Al-Farouq Aminu. Withdrew from consideration; back to Wake Forest.
- Tyler Smith. Withdrew from consideration; back to Tennessee.
- Tyreke Evans. SACRAMENTO/No. 4, selected by Geoff Petrie.
- DeMar DeRozan. Player the Raptors/No. 9 wanted all along.
- Earl Clark. PHOENIX/No. 14, selected by Steve Kerr.
- Derrick Brown. CHARLOTTE/No. 40, selected by M-Jordan/L-Brown.
- Terrence Williams. NEW JERSEY/No. 11., selected by R-Thorn/K-Vandeweghe.
- Wayne Ellington. MINNESOTA/No. 28, selected by David Kahn
- Sam Young. MEMPHIS/No. 36, selected by Chris Wallace.
- Danny Green. CLEVELAND/No. 46, selected by Danny Ferry.
- Marcus Thorton. MIAMI/No. 43, selected by Pat Riley [traded to New Orleans-Jeff Bower/Byron Scott].
- Tyler Hansbrough. INDIANA/No. 13, selected by Larry Bird.
- Taj Gibson. CHICAGO/No. 26, selected by J-Paxson/G-Forman.
- Dante Cunningham. PORTLAND/No. 33, selected by Kevin Pritchard.
- Nando De Colo. SAN ANTONIO/N. 53, selected by RC Buford/G-Popovich.
1. Over the next few seasons, it is going to be most interesting to watch the development of these 15 players.
2. The Charlotte Bobcats [37-45] are gradually building a very solid team:
* Adding Gerald Henderson [OG] and Derrick Brown [SF] last night
* Trading for Boris Diaw [PF-SF], Raja Bell [OG], Vladimir Radmanovic [SF-PF] and DeSagana Diop [C} last season
* Drafting DJ Augustin [PG] & Alex Ajinca [C} last year
* Re-signing Gerald Wallace [SF-PF] last year
* Re-signing Emeka Okafor [C-PF] 2 years ago
3. There’s a very good reason the same names keep popping up when the Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded, in June, to the NBA Champions.
There was McHale the gifted teacher, beloved by players and staff for his relentlessly positive demeanor and an unending eagerness to share his wealth of basketball knowledge. Then there was McHale the mistake-prone executive, vilified by fans for a series of blunders and the failure to make his team into a consistent championship contender.
New president of basketball operations David Kahn dumped McHale as coach on Wednesday, praising him as a “great man” who deserves respect. But offered no specific reasons during a press conference for his decision, saying instead that “this is going to be a transition period. And with the changes that have occurred, and with the changes that are still going to come, it would have been difficult to put him in the middle of that again.”
McHale, a northern Minnesota native and Hall of Fame player who won three NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in the 1980s, met several times with Kahn before the decision was reached.
“I was willing to come back, but they never offered me a contract,” McHale told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “They told me last night they were going in a different direction. I said, ‘I think you’re making a mistake, but that’s up to you guys.”’
Players lamented the loss of the teacher.
Wrap-up of McHale After a day to think about it, my thoughts on the matter are kind of mixed. On one hand, I think McHale has the goods to be an outstanding NBA coach. He is, as Kahn mentioned several times during the press conference, a fantastic communicator and he seemingly has a wonderful way with NBA ego management. We also know that he’s a let’s-take-care-of-it-in-practice kind of coach and I think that is the best way to handle things in a players’ league. Say what you will about the importance of January or whether or not the team he put together has any promise, but McHale got solid improvement out of Al Jefferson, Randy Foye, and Kevin Love during the time at the end of the bench. There was promise there and it was a bird in the hand, not the bush. On the other hand, I had the feeling that McHale simply didn’t have the makeup to properly adjust to the new responsibilities that being a coach, not a GM-type, entailed. He just seems like a stubborn ass in this department and I completely agree with Kahn’s assessment that it would have been an uncomfortable fit for everyone involved to have McHale coach a team that, by all of Kahn’s statements, will look very different from the vision the Iron Ranger had in mind.
If your organization is run by individuals who know what they’re doing … what you do NOT do is what was done yesterday to a person like Kevin McHale.
There are any number of different ways that GLEN TAYLOR & DAVID KAHN could have [and SHOULD have] handled this situation … with class.
What they chose to do, instead, was act in a way that can best be described as Lacking Basketball Acumen.
This viewpoint has nothing to do with Kevin McHale’s track record as the embattled former General Manager of the Timberwolves … a team that he once led to 8 consecutive playoff appearances and, in 2004, to the Western Conference Finals … it has to do with who Kevin McHale is, as one of the NBA’s Top 50 Players of All-Time AND one of the few solid head coaches in the Association today who was responsible for turning around their team’s on-court performance in the middle of last season before Al Jefferson went down with a serious knee injury.
When your organization has one of the Top 50 All-Time Best Players in the History of the NBA, as arguably the No. 1 Power Forward on the list, working on its behalf every day … you DO NOT hang that gentleman out-to-dry by refusing to offer him a contract to return as the coach of your team, with a group of key players headed up by Al Jefferson [PF-C] and Kevin Love [C-PF].
You might WANT to do that. You might FEEL like doing exactly that. You might even have a NEED to do just that, on a personal level … BUT, THAT, IS NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO, if you are someone who knows what you’re doing at the head of a 1st-class organization in the NBA, and are trying to WIN.
The fact is … THIS IS A PLAYERS’ LEAGUE.
If you want to have major success in the NBA … i.e. by hoisting this trophy one day in the future during a parade down main street in your particular shanty-town … you need to [MUST?] conduct your business with this Prime Directive in mind at all times.
This is a PLAYERS’ LEAGUE.
What you do MUST BE in the best interests of the PLAYERS on your team.
It is not an owner’s league.
It is definitely not a 1st time General Manager’s league.
It is not a David Stern’s in-house-boy league, by any stretch of the imagination … at least, if your ever want to win the League Championship.
Shame on GLEN TAYLOR & DAVID KAHN for NOT having the intestinal fortitude to return Kevin McHale to the sidelines next season, as their team’s head coach, devoted to teaching the game properly, and instead continuing the lunacy that has been responsible for putting the T-wolves franchise in the place it finds itself today, in the nether region of the NBA … sleeping with the fishes.
Mr. Taylor … as the owner of this team, YOU will get precisely what YOU deserve.
PS. Zero sympathy goes out to T-wolves fans who cannot distinguish properly between having a solid head coach on their sidelines, responsible for directing the future development of their team’s best players, and a former GM who was rightfully scrutinized for the relatively poor job he’s done in recent years. Holding grudges like that and making largely inaccurate assessments of a person’s basic character gets you nowhere fast in this life.