Monday, December 14, 2009

What Might Have Been

Admittedly, I don't write about the Timberwolves very much here. That's not because I'm not a fan, but rather because I understand most sports fans simply don't care for the Wolves. The fact that they have been one of the worst two teams in the NBA this year certainly doesn't help their case, but I was informed of some information that made me extremely depressed.

My 'source' was someone who did indeed work for the Wolves prior to the draft, but was let go immediately following it. This information is important because if it was someone still inside the Wolves building, I would feel they were lying to look better... but this guy was let go so he would have every reason to spread bad things about the organization, not the information he told me.

It goes back to the night of the draft, when the Wolves selected Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with picks #5 and 6. Surprisingly, the Wolves apparently were set on two completely different players at those spots, and were convinced they were going to get them. Who, you ask?

Kahn and his staff apparently expected the draft to go Griffin, Thabeet, Harden, Rubio, which meant the Wolves wouldn't have a chance at landing Rubio. Kahn was enamored with Tyreke Evans, and apparently the Wolves had him rated #3 on their board behind Rubio (who, yes, was #1) and Blake Griffin. That's not much of a secret, as many Wolves fans expected one of those picks to be Evans if he was around.

The surprising information came when my source told me the Wolves had Brandon Jennings ranked #5, behind Harden but ahead of Thabeet. Rubio/Griffin/Evans/Harden/Jennings/Thabeet were their top six. Now, Kahn had expected Rubio/Griffin/Harden/Thabeet to be gone, which would have left the Wolves with Jennings and Evans at #5 and #6.

So why did the Wolves end up with Flynn instead? As has been rumored for awhile, the Wolves had agreed to trade #6 and #18 to Sacramento for #4 which was Tyreke Evans, but only if James Johnson was on the board at #18. Kahn had Flynn rated 7th, and he felt Evans was so special that it was worth taking the risk that Johnson would be around. Of course, Johnson wasn't around, Sacramento didn't want anyone else with Flynn, and the Wolves ultimately were "stuck" with him.

Kahn has talked Flynn up to be a special player, but my source insists that's just talk in the media. Obviously Kahn isn't going to come out and say he wanted Jennings over Flynn because that doesn't do anyone any good, but that's the truth of the matter.

Can you imagine how much of a slam dunk Kahn's first draft would have been had things fallen as he expected? An Evans/Jennings backcourt would be sensational right now, and combined with Kevin Love and Al Jefferson, that team might actually have been a surprise contender for one of the last playoff spots in the West. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and for the first time in my life getting inside information actually made me more depressed than I was before I heard it.

The silver lining, of course, is that Kahn had targeted arguably the two best rookies this yaer, and things just didn't fall his way. I was surprised to find out Rubio was #1, although I agree with it, simply because it felt like everyone was so high on Blake Griffin. Kahn has called Rubio a 'franchise-altering' type talent, and he's called Flynn 'special.' He's being honest with Rubio, and he's talking Flynn up incase he needs to trade him this off-season, in the event the Wolves win the lottery finally and end up with John Wall. If they don't, then Flynn remains the point guard of the foreseeable future.

Just thought that'd be interesting to the 75 Wolves fans in the country.