Overall, Jerry Zgoda does a pretty good job covering the Wolves, well except for October 28 - Pale in comparison to the rest of the NBA where he basically accused the Wolves of picking white players to sell tickets. It was ridiculously off base at the time it was written, since the Wolves were fresh off going to the mattresses with PDX to sign Batum to the tune of $45M. Plus outbidding LA for Jordan Hill. Neither move worked out, but those were the Wolves' top priorities, even a casual observer could see that they had to then fish in other waters.
But Jerry ran with it anyway, and in so doing giving air time to clueless people looking for something to be angry about. Now we have 20 games to analyze let's see how it all worked out.
Batum has played well and we can easily see why the Wolves went after him. AK47 has been a replacement for sure, but the pursuit of Batum and why he would fit here is quite obvious.
Let's look at the players the Wolves had last year (under the same management) that they let go.
First up is Darko, presumably not the one that people are worried about letting go, but it sets the stage. Darko was let go and eventually signed with Boston (his sixth NBA team). He played 4 minutes in one game and moved back home and is out of the league.
Next let's take a trip to Phoenix where Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson play now. Well play may be overstating things a bit. For some context Phoenix is 7-15, the second worst team in the league. how are our former Wolves doing? Beasley is shooting 38% and is now coming off the bench, just like last year for a bad team. He is, however, leading the team in one category - turnovers.
Wes Johnson is actually doing worse. He has only played in 10 games and has been a healthy scratch in 12 games. He is averaging 6 minutes per game playing in blowouts, of which the Suns (currently in a seven game losing streak) are on the receiving end of many.
Over in Denver, Anthony Randolph has played in even less games than Wes, AR15 has got of the bench in four games, and is a working definition of DNP-CD.
All of these players got serious minutes for the Wolves last year. This year even with major injuries the Wolves are 9-9 with their current group! Does Jerry Zgoda really believe the Wolves were motivated by race to give more minutes to Kirilenko rather than re-sign Beasley? By playing the race card, he leveled a very serious accusation at the Wolves, now with twenty games in he should in my opinion offer a full mea culpa.
To close, here is one example from Zgoda's October piece:
"Ron Edwards, a longtime Minneapolis civil rights advocate, said he remembers a day last winter when he was watching the Wolves and the only black player on the floor was Wes Johnson, a situation he calls "somewhat disturbing." His sentiments grew stronger, he said, as he watched the team's roster grow even more white this offseason."
The bold part is obviously an immediate entry on the Mount Rushmore of unintentional comedy, as Suns fans now know, whenever Wes Johnson is on the floor its always disturbing.
The draft pick before Wes Johnson was Jonny Flynn, after three teams in only three years he now plays in Australia. The other draft pick that year was a kid from Spain. Does Zgoda think they should have chucked Rubio and kept Flynn?
To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. Sure there are problems with race in the US, but this stuff has gone way too far, everything is not a race issue. People who criticize Obama's economic and foreign policies are immediately labeled racists. The race card is a heavy thing to play, should not be done lightly, and I really think Jerry Zgoda should revisit whether he thinks the Wolves should go with Flynn, Wes Johnson, Beasley, and AR15 over the .500 team they put on the court now.