The Kahn-haters have had several major points that they have drummed home over the course of the season. The two biggies were the Flynn/Curry draft and the Wes/Cousins draft. These are two of the biggest missteps that they have accused Kahn of and that are repeatedly cited as reasons to despise Kahn. Recently one of these arrows was removed from their quiver as Cousins assaulted a teammate.
Lots of people were skeptical when Wes was drafted over Cousins. Cousins really looked like he had the potential to be a Shaq-like center that could help our team for decades. But there were red flags. Cousins seemed like he had some serious daddy issues and was likely to freak out at any second and pull an AK out of his trunk. Wes looked like an NBA baller and seemed like the safe choice. Despite that there was always the chance that Wes would not develop and that Cousins would haunt us for a long time.
Fortunately for the Wolves, it has looked like they made the right choice. Cousins has been acting up all season long and has been taken out of the lineup several times. Now it is being reported that Cousins attacked a teammate last night and is out of the lineup again indefinitely. It is not known if he will be suspended but it is not a good situation nevertheless.
It is too bad for the Kings. No one wants to see a team have to deal with a mess like that, but at the same time we have to be relieved that we didn't draft Cousins. The one thing we have going for us is that our team has good chemistry and they get along. There doesn't seem to be any drama or bad blood and that is a noteworthy thing especially when a team has such a weak record. The real nightmare scenario is when a team can't win and they all hate each other. We have thankfully avoided that so far.
So since it now looks like Kahn did make the correct choice, contrary to many bloggers protestations, it seems that maybe we can take a second look at the horrible job that Kahn has done. Lets reflect.
1. Kahn has taken a team that was full of long-term, hyper-expensive contracts to bad players and replaced them with cheap, reasonable contracts to bad players. Small improvement but at least we have some of the most cap room of any team in the league and we are positioned to be able to pay to get a top-line player if one becomes available.
2. Kahn has acquired young talent with some potential. We have the youngest team in the league, and while that is not doing our record any favors, we can all agree that it is better to watch young talented players lose than it is to watch old hopeless players lose.
3. Kahn paid cheap, backup center money for the league's leading shotblocker. Currently, Darko is leading the league in shotblocking. True, that doesn't seem to be helping our record, but it is something. So many people rolled on the floor laughing when we acquired Darko, but we don't seem to hear much about him now from those chubby funsters.
4. Kahn did some nice little GM-type tricky things. Namely, he got the number two draft pick from two years ago for zero. Yes, Beasley, the doobie-loving pot of talent was added to our roster for basically nothing. That was a nice pickup in anyone's estimation. Sure, the Kahn-haters write that one off as the Heat being desparate to give him away, but there are still a lot of other GMs out there, and Kahn is the one that got him. Nice get.
The other was trading Foye and that other guy for Rubio, basically. Sure we still don't know if that little Spanish bastard will ever get his big talented ego over here to play for our little undeserving franchise, but at least we own his ass if he ever wants to enter the big leagues.
The biggest knocks that people can bring against Kahn is his drafting record. Kahn has had a few first rounders that were mostly late ones, and people seem to think that we should have stocked our team with 5 all-stars. There was recently a really nice writeup here that showed how rarely a good player comes through the draft. Unless you have the first or second pick, it is very rare to get a worthwhile player with picks 4 through whatever. Usually they are mediocre. And that is basically what we have gotten. Mediocre players.
Regarding Flynn versus Curry. I don't know if anyone remembers how Curry talked MN down before the draft and how he refused to even come here and work out. Sure he can shoot, but he also has zero defense and he was a little dickhead and I don't mind not drafting him in the slightest. The other point that people tend to overlook is that since Kahn knew Rubio was not coming over that season, he kind of needed a point guard. If we would have taken Curry we would basically have had zero point guards. Flynn might not count as much more than zero right now but at least you can see the thinking.
The last big gigantic complaint that keeps getting brought up over and over and over and over is that Cousins is soooo awesome and Wes is sooo crappy. Sure Cousins is a big beast on the court and I hope he has a great career, but he also is a major a$$hole who is very likely to get kicked out of the NBA in the next few years. Wes has a seriously nice NBA game that will develop as he gets past his rookie year. Hopefully there will come a time when we can look back and see that we clearly made the right choice. I personally think that time is now but I recognize that some people will have become emotionally invested in the Cousins argument so they will hold on to hope that he is Shaq-ish as a normal psychological rationalization behaviour. It's natural.
So what do the Kahn-haters have left? They have a muffed draft pick. Curry has some serious skills. But the draft is so hit and miss. If we look at any team's draft record, there are countless picks that don't work out. And countless players not picked that do well somewhere else. It is really too easy of a target to 20/20 hindsight a team's draft picks. Every season there is a good player from the second round that does well. You can look at every team that didn't pick him and whine about it forever, but reasonable people understand that drafting is a lot of luck. And sure you can say that if you just go BPA you can't go wrong! But there are plenty of BPAs that don't work out. Look at our team and you will see a sh!tload of examples of how BPA does not always work. We got them the second time around but there they are refuting your weaka$$ argument.
The other thing that is kind of hard to argue about is our team's record. We stink. Really really badly. And that really carries a lot of weight when judging the GM. It is hard to say he did a good job when we are putting up a historically bad record. There is not much to say in defense of that except that... it is Rambis' fault. I have been looking at this and studying it and it is becoming more and more clear that Rambis is an epically bad head coach. You don't get a .200 coaching record by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You have a hand in those situations. Good coaches can eke out some wins by smart timeouts and good playcalling. They can get lucky once in a while by making their luck. But Rambis doesn't do that. He consistently is "unlucky". And when someone is so consistent in being unlucky you just have to call it what it is, bad coaching.
I see that there is an article about how Deron forced out Sloan. It bemoans the fact that it is so easy for a marquee player to kick a coach to the curb by merely threatening to jump ship. Well I take the opposite position and say thank goodness! It should be very easy for Love to get Rambis kicked the heck out of here. And when that happens we will, unlike Utah, be much better off for it.