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Give David Kahn credit, he hit a home run this summer

Sep 12, 2011, 8:42 PM EDT

Image (1) david-kahn-thumb-250x166-16426.jpg for post 3277

Kicking Timberwolves General Manager David Kahn has been a favorite past time of bloggers and NBA writers for years.

With reason. There were moves like brining in Kurt Rambis as coach to run the triangle offense — an offense minimizes traditional point guard play — then instantly drafting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn back-to-back at No. 5 and No. 6 in the draft. Rambis turned out to be a flop, anyway. There was giving a four-year deal to Darko Milicic. There were oh, so many more.

But give the man credit — this summer he knocked it out of the park.

He convinced Ricky Rubio to leave Barcelona and come over to the United States next season, even when there were serious questions if there would be a next season. Rubio has his flaws and his jump shot needs work (a lot of work), but he can defend and has a court vision you can’t teach. He could be special. And he’s just 20 but has been playing on the international stage for years.

Kahn then got lucky — the Timberwolves won just 17 games last season so they had the most ping pong balls in the lottery — and Kahn ended up with the No. 2 overall pick. He shopped it around, apparently asked for the moon, and when he didn’t get it he kept it. Then he did the right thing and took Derrick Williams with it — that guy can score at the NBA level and will be a good small forward. How much Williams can develop his defense and all around game remains to be seen, but he can finish and has looked good in transition and at the rim in pro-ams. Playing with Rubio he will get some chances to show that off.

And now Kahn has gone out and hired Rick Adelman as coach. It is a great hire for this team. (Not everyone agrees with that, but I think it is.)

First, Adelman comes in with a good relationship with Kevin Love, something Rambis lacked. Where that really matters is Love telling Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune that hiring Adelman makes it much more likely Love re-signs with Minnesota (he is up for an extension off his rookie deal whenever the lockout ends).

Where Love’s frayed relationship with his previous coach showed was when Rambis sat Love and used other tactics to get him to play better defense. Adelman comes in with gravitas, Love (and others) will listen to and respect him. They will follow. Also, both Love and Rubio are high hoops IQ guys, guys mature for their age, who should react well to Adelman’s style.

Adelman’s teams run, and with the Timberwolves roster (Love’s outlet passes, Rubio in transition, Williams and Beasley finishing) they must run. This team is made to run. The problem was last year the Wolves also turned the ball over a lot — Adelman’s teams do not do that.

When they do go into the half court, Adelman’s corner offense matches well with the triangle principles Rambis teaches and big men who can pass like Darko and Love. This should be a fit.

Kahn’s moves this summer have made the Timberwolves a lot better. They may not make the playoffs next season (this is a very deep West still and they have a long way to go) but this team is on the right track.

Minnesota got a lot better in the last few months because of David Kahn. He deserves the kudos now.

  1. btwicey - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Well done wolves and well done David, things can only improve and things are looking up, going to be interesting to see how well they go.

    • cusoman - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:48 PM

      To be fair, it’s not hard to improve on being the worst :)

      That being said, this is a HUGE win for the Wolves. A few years and this team will definitely be respectable again!

  2. cosanostra71 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I still don’t see them being very good next year.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:18 AM

      nor should they be. baby steps. mchale ran this franchise into the ground

  3. wvan10 - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Did I miss something? Doesn’t Rick Adelman still have to coach (aside from Love) a team of cast offs (Milicic, Ridnour, Brad Miller) and unproven youth (Rubio, Wesley Johnson, Beasley, and now Derrick Williams)? He coudn’t win the title with Drexler, Robinson, Kersey, Duckworth, Porter or Webber, Bibby, Peja and Vlade or Yao, McGrady, Scola and company. How’s he gonna do with these guys?? Much worse. The T-Wolves have been this same type of team since KG left and next year will be much of the same. So Kudos Kaaaahn!!! …..for keeping the status quo, Congrats!!

    • dmo84 - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:08 AM

      C’Mon Man! Give the guy some credit. His Portland team’s lost to a dynasty team(Chicago Bulls) and one almost dynasty(Detroit Pistons). And his Sacramento teams happened to be in the same conference as the Lakers. Who would have thought the Kings would contend for the conference title with cast-offs Bibby, Vlade, Bobby Jackson. And it wasn’t his fault that his two best players(McGrady and Yao) were alway’s injured in Houston. Based on past performances and his resume, this is the Wolves best hire in their existence.

      • wvan10 - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        I’m merely just pointing out the obvious. The T-Wolves are still going to win around 25 to 35 games and be in the lottery. Adelman’s an above average coach, not a championship coach. He just doesn’t have the ammunition to guide these players to become a winning team. Blame David Kahn, it’s really his deal.

  4. greatminnesotasportsmind - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Oh dear God? Did somebody from this site actually give praise to Kahn??

    With reason. There were moves like brining in Kurt Rambis as coach to run the triangle offense — an offense minimizes traditional point guard play — then instantly drafting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn back-to-back at No. 5 and No. 6 in the draft. Rambis turned out to be a flop, anyway.

    –Kurt, if you look back Kahn drafted Rubio and Flynn before they hired Rambis. I am guessing Kahn’s thinking was if you draft Rubio (and at pick #5 he had to, espically since he got that pick for just about nothing. look it up) he won’t be here for a few years. In the mean time, you take Flynn and see what you got with him. If he blows up and you get Rubio, that’s either a nice problem on your hands or more trading chips, which he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on a trade. And yes, Rambis was a flop, HE was the one that was trying to force the triangle offense, not Kahn. Had Kahn known that, maybe he doesn’t draft PG’s back to back.

    There was giving a four-year deal to Darko Milicic

    — Kurt, who are you going to get that is better? Darko has talent, we have seen it. He is just scared to use it. It’s like he is scared to even dunk the ball. Darko does play defense a little bit, and considering this team playing defense, he might be the best we have at defense.

    — As far as Rubio, he NEVER ONCE said he never wanted to play for the Wolves. He knew he was coming sooner or later. Drafting Williams was the right move. Adelman is the perfect guy. I will still never forget Rambis BENCHING Kevin Love in the home opener last year in the final minutes in a close game. WTF?!?!?! Adelman coming in having a great relationship with Love, will also help hopefully show Love this team has some talent. May not make the playoffs, but let’s hope the Clippers pick won’t be in the top 8 (thanks mchale). This team should win 30 games this year. If we can get that, everybody in this state will be happy. Target Center will start to fill this year, and even more next year if Kahn can keep improving this roster.

    • wvan10 - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:36 AM

      Wow, 30 wins. That’s quite a goal. So happy not to be a wolves fan. And not matter what anyone says, drafting two lottery point guards was redic regardless of who the coach was or the system you wanted to implement. Darko??? That’s a joke altogether. When it comes to David Kahn, I feel kind of like I’m sure Chris Webber does:

      • whatagreatfootballmind - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:38 AM

        Chris Webber…consider the source

  5. rajbais - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    No way!!!

    That should go to Glen Taylor because he at least has cash!!!!

    David Kahn = The NBA’s worst GM!!!

  6. mystereo - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:24 AM


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