OK, I held off on this one for a few days but I did want to put it in here after the final game of the season and before I started doing the draft/lotto posts. First a bit of background. The following quote from the Iron Ranger is in response to comparisons of players like Corey Brewer and Randy Foye to Al Thornton and Brandon Roy:
"I just shudder when I hear people judging players a year into their career," McHale said. "If you were to judge John Stockton after his first year and a half in the league, you'd say, 'Well, Rickey Green is playing ahead of him.' Now you look back and John Stockton is in the Hall of Fame."
It's no surprise that the Mitt-Supporter is a bit behind the game, but the problem here is that Rickey frickin' Green wasn't exactly selected ahead of John Stockton by an over-matched GM who saw something in Rickey's game that no one else could comprehend. You'd think a guy in charge of personnel on a team that can't even get 2000 people to watch it on TV would have a bit more humility and perspective about how his past decisions have, perhaps, rubbed said sub-2000 fans the wrong way. But hey, he won a championship back in 86 so who cares?!
I'm sure that Corey Brewer and Randy Foye are going to have nice NBA careers. No one is judging them. The judgment that is occurring here is one that is pointed directly at the big Frankenstein looking guy with the Bill Cosby sweaters. From Will Avery to Wally to Foye-over-Roy to Brewer-over-Noah to Ebi, no GM has made more baffling draft selections than has McHale. It's not just that he's making these decisions with relatively similar players, it's that he's doing so in the presence of clear red flags, roster redundancy, and...well, I have no idea, as his selections and approach to player selection continues to boggle the mind.
There is, was, and never will be an excuse for taking a high schooler over the ACC Player of the Year. There is, was, and never will be an excuse for taking a mid-major tournament star performer over Rip Hamilton, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Corey Maggette, and Ron Artest. Will Avery? Please. Should Derrick Rose magically land in his lap, McHale will have taken 3 6'3/4" guards and a 185 lbs tweener in the last 4 drafts. It's not just that McHale has chosen poorly; it's that he has consistently chosen the player that works the least for his team. Typically, McHale's selections seem to be geared around having seen a player perform well in his conference tourney or the NCAAs. Maybe he doesn't make it that far from his couch, but judging by the selections of Foye and Brewer, I'm not sure any sort of statistical analysis comes into play when making these choices. Both players had numerous red flags that were clearly identified at the time of their drafting. Take a look at DraftExpress' Randy Foye page:
There’s no question that Foye is a fantastic college basketball player and a very likely candidate to carve out a niche in the NBA for a long time. The only question is what role that will be in, and therefore how highly do NBA teams picking in the 1st round value that in this draft. What teams will likely ask themselves is whether he can be a starter, and if so, at what position? His skills seem to be better suited for an excellent 6th man type who can come off the bench and put up points in a hurry without having to worry too much about running his team’s offense, but the extreme lack of legit point guards in this draft means that teams might decide to label him a playmaker and hope they can teach him how to run their offense and get everyone involved. If teams think he has starting PG potential, he is likely to be drafted anywhere from 8-14, but if projected as more of a reserve, look for him to go anywhere from 10-20.
Add in questionable shooting, a low career PPR, a gimmicky 3 guard offense, and a few other factors and you seriously have to question the type of player you think you are getting. Again, I think Foye will have a nice career but the problem with his selection was that he wasn't the droid the team should have been looking for. Here's a snippet about Corey Brewer from John Hollinger's draft evaluation article (he rated Brewer as the 24th best pick):
Corey Brewer rates way lower than most people would imagine. Brewer's rating of 462.4 makes him a marginal first-rounder, and that's only because of the paucity of Euros in this year's draft. Since this pretty much flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which has Brewer rated as a top-five or at worst top-10 pick, I have to point out that his numbers don't match the general consensus on his athleticism. Brewer's 8.5 rebound rate teetered on red-flag territory, and he blocked only 15 shots all season, which is quite low for a 6-9 NBA hopeful. Additionally, his ballhandling is a concern -- his -0.74 pure point ratio was pretty poor for a perimeter player. Brewer brings his share of positives too, but I'm not sure teams will get what they think they're getting if they take him high in the lottery.
Just to be clear, Hollinger and Draft Express aren't the end-alls for draft expertise. I just wanted to show that there were people who saw Foye and Brewer for what they were (and have proven to be) in real time. Once again: the problem here is that McHale has a well-documented history of being incapable of properly judging talent that will fit the product the Wolves are offering, not the talent itself. He's almost like a kid who sees a shiny toy in the store; he has to have the latest, greatest fad no matter what functionality it has. From wanting D-Wade 2.0 with Foye to thinking he was drafting a Pippen-esque defending gazzelle in Brewer (which fits really well in a medium-paced low post offense, IMO), he is building this thing on little more than seasonal whims. The most pathetic part about all of this is that he can't even understand that no one is judging the players...they're judging him and his idiotic decisions.
Finally, McHale's boobery isn't confined solely to draft picks. Unfortunately for Wolves fans, we get to suffer through the Trenton Hassells, Troy Hudsons, Marko Jarics, Mike Jameses, Joe Smiths, Juwan Howards, and Michael Olowakandis of the world. Color me less than enthusiastic for the potential free agent cash cache after the 2009-10 season. 1 season of Spree, Cassell, and KG. That's all this clown has done above and beyond his time in Boston. It's enough to make one of us remaining die-hards (I was one of the 1,700 viewers) cringe.
UPDATE: More on this to follow. McHale and Taylor had some pretty crazy things to say during their post-season pressers. For instance, Grandpa Sid ran this quote from Taylor in his Strib column today:
"I think next year our biggest goal will be probably the draft choices. We should get our own high one and then depending on what Miami does, maybe theirs. So I think that will be our best chance to improve next year. It's a couple years out that we have our contracts coming, they end, that we have the money for the free agents."
Fair enough. That's a pretty honest assessment. It's just too bad that he said it on the same day the Iron Ranger was spouting off about this:
McHale said he thinks the Wolves -- a team that won five of its first 39 games after being completely remade after last summer's Kevin Garnett trade -- can follow their 22-60 season by winning as many as 20 more games next season in a league that he says has few great teams. That is, if the Wolves stay healthy. Guard Randy Foye missed this season's first three months, an absence McHale deemed significant in his team's slow start.
In case you missed it, the Wolves' owner is saying that the club isn't going to sign any free agents because of past mistakes and is instead focusing on next year's draft, in which they will have a top pick, while the team's VP of Basketball Operations is saying that they will win 42 games...thus giving said top pick back to the LA Clippers because of the Marko Jaric trade.
It's good to know they have a plan, isn't it?