You have to hand it to David Kahn. Most people said that the D-League could never survive in the hustle-bustle of a major metropolitan area. Mr. Kahn is proving those doubters wrong.
Tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the D-League's newest and most impressive team, battled hard and gave their hometown fans a never-ending series of long, athletic, high-flying action.
Mr. Kahn's biggest coup for the fledgling franchise was wooing the esteemed Kurt Rambis away from the NBA's reigning World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. Mr. Rambis will now have the opportunity to hone his skills in the semi-pro league much like his mentor, Phil Jackson, did in the former CBA.
"I'm really excited to provide the loyal basketball fans of Minnesota with this high quality product," said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.
The Wolves were unable to pull out the game against the professional Clipper team, who was on the last game of a grueling road trip and without its leading scorer. However, they used this opportunity to showcase the talents of their elite D-League talent against the pros.
Rookie Wes Johnson showed flashes of brilliance in his 8 minutes of play. He was held scoreless but he physically looked like an NBA player. The team hopes that it can add an untested teenage European point guard next season to throw him many ally-oops.
The rookie wasn't the only player that had a hard time making buckets against the superior competition. The team ended the contest shooting a collective .365 from the field.
"We just need to get a little longer and more athletic for things to really click," said Kahn following the loss.
It's hard to argue with that logic.
In his post-game press conference Coach Rambis talked about his young team needing to become a bit more determined and cocky if it hopes to compete with the professionals. "I really look forward to the upcoming break in the schedule so we can have a fresh start." "We just need to have a few more veterans on this team in order for us to figure out how to play the game of basketball."
If there is a negative to be found with this young and exciting team it might be discovered in Rambis' curious approach to both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Coach Rambis learned his trade at the feet of the Zen Master, Phil Jackson, and he believes that young players learn best through osmosis and a complete lack of negative reinforcement. Rambis often spends breaks in the action removed from the huddle drawing up motivational sayings on his ever-present whiteboard. "At some point in time, it's just going to click for these guys," says Rambis.
The Wolves get back to action against yet another professional team next Tuesday in Milwaukee. It is sure to be another exciting affair.