A Canis Hoopus Draft Story
It was a dark and stormy night in late April when billionaire Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor suddenly woke up from a sound sleep. Finding himself inexplicably awake despite the late hour Glen was worried. “Something has gone horribly wrong,” he said out loud to no one in particular, adding “I have been Kahnned for the last time.” Feeling better after this shocking declaration, Glen promptly laid down and went back to sleep.
The next morning Glen woke up at his usual early start time of 10:00 am and meandered his way to Timberwolves headquarters. After sifting through his usual assortment of emails and Farmville requests he called in his lead assistant and asked directly for David Kahn’s phone number.
“I think he is in Europe or something” said the assistant with mock confidence.
“Ooh, Europe makes me nervous,” Glen stated, “too many regulations on the paper industry. Can I ask a small favor?”
“Sure” responded the assistant.
“Great, please send a telegram to Mr. Kahn letting him know his services will no longer be needed and then report back as soon as you have done so.”
At this the assistant left with a knowing nod in his bosses direction and Glen, satisfied with the morning’s accomplishments, shuffled over to the office couch for his customary nap.
Three hours later Glen was jilted awake by a loud knock at the office door. Darting up in an attempt to look busy he accidentally knocked his chocolate milk off the coffee table on his way to answer the door. Glen was confused from having just been woken from a deep sleep and found himself growing worried by the frantic look he read on his assistants face.
“What’s going on” Glen asked, attempting to act casual.
“Well, I fired David but now we have a problem.”
“What kind of problem?”
“Apparently there are many people who play attention to us here and they are asking who we are going to hire to replace David.”
Glen thought about this for a full minute before responding.
“We can’t hire just anyone off the street I suppose. That kind of backfired last time. Do you have any ideas?
“We’ll the NBA office maintains a list of qual...”
“I’ve got it!” Glen exclaimed, cutting his assistant off mid sentence. “Do you remember that mop headed Gopher
point guard that used to hang around when Kevin ran the team.”
“Do you mean Flip Saunders sir?”
“Yes, Flop Samuels. Him. I always kind of liked him. Did you like him?”
“Actually you just hired me about a month ago so I never met...”
“He would be perfect. That’s who I want. Send a bike messenger or someone to see if he is available to bring me coffee and make trades and do drafts and stuff like that. David made awful coffee.”
“Ok sir. I’ll let you know what he says.”
“Don’t take no for an answer. Just keep offering money until he says yes and then I want to see both you and him in my office first thing at eleven o’clock tomorrow morning.
With this Glen shut the door in his assistants face and and began to assemble his things for the ride home. He was exhausted from what had turned out to be an especially busy day.
That night Glen slept as soundly as he had in years. The next morning he awoke refreshed and decided to reward himself with a nice breakfast at one of those fancy downtown restaurants. Flip and the assistant were already waiting in his office when Glen arrived.
“What’s that you have in your hand?” Glen asked eyeing the paper cup Flip was holding.
“I brought you some coffee Glen” Flip replied expectantly.
“Genius, why do yourself what you can pay to have done for you. That is exactly the kind of fresh thinking we needed around here.” Glen responded, hiding his surprise at finding that Flip was not exactly the person he had been thinking of.
“Your assistant here filled me in on some of my new duties. How would you like me to start?” Flip asked in a manner a little too direct for Glen’s taste.
“The coffee was a good first step, I am getting sleepy. How about you spend some time getting to know your way around and then maybe later you can go onto one of those radio talk shows that are so popular and tell them whatever thoughts pop into your head.”
With that the assistant, reading Glen perfectly, offered to show Flip to his new office and ushered him out the door.
A few days later Glen’s office nap was once again interrupted. This time by Flip, who was standing alone in the doorway looking like he had something important to say.
“Awkward” Glen thought to himself, hopeful that he had not said it out loud.
After a minute or two of silence Flip finally began talking.
“Glen, we have a problem.”
Glen groaned audibly at this confession and motioned Flip to come into the office.
“What kind of problem?” he asked suspiciously.
“I was just informed that we have two first round picks in the upcoming draft and I had to fire most of the scouting department.”
“Fire them? Why?” Glen asked, smiling as he calculated the obvious financial savings hidden in this so called “bad news.”
“Well Glen, it seems that their primary draft prep strategy was to watch ESPN and flirt with the marketing interns.”
“I see, some of those interns are pretty cute. So what exactly is the problem Flop?”
“I have been watching ESPN myself and it turns out that this strategy has not been successful. In fact, it turns out that it has been especially unsuccessful.”
“Hmm, interesting, Glen responded, “so what do you propose we do about this situation?”
“Well,” Flip started hesitantly, “I was thinking we could hire a new team of scouts to prepare for the upcoming draft.”
Glen frowned at this idea as he calculated the cost of a new scouting department and the room fell silent as the two men stared quietly at one and other.
“I’ve got it!” Glen suddenly exclaimed.
“What” asked Flip excitedly.
“It’s brilliant” Glen continued.
“What is” Flip asked again.
“I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before” Glen went on.
“Thought of what?” Flip demanded, growing visibly annoyed.
“We’ve got bloggers in our mists.” Glen finally said with satisfied grimace. “Bloggers work for free.”
It was just another typical day at Canis Hoopus when suddenly a new Fanpost appeared on the sidebar. The author, RealFlip69, was a new name to the Hoopus regulars and a quick click on the user profile reveled that RealFlip69 had just signed up that very day and had never even commented prior to making his first fanpost.
“Hey spambot, tl;dr. Take your ads somewhere else” one of the commenters posted. But RealFlip69 responded quickly that not only was he not a spambot but that he had an offer that the Hoopus crowd would be interested in.
“Read the post,” typed RealFlip69, “I think you will like the offer.”
And read it they did. One by one the commenters began to weigh in. “Is this for real?” “Really?” “Us?” For real.”
“Yes,” responded RealFlip69, this is 100% real.”
It went on like this for days.
Eventually it became clear that the offer was in fact real. The Timberwolves had decided that, instead of hiring a new scouting department, they were going to hand over the responsibility of this years draft to one of the many Timberwolves blogs that could be found on the internet. Furthermore, apparently due to the aggressive rebranding of all SB Nation blogs for optimized search engine appeal, Canis Hoopus was the first blog to come up when RealFlip69, or Flip Saunders, googled “Timberwolves + Blog.” Therefore any and all members of the Canis Hoopus community were encouraged to begin preparing for the upcoming draft. RealFlip69 went on to inform everyone that they would be provided with a modest location on the day of the draft from which to conduct “official Timberwolves business,” and whoever amongst them that was able to make it to Minneapolis for draft day was welcome to join in and help make the decision. RealFlip69 also said that “light snacks and refreshments would be offered.”
Canis Hoopus exploded. There were 600 comments before 9:00 am the next day. 200 of these were from the same person, but still it was an especially heavy commenting volume by Canis Hoopus standards. By noon the threads were so full that new posts were being added to the front page just to accommodate the bandwidth. The plan was coming together.
Over the next several weeks Canis Hoopus was entirely devoted to the upcoming draft. There were several noticeable contingencies on the site but in the interest of harmony and the best possible outcome they were working together in a seemingly unprecedented manner. The “eye test” crowd was spending hours pouring over youtube videos of college games and highlights while the analytical crowd was busy creating statistical models that incorporated the best aspects of all publicly available data. The international posters were weighing in on prospects from their home countries and had identified several promising players that were not included in the usual outlets. The music and political chatter briefly faded into the background as all of Canis Hoopus worked together towards the shared vision of making this the best draft in the history of the Timberwolves.
Finally the event drew near and on the eve of the 2013 NBA draft Canis Hoopus posters began to arrive in Minneapolis from all parts of the world. A meet up had been scheduled in a small Korean restaurant in St. Paul and amongst the steaming bowl of Bi Bim Bop the members began to shake hands and introduce themselves to people who they have been interacting with for years but in most cases had never actually met. It was weird.
The next afternoon the members arrived at the provided address to find that it was a rented VFW in an out of the way residential part of south Minneapolis. Glen Taylor’s top assistant was on hand to open the door and set out two cases of Grape Soda and a few bags of pretzels as had been promised. This assistant also handed over a cell phone with the NBA offices phone number pre programed into it and confessed that the location had been chosen because of the low cost and presence of an unprotected wifi signal from a nearby apartment building. He then informed the crowd that he would be back at midnight to pick up the key and that Canis Hoopus would be responsible for reimbursing the Timberwolves front office if the damage deposit was not returned in full. With that the assistant was gone and crowd was left to set up their equipment for the draft.
Most of the process had been decided on in the weeks leading up to the actual draft so the individuals who were making the final determination were prepared for that responsibility while others were monitoring previous teams picks to make sure there were no surprises. In addition to the grape soda there was an excellent beer selection designed to satisfy all tastes including multiple Belgian styles, bud light, several IPA’s, a few Ambers, and some kind of Strawberry Margarita offering that one poster insisted he stole from his wife (no one believed him). It was also said that the back ground musical mix was one of the most diverse and pleasing that anyone had ever heard at such a gathering.
Finally it was time. The previous picks played out just they way the Canis Hoopus models had predicted and the consensus player fell right into the Timberwolves lap. The poster designated to do so made the call and the crowd fell silent as David Stern walked up to podium to state in his patented monotone that “with the ninth pick in the 2013 NBA draft the Minnesota Timberwolves select ______________.
The VFW hall erupted in cheers. Canis Hoopus had done it. The draft was a success and the roster was finally balanced in the perfect way to support the players already under contract. A hearty round of congratulations went through the room and just as everyone began to fall silent a lone voice spoke out from the crowd-
“Hey Mayn, who wants to get thowed!!??”