Wolf Track: The Future

Via John Hollinger’s future power rankings:

29. Minnesota Timberwolves | Future Power Rating: 326

The baffling tenure of general manager David Kahn and the long-running incompetence of owner Glen Taylor combine to give the Timberwolves the lowest score for management in our ratings. A $20 million deal to Darko Milicic, a bizarre infatuation with Milwaukee point guards and a sweetheart of a trade that sent out Al Jefferson are the major points of contention, but there are plenty of others. In short, nobody is quite sure whether he’s coming or going.

Minnesota has two other negatives. The first is a built-in one called winter, which helps make it one of the least favorable markets. But the second was inflicted by the previous and equally disastrous regime of Kevin McHale: There’s a good chance the Timberwolves will owe the Clippers a completely unprotected first-round draft pick in 2012.

The Wolves aren’t devoid of talent; Kevin LoveMichael Beasley and, if he ever arrives, Ricky Rubio, are three nice pieces. Additionally, they’ll have as much cap room as anyone, and Taylor has shown he’s willing to spend. But the structure isn’t in place for success.

(Previous rank: 27)

Has anyone else grown tired of reading into hot-shot analysts bashing our beloved Timberwolves over the top of the head? A few sketchy transactions makes the David Kahn, Glen Taylor and the Wolves the target of ridicule harsher than a Comedy Central Roast. If anything, we fans know that the Wolves’ future is as bright as anyone, so don’t look too far into this bizarre ranking. How did John Hollinger make things rankings anyways? A crystal ball or some complex formula that he made up himself?

Going back to the Wolves’ future, sure, it’s full of questions and dependent on nearly one player’s decision next summer, but the pieces are there to help build and develop a team for the future. Kahn said it best in a season-ticket holder meeting that the Wolves may not be ready to compete immediately, but down the road, when teams like the Spurs, Lakers and Suns get older and slower, the Wolves have the opportunity to jump into the thick of things in the Western Conference.

About Jonah Steinmeyer

Been a Wolves fan for probably way too long to be considered a sane human anymore. An avid golfer in my free time. I cheer for Minnesota sports but live in Florida.

10 comments
abe
abe

Agreed. Most of the national chagrin seems to have originated with guys like Bill Simmons and Hollinger and in my opinion really took off after the Darko signing which opened the floodgates of scorn in regards to Kahn from these guys. Darko will be a key figure in how Kahn is perceived. If he can play like he did at the end of last season I think the perception of guys like Hollinger will change.

Jeffrey1
Jeffrey1

Just keep in mind: this in Minnesota. LeBron already showed the world that there is little future for superstars in fly over country--even if you are playing for hometown fans. When you take into consideration that all players want to play in markets where they can make tons of dough doing commercials or rapping, I think Kahn has done ok. He's got players who want to be here who fit the bill a lot better than the group we've previously had. If Rubio shows, with Pekovic, Wesley, Beasley, Love I think the future will be about as bright as any team not named LA, Boston or Miami. And I am not convinced the Darko move was a bomb....he's still very young and he'll finally get a chance to show what he can do in this league. Right now, I'm more interested in the Wolves than ever....heck, I'm even replying to blog. Go Kahn.

SaminMpls
SaminMpls

Well... going through each example he cites, it appears to me he's backed up his claims. Kahn hasn't demonstrated the same skill in evaluating talent with statistical analysis as Morey or shown himself to be a particularly shrewd negotiator. And let us not forget the high comedy that was Kahn's interview with C-Webb. Yes, Kahn's background does make him a magnet for criticism from the media and their anonymous sources. These are the same people who cracked jokes after the Darko deal -- a perfect example of a move that is assumed laughable unless the team achieves a high level of success. Morey's early moves were an example of this -- he went after undervalued talent and was mocked because of it until they nearly beat the Lakers after Yao went down.

Twolves_Blogs
Twolves_Blogs

Howlin’ T-Wolf: Wolf Track: The Future: Via John Hollinger’s future power rankings: 29. Minnesota Timberwolves | … http://bit.ly/cEJr6e This comment was originally posted on Twitter

JSteinmeyer
JSteinmeyer

And the funny thing that separates national media from local bloggers/fans is that we like the Darko signing. I still haven't bought into the fact that Kahn is the guy but I look at Darko and see a solid starting, or backup center in the next four years. Simmons and Hollinger will come around. Well, probably not Simmons but he's probably the most stubborn guy in the history of sports media. But Hollinger's just a giant bandwagon.

JSteinmeyer
JSteinmeyer

I couldn't agree more. It's a great time to be a Timberwolves fan... Or at least become curious with the idea! The team has pieces in place to become a young, competitive team while others grow old and brittle.

JSteinmeyer
JSteinmeyer

He does pose a good argument, but as a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, don't you feel the need for excessive criticism is uncalled for? We all know the team is bad, but bashing the facts in our face doesn't help anything. That's all I'm trying to say. And it's unfair to compare Kahn to Morey; Morey's nothing short of genius and I love what he's done in Houston.

SaminMpls
SaminMpls

IMO, Minnesota sports fans have experienced a series of disgraces and disgraceful individuals over the last 30 years that really affect how they support their teams and react to criticism. During this time there has been a quiet but continual drumbeat of angst from fans who believe that the national media hasn't given [the team] its due respect. The Yankees-Twins playoff series from the mid-90s are good recent examples. I find the notion that I should care about how ESPN regards a specific team to be a little silly. Unless they maliciously go after college sports that don't generate big revenue like tennis or volleyball, I really do not care if SI or ESPN write hit pieces on a team that I support. If a sports team is on TV regularly, then big money is being made. That suggests the rules of business are in effect -- its nothing personal. Besides, I CONSTANTLY hear the national media praise the Twins for being a successful small market team and a team that "plays the right way." My comparison to Morey is strictly based on background, not performance. Neither guy got the same initial cred as Ainge because they weren't NBA players. Executives in any business have to effectively manage perceptions and expectations. Losing the confidence of investors is not all that different than a coach losing the respect of a team. Losing the media's confidence is a different kettle of fish -- it can be just as deadly but it doesn't have the power to overcome structural forces. What I mean by structural forces is the idea that GM's operate within a set of rules that govern their transactions. A GM can be reviled by everyone -- even to the point that free agents are less likely to sign and trades are difficult to negotiate -- but still draft players and use cap space and expiring contracts as leverage to complete transactions. To put it another way: What sportswriters wrote about Al Davis was no more or less true before their last trip to the Super Bowl than is was afterwards.

JSteinmeyer
JSteinmeyer

That was quite an intelligent, articulate and organized opinion you wrote there. And I couldn't agree with it more! First off, Minnesota sports fans have suffered long and hard in the popular professional sports across the board. Aside from the Twins success almost that past 10 years, no sports franchise has shown consistent success. I understand your approach of avoiding mainstream media and what they have to say about our beloved Minnesota teams, but how can you? It is exactly what it's called: mainstream media. ESPN is just a piece of the giant puzzle that is the medium by which sports fans are convinced and pushed into other directions and beliefs. When ESPN and other networks say that the Wolves are bad, outside of devoted fans, others are going to believe what they have to say because they have the power to persuade. It's just the physics of communications. I see your point with Morey. Kahn doesn't compare to what they've done professionally as NBA GM's, but coming from similar backgrounds gives you hope of what Kahn could do with the future. Keep coming back, SaminMpls. I really enjoy your input here at HTW.