Is David Kahn a good GM? I think the jury is still out but I wanted to take an opportunity to evaluate him on what he has done and look ahead at some unresolved issues.
Bad - Kahn was considered a crony, re-tread hire with little success. This board was upset that a new up and coming stat guy along the lines of Pritchard and Presi wasn't hired. This is more on Glen Taylor than Kahn, but his reputation coming in was not positive.
Good - Kahn traded Foye and Miller for the 5th overall pick. I thought this was good on two fronts. First, it set a tone by getting rid of two starters that did not live up to their expectations and started the 'strip it down to the studs' process that we saw unfold. Second, the Wolves got Rubio. That was lucky, but even before the draft I thought this was great. I believed Griffen and Rubio were 1/2 - and that Harden, Tyreke, and Curry were real quality at 3/4/5. With Hasheem likely to go in the top 4, I thought the Wolves were in a great position to grab two of the 3/4/5 guys.
Good - According to Kahn, he did everything he could to move up and grab Tyreke Evans. I have to admit - he scared the hell out of me. I'm not sure I would have taken him at 6, but if true - Kahn saw a superstar where many others saw a question mark.
Good - Kahn took Rubio at 5. This was probably an easy decision at the time. Rubio was one of the two players in a 'two man draft'. It's hard to say whether or not the following drama was predicted at the time - but nonetheless, this was the right move.
Awful - Taking Flynn with the 6th pick. It was bad then, it is worse now. Applying hindsight it is clear that Flynn is not as good as 5 PG's taken after him - Curry, Jennings, Lawson, Collison and maybe Holiday. But even at the time this pick was terrible. 1) Curry was right there! How do you pass up on a shooter with good PG size? He and Rubio would have made much more sense as a backcourt on offense and defense. This was an OBVIOUS pick, except 2) Flynn's biggest basketball skill was his interview, and Kahn was seduced. "oh, but he's a leader!" Yeah, but his game is ... ordinary. 3) We know 5 PG's are better now. But even then I had him behind Curry, Lawson and Jennings. My fear - this pick does as much damage as the Ray Allen for Steph Marbury trade. Awful.
Bad - Kahn traded the 18th pick - Ty Lawson - for the protected Charlotte pick. I had Lawson in my top 10. Others did too, and time has shown this judgment to be largely correct. My view at the time is that Kahn traded a top-10 talent for a top 12 protected pick next year - or top-10 protected the year after... I asked myself - 'Why are the Wolves delaying gratification for a pick that may not come, may come later in the draft than 18, and may not provide a top-10 talent?" Now full judgment can't be passed until the Charlotte picked is used or traded - and I'll address that later, but this was a dumb move.
Bad - Kahn selling 2nd round pick Nick Calathes. It seems to me that 2nd round picks are an excellent way to cheaply fill out roster spots 11-15, or stash Euros for further evaluation. Calathes could have been either.
Good - Kahn signing Ramon Sessions. Yes, there are a ton of PG's on this team but Sessions was a good deal and should bring back a useful asset or be a super-sub PG.
Good/Bad -Kahn signing Ryan Hollins. At the time I thought it was a good move, but the guy really stinks and is being paid for 2 more seasons. It was the right idea, but wrong player. I'm very forgiving of this move.
Good - Kahn trading Smith, Telfair, et al. This continued the 'strip it down to the studs' movement which I believe was critical to change the culture and start over. The acquisition of larger expiring contracts such as Blount's were potentially more useful near the trade deadline.
Good - Kahn telling Blount to stay away. Set the tone - we won't tolerate lazy head cases.
Good - Kahn hiring Rambis. I liked the move at the time. Good pedigree, coming from Phil Jackson's school of coaching, ran the defense, seemed like a good pick. Maybe if he'd been hired before the draft, the triangle would have demanded taking Curry.... and as time goes by Rambis is doing some questionable things, but we'll address those later. At the time, this was a good move.
Good - Kahn trading for Darko. Not a major move, but a nice one. The team gets a look at a real center and they can butter up the Euros.
Bad - Kahn made no other deadline moves. This was very frustrating. Surely he could have plucked another lottery pick or SOMEthing.
How will Kahn resolve the Jefferson/Love death match? He inherited this mess, true. But he does need to resolve it. He is clearly trying to get max value for Jefferson, but the guy has to go. Clearly Love hates playing behind him or with him. So long as this is Al's team, we are doomed as fans.
Is Rambis the right coach? Does the triangle make sense for a PG talent heavy team (depends on future personnel)? Can he teach defense(not without a shot blocker)? Can he keep the players motivated and pursuing their proper roles(so far so good)? Can the man put together a rotation that makes any sense(uhhhh, no)? Can Rambis develop young talent (signs point to yes)? Clearly more time is needed before judging Rambis, but he has lost esteem since his hiring.
-Gomes - stay or go? I vote for cap space!
-3 first round draft picks - who does Kahn take or how does he use these to get significant players.
-Use of cap space - same deal. This off season is critical for Kahn. If he screws it up he should be fired after next season. If he gets it right the Wolves could have a wonderful 20-teens.
-Henk and Pekovic - What will Kahn do with the Euros? Will he get good or any value out of them?