Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor did a long interview with Ray Richardson that appeared in the Pioneer Press on Sunday. There’s a lot there, and it’s worth reading in full: Taylor talks about the status of Rick Adelman and David Kahn for next season, as well as how the Brandon Roy debacle has played out.
Yet much of the interview is cryptic, leaving one to read between the lines for meaningful subtext. My takes are below the fold.
David Kahn: Back in the saddle for at least one more season
Ric Bucher reports the Wolves are set to extend David Kahn as POBO for at least one more season. And no, Flip Saunders didn’t turn down the Gophers coaching gig because he’s already secretly agreed to replace Kahn at 600 1st Ave:
Latest on Flip Saunders and Minnesota Timberwolves: source says David Kahn’s position as GM is secure and that the one-year option on his contract, if it has not been exercised already by the TWolves, will be shortly.
via Ric Bucher’s post on Basketball | Latest updates on Sulia.
What does this mean? More below the fold.
Andy G: New topic and one that seems to get discussed less and less often: David Kahn. You reminded me the other day about the time he gave Kurt Rambis a homework assignment. (!!!) We’ve come a long way from the days when Kahn wielded such authority over his coach. To everyone’s benefit, Kahn was later able to hire Rick Adelman; an acquisition that naturally shifted the channels of authority over at 600 1st Ave. N. But the degree to which Kahn seems less relevant is significant and poses some questions for the future of the franchise. He still holds the prominent title of P.O.B.O., which should amount to the team’s acting agent in matters such as trade discussion and free agent negotiations. We’ve got a recently drafted #2 pick that should be aggressively shopped and a star center up for restricted free agency. It’s important that the Timberwolves have a clear chain of authority on these matters, both within the ORG and to be transparent to callers from the other 29 teams.
Why is this important? Well, James Harden was dealt to Houston in a swift and covert manner that involved Sam Presti making phone calls that he certainly needed a high degree of trust would be: a) fruitful in terms of possibly ending in a big trade; and b) confidential. I doubt the Wolves had the juice to get The Beard without dishing out Love or Rubio, but we’ll never know because (by all accounts, which includes a Bill Simmons report that Presti first called Golden State and Washington, before Houston) Presti never approached the Wolves. Opportunities could potentially be lost, is what I’m saying.
1) Do you agree that it is important for the Wolves’ authority chain to be clearly defined and transparent to the league?
2) How much — for comedy’s sake — would you enjoy reading about Rick Adelman being assigned homework from Kahn?
Not my favorite backcourt tandem.
1 – Johnson & Gelabale
Nobody quite knew what to expect from the 10 Day Wonders now that Rick Adelman was back with the team. He hadn’t coached them, as each guy joined the team after Adelman’s departure. Tonight, with Nikola Pekovic also returning to the lineup, there was no time for Chris Johnson. Pek was revealing his new bear tattoo (I haven’t seen it yet, I’m just trusting @steventurous on this one) and earned all of his 37 minutes of action. He put up a 17 & 12 line. Greg Stiemsma played the other 11 center minutes. Eventful ones. He took a flagrant-two cheapshot from Matt Barnes, prompting an ejection. A moment later, he knocked over one Clipper (flagrant-one) and was shoved in the back by Caron Butler. Technical foul. Stiemer was mixing it up and played okay. In any case, no Chris Johnson tonight. In some ways, he was missed. The Clips have a ridiculously athletic front court pairing in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and crucial rebounds were lost; often times the “high in the air” variety.
Mickael Gelabale played a solid 16 minutes of action — solid defensively. He shot a forgettable 0 for 2 from the floor, but was noticeably disruptive on defense. He had 3 steals. I suspect his minutes will stay as long as Budinger is out. The Wolves wing defense is suspect and Gelabale is quite obviously a solid defensive player who frustrates the basic things like a post entry pass. He was a +4 in tonight’s game.
Andy G: Wolves host Clips tonight. CP3 isn’t playing. He has a bruised kneecap. The Clippers have lost 3 of their last 4 games played without their MVP. On our side of things, disaster relief is on the way. Nik Pekovic is back. Alexey Shved is back. And most importantly, Coach Rick Adelman is back. The Wolves should be able to trot out some semblance of a starting NBA lineup tonight, perhaps the only eye sore being Luke Ridnour at the starting off-guard, should Adelman choose to move Shved to 6th Man. Personally, I’d just as soon start GELABALE next to a creator like Ricky, but there’s no chance of that happening so I’ll stop right there. In any case, the way I see it the equation goes something like:
Adelman + Pek + Shved – CP3 = Automatic Wolves Win
Tell me why I’m wrong.
This coming June marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the biggest tragedies in NBA history. On June 7, 1993 a Volkswagon was speeding along Germany’s Autobahn when it encountered a truck that had crashed through the guard rails and was blocking traffic. Unable to stop or avoid a crash, the car hit the truck, causing serious injuries to the driver and backseat passenger. The front-seat passenger got the worst of it, flying through the front window. Drazen Petrovic, the six-time European Player of the Year, recently named All-NBA Third Team performer, and undoubtedly greatest basketball player in Croatian history, was dead at age 28.
Five losses in a row and Ricky Rubio cannot return fast enough. Kevin Love’s unexpectedly-quick recovery from hand fractures, and immediate production of NUMB#RS, is not translating into wins. Minnesota is 0-3 since Love’s return. The common theme of the last three losses is building an early lead that evaporates as the missed shots and blown pick-and-roll assignments pile up. Tonight, the Wolves’ apex came in the mid-2nd Quarter when Alexey Shved and the second unit caught fire and extended the lead to 11, at 35-24. There would be no “fire” after that, unless you mean Steph Curry bombing from 27 feet. The Wolves lead dwindled to 4 at the half and it was a struggle to keep heads above water after that. Things fell apart in a catastrophic 4th Quarter that the Warriors won 26-11. Minnesota was stuck on 79 points (beginning the stretch with a 5-point lead) from the 10:19 mark in the 4th all the way to 5:28. After Kevin Love [finally] broke the seal with a bucket, the Wolves again stuck on 81 points until a Pekovic free throw at the 2:40 mark. 3 points in 7:39. There is your game wrap.
The Wolves don’t play Sunday and they don’t play Monday, so it’s worth addressing some broader questions. Continue reading
I think Randy Wittman is a bad NBA basketball coach. I know that Randy Wittman understands basketball better than I do.
Randy Wittman played four years of college basketball at Indiana University. He played there for Bobby Knight, one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports. In Wittman’s sophomore season, the Hoosiers won a national title. In his senior season, Wittman was Big Ten Player of the Year on a team that won the conference. After his highly successful collegiate career, Wittman went on to play ten seasons of NBA basketball. Most of those seasons were with the Atlanta Hawks, coached by winner of more than 1200 games and the 1985-86 NBA Coach of the Year Award, Mike Fratello. Shortly after his playing career ended, Wittman entered the coaching ranks himself. He spent eight seasons as an NBA assistant coach, most of them under Flip Saunders with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early seasons of Kevin Garnett’s career. With that incredible basketball resume’, Witt finally landed his first head coaching job. He was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1999 and spent two seasons on their bench before being fired.
I list these career accomplishments of Wittman not because I want to write his biography, but because when he later coached the Timberwolves I criticized his abilities and decisions countless times even though I am 100 percent sure that he understands basketball much better than I do. Continue reading
HOW BOUT THEM
Alexey Shved! What a comeback! I was at my wits’ end in that 3rd Quarter when the barrage of Brooklyn bombs rained down from three-point land and the Wolves couldn’t get a stop to save their life. This bit of resignation sums it up best:
Let’s take it from the top…
Alexey Shved makes his Target Center debut tonight versus the Chicago Bulls.
Thank God that the short window of nice Minnesota weather is behind us and we can get back to our usual routine of spending 1 or 2 nights per week inside Target Center watching the Wolves, amiright? The fun parts of preseason are seeing the new faces and looking for signs of change, good or bad, that could impact the team’s chances at regular (and post!) season success. Two years ago at the home preseason debut, I was taken by how big and athletic Michael Beasley was, and the ease with which he could rise up for clear looks at the basket. Though Beas has enough weaknesses to offset this strength, it has been one that serves him well in giving his team a scoring punch. This was evident in a single viewing of a game that didn’t actually *matter*. Last year was Ricky’s debut. We did our best to temper enthusiasm, but the passes he was delivering were unlike anything we’d seen. Ricky had eyes on all sides of his head, it seemed. Like with Beasley’s dribble jumpers, Ricky’s passing wizardry carried over into the real games and he’s now one of the league’s most marketable young stars.
What should we keep an eye out for in tonight’s game against Chicago? Continue reading