It's been a while. The whole format change, Tim's passing, Stop n' pop leaving, plus another genuinely disappointing season, left me less psyched about my beloved Wolfies. But now with the draft coming up I HAVE to get involved in the CanisWorld discussion. And as the little Wolvesaholic that I am, I can't seem to purge myself of optimism.
Thought #1: State of the Franchise
David Kahn is gone. I know ...of COURSE this has been hashed and rehashed since it has happened, but I have been very happy with the vibe that I got from Glen Taylor and Flip Saunders. They seem very much committed to finding the proper players for Head Coach Rick Adelman. I have also been pleased with the reports that Adelman appears locked in and ready to return as Head Coach, and that the team is confident that it will beable to retain Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger. Rarely has the front office of a franchise ever come off of such and injury ridden and disappointing season as the Wolves have and retained this level of optimism and excitement. Point being: I do not think that the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise is as dilapidated and decimated as many NBA people have suggested. I see this Adelman/Saunders team as the right guys to turn this team around.
Thought #2: On Ridiculous Rumors
Part A: I think the whole Kevin Love drama the NBA keeps blowing up is 80% ridiculous. Assertions that Love broke his hand on purpose, and "CLEARLY doesn't want to stick around in Minnesota", are literally retched journalism. Seriously nothing makes me roll my eyes more when some NBA guy on ESPN or TNT assures everyone that Kevin Love is obviously pulling strings to play for the Lakers. There is no doubt that Love is frustrated. I thought his interview with that yahoo guy was very interesting and very much to the point. Kevin is a confident young man and who can honestly fault him for that. When has anyone been right to bet against Kevin Love? He always believed he could stretch the fifteen foot jumper to the three point line, and his his prowess on the boards is historic. These two things make him literally one of the most unique players in the history of basketball. Kevin had beef with David Kahn and the way that they didn't lock him up with a max deal, because he believes he's worth it. The fact that Kevin had that beef about NOT getting the max here in Minny, makes it sound to me like he DOES want to be here. And no one can say his comments about certain "Kahnian" roster moves (screw ups), such as trading away Al Jefferson before seeing if anything could pan out where not spot on. Kevin wants to compete and I believe that his voicing of his frustration has been answered in the hiring of Flip Saunders.
Part B: There was a ridiculous post in NBA TALK's page on Facebook proposing the validity of a Kevin Love and Malcom Lee trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the #1 pick, Tristan Thompson, and C.J. Miles. There is absolutely know way that this wolves franchise with what Adelman has always said and with what Saunders has said recently, the wolves are in no place to stock pile young talent or give up the guy I talked about above as a historically unique NBA player! All signs point the the Wolves finding ways to solidify the solid core of players that they have and adding some shooters both of the veteran mold and from the draft.
Thought #3: The Draft
Flip Saunders has declared that he doesn't believe there to be a "elite" player in this years draft (...one more reason to laugh at that trade for the #1 pick). He also believes it to be a deep draft. How I see this playing out, is that the Wolves will most likely see what falls to them at both #9 and #26, and I seem to agree with many of the mock drafts that suggests the selection of C.J. McCollum, and other shooters such as Sergey Karasev, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or Reggie Bullock. I also suggest the potential of the Wolves doing something like they did with their 18th pick last year. Adelman's fingerprints were all over the move to send the 18th pick to Houston for Chase Budinger. While I can't think of a specific player of interest that could be gotten in with way, I still see it as a significant possibility.
I also would be interested to see how the likes of european prospects Dario Saric and Giannis Adetokunbo could fair in Adelman's system. Both of these players are young, raw talents that may take some time to jump into the BIG show of the NBA, making them not very practical choices for the wolves, who are hoping to vault into contention in the western conference. Nonetheless, these players talents would be very well suited to play behind Andrei Kirilenko and learn the art of the athletic Power Forward with Guard skills. They also fit the mold of a type of player that could very easily be groomed into the High Post passer that Rick Adelman likes to employ in his "back door cut" "Kevin Martin" "Vlade Divac" page of the play book. That being said, it doesn't appear like Adelman is in the mood for grooming the perfect post passer for four years in the future at this point in his coaching career. However I still think, if we had a time machine, a fountain of youth or a cure for seizures (which Adelman's wife unfortunately suffers from), this could be a intriguing draft avenue to walk down.
(I started to go really in depth about my draft ideas here, and decided the great majority of them were better off in a new post. So... I'm going to move on here for readability's sake...)
Thought #4: ...Optimism
Like I said about the front office, this team is looking at this year with a positive outlook, and I am no different. After the first couple rounds of draft work outs, Saunders stated that he thinks the draft looks pleasantly deep at the SG position where the wolves are in such dire need.
I see the potential of this team to be very high, assuming the cues the front office are legit: that they will beable to sign Pekovic, Kirilenko, Budinger and add some size and shooters, we should be looking at a team that upgrades the ability to compete with the top teams in the west (which they showed they could due, when healthy, at times in the past two seasons), to the ability to challenge for a significant seed in the 2014 NBA playoffs.
Sound off Hoopus! What say you!?