First, from a philosophical standpoint, I believe that teams should select players in the top 10 of the NBA Draft who have the chance — and I underline the word chance — to be special later in their careers. You do not use the fifth and sixth picks to select rotation players, but only players that figure to be starters, if not out-and-out stars.
So, we were committed to taking two players who fit that description, and we were less concerned about the positions they played, assuming they were not power forwards.
Explaining the Flynn/Rubio backcourt in the same letter to the fans:
And I also believe that there is a tendency in the NBA for all of us (myself included) to become too formulaic in our thinking. If you think of the Detroit Pistons backcourt during their championship run, with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson, or the Celtics with their backcourt of Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson (and before Ainge there was Gerald Henderson), or the Lakers with Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, or the Knicks with Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe, there are many instances of championship success that is not so paint-by-the-numbers.
It can and will work.
At the 18th pick, we did not believe we could identify a player who would be worthy of that rookie scale slot and become part of our core nucleus, so in an attempt to further stockpile assets, we traded it for a future first-round pick with only modest lottery protection. This will prove to be valuable. We also traded one of our two second-round picks for a 2010 second-round pick.
Explaining a 2nd round pick in the same draft:
And, last but not least, we used our remaining second-round pick to take Henk Norel, a teammate of Ricky’s in Spain, who is long and athletic.
I don’t think we’ll have everything put together the way I see fit for another 17 months… What I mean by that is, I’m talking about the team and everything. We have a lot of opportunities, starting with this draft, through this summer with free agency, trade deadline, next summer’s draft, next summer’s free agency. We have several windows of opportunity to really transform the team and add some significant pieces.
At this point, I can safely say that the rebuilding of the Timberwolves roster is, at long last, nearly complete.
…However, if one of our players fails to emerge, we will be prepared to find more talent for our team — and we will seek a singular move rather than a series of moves, as we did these last 14 months.
Kahn said it’s "likely" the Wolves will make a deal by the NBA’s Feb. 24 trading deadline, but said it’d be a "tactical" and "surgical" move.
"I don’t expect it to be big," he said.
February 17th, 2011:
Kahn on #Timberwolves: "There is no more rebuilding. There are no more wholesale changes. I like a lot of players on the team and I expect them to be here a long time."
Obviously, I think how I would characterize that is that David has a position to take advantage of, possibly, the biggest off-season in franchise history. It is up to him and his staff that the assets we have accumulated are utilized correctly. The fact that we have a top 5 pick, the fact that we have Utah's and Charlotte's pick and expiring contracts, and that we are positioned well in a massive free agency market, it can be potentially one of the great summers in our franchise.
The Wolves currently sport a roster where 53% of all team minutes played below .000 WP/48, the highest percentage in the NBA , besting Toronto by 8%. They are 28-110 in the Rambis/Kahn era.
The artist clarifies his statement from earlier today:
Kahn wasn't saying the rebuilding job is complete: "We need to remind ourselves it isn't enough yet. We need to do more."
"Sometimes when I talk about this, I think Kurt worries that I expect a finished product or perfection," Kahn said. "No such thing. But the fans, our customers, the community should expect us to have modest, yet significant improvement these last several weeks."
Modest, yet significant improvement. There's no more rebuilding but it's not complete. They'll be good except when they aren't. Remember folks, last year didn't really count.