Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate
Topics

Mr. Dilettante: Can the Timberwolves be saved?

Glen Taylor built a hugely successful, multibillion dollar business in his day job, but he’s never quite figured out how the NBA works.

You might have heard of these guys. I have it on good authority that they are an actual NBA franchise and that they regularly play some of the best basketball teams in the world, in much the same manner that the Washington Generals play the Harlem Globetrotters. One of their players seems to have a connection to the Beach Boys, too.

It’s the Timberwolves, of course, perhaps the least-relevant team in town. They improved their results by over 10% this season, but going from 15 wins to 17 isn’t so great when you still are the worst team in the league. So what is wrong with these guys?

I’d say it’s pretty simple — it’s ownership. Glen Taylor built a hugely successful, multibillion dollar business in his day job, but he’s never quite figured out how the NBA works. The team got lucky one time in the draft and got Kevin Garnett, but that was over 15 years ago now and for the most part they have been pretty rudderless since then. The current majordomo, David Kahn, is an arrogant dude who loves making deals but seems to have no sense of the big picture. He stocks up on point guards and power forwards but there’s no coherence to the roster he’s assembled.

Meanwhile, the coach he brought in, Kurt Rambis, seemed to be at odds with what Kahn wanted the team to do. If you bring in a bunch of young athletes and then market the team as a running squad, you probably don’t want to bring in a coach who uses a complicated set offense that works best in the half-court game.

So what do we have in Minnesota now? The best player is Kevin Love, who fits the Rambis scheme. Most of the other guys who are on the team (Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph, Martell Webster, etc.) don’t. They await the arrival of Ricky Rubio, a 20-year old Spaniard who isn’t exactly tearing up Europe. And they might, at long last, have the first pick in the draft, in a year where the best players are all power forwards.

What do you do? If it were me, I’d get rid of Kahn and bring in a guy who has built winners elsewhere. Give him the power to pick his own coach. And then wait. What would you do?

This post was written by Mark Huering and originally published on Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.