Not that this really needs to be said, but I’ll just state it anyways — I love Kevin Garnett. He is the best player in franchise history, and unarguably the most important person in the history of the franchise.
With that being said, I am concerned about the recent report from Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press that indicates Garnett would have an abundance of power over basketball operations in the organization.
If Garnett is coming back to the franchise, he should not be included on personnel decisions.
For starters, the last thing this organization needs right now is more turnover in the front office. Garnett would surely want to bring in his own “guys” which would mark the end of Gersson Rosas’ tenure. While Rosas hasn’t proved to be a master at building a competitive roster yet, he’s in the middle of his own rebuild right now. He clearly has a vision for the roster. Removing him at this juncture would only stop him from completing his vision and send the Wolves right back to square one when it comes to rebuilding. I don’t want any part of that. Let Rosas and his team see this through.
There’s also the issue of who Garnett would hire to work for and with him. While it’s certainly possible that KG would buy-in to shot quality metrics and other advanced analytics, I have a hard time believing that that would actually be the case. Former players are generally more in favor of an old-school style of play, and this tends to be especially true with former superstars who were skilled enough to produce from areas that are generally inefficient for the majority of NBA players. I fear KG spearheading the basketball operations team would be the end of a large and dedicated analytics department in Minneapolis.
Along those same lines, ex-players do not have a great track record as evaluators of NBA talent. Danny Ainge is the big outlier, but he’s the exception to the rule. This is just one example, but I find it hard to believe the 76ers feel like they’re in a better position now under Elton Brand than they were under Sam Hinkie. The Sixers are competitive, mostly thanks to Hinkie tanking and ending up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but Elton Brand has locked up a crazy amount of money in players who don’t compliment those two very well (namely Al Horford and Tobias Harris). While one event isn’t necessarily predictive, KG didn’t exactly make a great first impression when he stated that Thon Maker would be an MVP someday.
NBA players are great at playing basketball, and there are surely parts of the game they pick up that others will just never quite understand. That doesn’t necessarily carry over to team building, though, where roster construction and putting together the right pieces is paramount.
Lastly, I fear KG would feel the same amount of, if not more, loyalty towards Ryan Saunders than Glen Taylor already does. If you’re not already out on Saunders, fine, I’ll admit he hasn’t had a whole lot to work with. I’m just not sure what he’s shown to earn great job security, something I believe he’d have if Garnett were in charge.
With all of that in mind, I feel fairly confident in saying I would not be in favor of Kevin Garnett being the head of basketball operations for the Timberwolves.
However, Kevin Garnett would fit in the picture as the PERFECT person to re-connect the fanbase and city to the team. We can sit here and pretend that the extended run of putrid play hasn’t effected the interest level of the state, but that’d be a lie. Kevin Garnett being a focal figure, maybe as a special adviser to the front office, would be the perfect way to re-ignite a fanbase.
I also believe there’s a spot for KG on the court/bench. He has a brilliant defensive mind, and would almost surely help to get the most out of whatever defensive potential remains in Karl-Anthony Towns. It’s hard to think of someone more equipped to mentor Towns than Kevin Garnett.
There’s a role for Kevin Garnett in Minnesota basketball, and hopefully a big one, too. It just shouldn’t involve roster construction and personnel decisions.