OK, now that we have the initial draft reaction post out of the way and everyone has had a bit of time to digest what went down just over 24 hours ago, it's time to take stock of the action in as pragmatic frame of mind as possible. It is what it is and it has to get better. It's the Rummy approach: We go to the ticket booth with the ball club we have, not the ball club we want to have. How can this franchise improve and what are the positives that we can take out of the first major act of the 2010 off-season? We'll take a look at what can be made of the 2010 Draft lemons below the fold.
First of all, let's get something very basic out of the way: Wes Johnson and Lazar Hayward appear to be amazing professionals and the type of young men you want your daughters to meet. Good for them. Maybe they can get together with Nick Punto and make head first slides into Sid Hartman's office for exclusive interviews with his voice recorder toting intern.
As is the case with the bad apples, we here at Hoopus are as equally unconcerned with the off-the-court antics of the good ones. Canis Hoopus will never be KAREHOOPUS or your Good Neighbor down the dial. We don't give a flying you-know-what about meaningless hustle and "playing the right way". We want winners. We want competent f'ing players. The desire for said BS seems to be a uniquely Minnesotan sports characteristic and it's time for it to be retired. We are a Punto/Gardy free zone and swagger is welcome if it comes with a "W".
Now that all of this has been said, and now that I have had some time to really think about what in the hell happened at MSG, here is what I think is worth being excited about after last night's action:
- Tony Ronzone and Pete Philo have been handed the 2nd round. Philo has always been respected, but with the addition of Ronzone, the Wolves suddenly find themselves with a tip-top international scouting operation and it showed last night. Congratulations Wolves fans, you have something that is amongst the very best in the league!! I will never claim to be an expert on anything Euro League related, but from what I have been able to gather via emails, texts, and IMs, the Wolves picked two very promising Euro players last night. For each and every negative thing we hear about David Kahn, we hear 5 good ones about Ronzone and/or Philo. Now, if only the team could do something about its domestic scouting operation, we'd be on to something.
- The Wolves got better. They were unable to take the BPA at 4, 16, and 23, and they gave away Ryan Gomes' contract in the middle of a league-wide arms race to drop as much salary as possible, but they replaced the minutes of Damien Wilkins, Corey Brewer, and Ryan Gomes with Wes Johnson, Martel Webster, and....well, Corey now gets to come off the bench. It's not a massive improvement, but it should improve the Wolves chances simply by making their worst position a serviceable one. Remember when we went all dorky about how the problem with the Wolves after the Jefferson injury wans't the minutes that Kevin Love replaced for Big Al, rather the ones that Love gave up for a bowl of nothing? Same concept here. The Wolves have replaced a big bowl of nothing with something. It's not the best value....but it's something.
- Al Jefferson still needs to be traded. Let's do the math. There are about 4-5 clubs that are doing whatever they can to get rid of salary. There are a boatload of potential big name free agents. Someone is getting left behind. Will Kahn be able to get value from a team that misses out on the free agent action? I'm not particularly optimistic about this option but I can 150% tell you it is exactly what the team has in mind. They think that a team like the Bulls or the Nets is going to end up empty handed and they will make a lopsided trade for Al Jefferson. We'll just have to wait and see on this front, but I will admit that there is the possibility of something good happening. Oh, now that the Wolves have Hayward, Webster, and Johnson, they can throw Corey Brewer into the deal.
- Cap space. Yes, I know it is completely ridiculous to think that the Wolves could land LeBron, Wade, or Bosh....but what about a sign and trade for a 2011 free agent? What about a lopsided trade during the season? Again, we're talking about Kahn and Minny, but the possibility for such a move exists. "Lopsided trade" should become two words that each and every single Wolves fan should become acquainted with.
- Kevin Pritchard is on the market. Hire him. Seriously. That's a very positive draft day development for the Wolves and it should not be overlooked. David Kahn needs to be Pritch Slapped.
- Martel Webster is the best player in the Webster/16/Gomes deal. The Wolves massively overpaid and David Kahn seems to not understand the value of Gomes' contract, but the Wolves did walk away with a very serviceable starting wing player that is long, athletic, and...well, can he play the 2? Again, not optimistic.
- Did we mention that Tony Ronzone and Pete Philo are very good at what they do?