A Second Bowl of Wheaties for You

And since it’s the inaugural weekend here why not a second bowl of the Weekend Wheaties for you?

  • Thanks to T-Wolves Blog for finding this Big Al interview:
    The “Sludge” marathon for lupus (?) on KFAN today included an interview with Al Jefferson. It’s maybe a third of the way into that link’s mp3 file.

    Al’s take, shorthand version:

    * Offseason in Florida, MN, and Mississippi.

    * Rehab’s feeling “real good,” says he’s feeling confident, it’s getting stronger. Ready for training camp, which was the plan.
    * January. Sigh. Several mentions of January.
    * McHale, coaching: Playing for McHale wonderful, didn’t feel pressure, could play through mistakes. Sitting back and waiting to see what happens.
    * Kahn: Kahn called him, they had a “great” conversation. Made Al feel confident.
    * Al says he “most definitely” wants to come back lighter, and says he and Kahn discussed that. Says he played heavier last year to play the center position. Wants to be more mobile, and being lighter would help the knee.
    * Sludge cannily uses LeBron to bring up defensive improvement: Al tosses Michael Jordan into the comparison. “I’m not there yet, if I want to be that guy…. I have to step up defensively.” Thinks the weight might help him. McHale and Wittman have “talked to him about” that. “80% of it is just a work ethic.”
    * The draft: Al likes “the idea of a great point guard.” Randy to the two, Sebastian backing up with the second unit is how he sees things.

Lots to like from this, that Kahn and Jefferson had a great conversation, that he’s looking to slim down this offseason (always a good idea in today’s NBA, I never understood the bulking up thing unless of course your Ndudi Ebi), and that he likes the idea of bringing in a great point guard and having Foye shift to the two. Kirk Hinrich anyone? (I should be throwing out my version of a “State of the Wolves” breakdown later this week with a more in depth look at the current team and where to go from here.)
  • After deeper reflection on the draft I am now throwing my hat into the “Wolves should use the #6 to make a move” camp. Here’s to hoping Kahn can leverage it in a deal and pick up a solid player that can contribute who’s team is moving him for cap purposes. (A couple of guys come to mind, Hinrich as I mentioned yesterday, Chris Kaman or Baron Davis would also fit nice and the Clips have to do something, not sure on how he fits but Jamal Crawford is a solid player that could be had from GS, and what about the Sports Guy’s hypothetical deal for the Wolves to get Tony Parker? Sign me up for that one.)
  • The Wolves have to bring back McHale at this point right? The players want him (and seemed to like playing for him and played hard) Otherwise who is left to bring in? It would have to be another current assistant (which always seems hit and miss on who pans out) as Flip and Eddie Jordan were both signed, although a guy like Boston Celtics defensive ace Assitant Coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t be too bad. Really we need a guy who can develop the young guys and isn’t the good stuff we always here about McHale his hands on development of our bigs from KG to Big Al to Love?

Draft Howls…

Ok so obviously there’s a lot to howl about on this topic so let’s get five of my random thoughts out here and we’ll delve deeper later this week with some further commentary.

  • I’ll spare everyone another in depth “the Wolves get screwed once again and have no luck whatsoever” in the lottery piece. But really when are we gonna actually land something special?
  • With the 3 picks they have the Wolves should be one of the more active teams on draft day. Honestly it always seems like the more you hear about guys and their “tremendous upside potential” and sheer “length” as the draft gets closer the more you fall in love with guys, even if they aren’t all that good. Hopefully that won’t be the Wolves this year and we can make some moves to bring in some veterans to fill holes or upgrade some of our younger talent. Kahn will definitely be able to set the tone for the franchise under his leadership on June 25th.
  • My gut instinct on a few players (Again I’ll have more later): Ty Lawson will be better than expected, Demar DeRozan is going to end up more like Gerald Green than Vince Carter, Stephen Curry is the next Barbosa, and Blake Griffin will be better than Oden, Beasley, and Rose but not as good as Durant.
  • This draft class will be only slightly better than the 2000 Draft Class which is the year Kenyon Martin went #1. Take a look at that list for a refresher, barely 6 rotation players from that group. Again I’m hopin the Wolves are dealing on draft day. Maybe I’m rethinking Kahn keeping #6. If he can make a splash with it in a trade it’s probably going to be for a more productive player than we can get.
  • New Poll Question –> Who should the Wolves take with #6?

Weekend Wheaties

What’s better than a bowl of Wheaties on Saturday morning? Besides isn’t that what we all want, a picture of the Wolfies on the cover of a Wheaties Box? 
Here’s 5 spoonfuls to get your weekend started off right… but first let me thank SG over at T-Wolves Blog for the shout-out this morning, welcome anyone coming over from there.
  • Did you know the Howlin’ T-Wolf is on twitter? Follow us here.
  • Welcome to Loud City, an Oklahoma City Thunder blog, throws up a post I was thinking of putting together here… isn’t the Birdman, Chris Anderson, a great pickup this offseason? The stats say yes, my eyes watching the playoffs certainly say yes. This article also seems to alleviate fears he’d fall back into trouble. The only thing I would disagree with WTLC’s breakdown is this, $2-$3 million probably isn’t enough. Half the teams in the league need a quality C/Energy Guy. If a team signs 31 year old James Posey to the full-midlevel last year I would have to think even in the down economy that the Birdman after his performance in the playoffs is going to get something close. To me this would be a great move by Kahn if he can bring the Birdman into our den for anything less than the full mid-level and even that would still probably be worth it. He would fit in great with both Big Al and Love in my opinion and would match the energy of Craig Smith and Coerey Brewer (assuming he can come back healthy) off the bench too. Thats a nice active front line with 3 guys that would come in and play all out every play, something this team has always been shallow on.
  • Jerry Zgoda over at the Trib has the breakdown of players coming in to workout this week. I’ll have a more lengthy draft breakdown later this week but the headliners of guys coming in are Austin Daye from Gonzaga, B.J. Mullens from OSU, and UCLA guard Darren Collison. Based on recent mock draft the Wolves would be looking at these 3 with their picks at 18 and 28. 
  • A number of people around the internet/radio continue to talk about the Wolves trading for Kirk Hinrich. Frankly I like Hinrich and his fit on this team a lot. Some are saying the Wolves are discussing the #6 straight up for him and the other is for Mike Miller. I highly doubt Kahn would send out the #6 right away his fourth week on the job even for a solid guy like Hinrich. Moving Miller after a so-so year here in Minny makes more sense to me and moves one of our surplus wings for a much needed presence in the backcourt. Really there aren’t too many guys that fit in better with Randy Foye than Hinrich in my estimation. A steady ball-handler and decent 3pt shooter who can run the team as well as be a gritty defender that isnt afraid to match up with sg’s (for instance he’s one of the better guys in the league at slowing down the unstoppable D-Wade). So we’ll see if these are merely rumors or if they actually come to fruition in a deal for the Wolves.
  • Kahn is scheduled to meet a second time with Kevin McHale this week. I’ll have more on my thoughts on bringing back McHale as coach later this week.

The Lay-Up Line – Kahn Edition

Each day I’d like to start out with a group of links to T-Wolves news, which I’m dubbing The Lay-Up Line. Something similar to what you find at TrueHoop with the First Cup every morning. I’ll be linking to content all over the place and hopefully it will evolve into something that is a jump-start to the day focusing on the Wolves.

From Timberwolves.com a good roundup of quotes/reactions from around the league on the Wolves hiring David Kahn as their new President of Basketball Operations:

“David helped me as much as anyone that I worked with during my time in Indiana, and his work with Conseco made it the best building in the league. He has a wealth of experience and will do a great job in Minnesota. David is very capable of capitalizing on the position the Timberwolves franchise is in and taking that team to the next level.”
- Donnie Walsh, New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations

“I think the world of David. I’ve known him since we first crossed paths back at UCLA and I have nothing but admiration and respect for all that he’s accomplished throughout his career. David will bring a tremendous background to the job, particularly from his time with Donnie at the Pacers. I’ve always had a fondness for the Timberwolves, and with the group of exciting young players they’ve assembled, I think they have a great opportunity in front of them. I’m thrilled that David is getting this chance and I think he’ll do a phenomenal job.”
– Larry Brown, Charlotte Bobcats Head Coach

“I’m very happy for David. He’s a very intelligent guy and knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone. David has all the tools to get the job done in Minnesota.”
– Larry Bird, Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations

“An excellent hire. David has great knowledge of both the basketball and business sides of an NBA franchise. He is a highly-motivated person that will bring out the best in the people who work with him.”
– Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks Head Coach

“David is a remarkably gifted individual, with a combination of high intelligence, a major-league work ethic, and a great understanding of what makes teams successful. His ability to understand the dynamics of an NBA franchise is a real strength and he’ll be someone the Timberwolves can look to for leadership and sound decision-making.
– Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach

Kahn also had a Q+A with Maury Brown at bizofbasketball.com

One part I found interesting as its something I didn’t really think about. How often are teams scouting players and their character and talent to potentially acquire a player (as opposed to just figuring out how to stop them the next time they play them)?

“Generally, I think we spend an enormous amount of research scouting college players, high school players, and not quite nearly amount of resources of scouting the players who are already in the league. When, now all of a sudden, scouting them, you have a lot more ability to make some more careful assessments. If you have a college kid, you have to project everything. You have to project his place in the league, you have to project how he’ll fit into the league. Can he make the jump? Once they’re in the league, you don’t have to project anymore, you’re watching them play other NBA players. So now, it would seem to me that the need to have information shouldn’t stop when they come into the NBA. It should continue on and you can make the argument that it should be bigger and more substantive.

And the press conference announcing the hiring of Kahn via Timberwolves.com

From the corresponding article:

“Taylor found a new president of basketball operations that encompassed a diverse background seen in other sports. Several examples include Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, and Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.”

That’s some pretty good company to be putting Kahn in. I can only hope he is as good as Morey is in Houston and Epstein is in Boston.