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David Kahn thought Flynn and Rubio were the next Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe

Aug 16, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Jonny Flynn

Ahh, the NBA Draft of 2009. That’s the year the Timberwolves were going to put all these great pieces around Kevin Love — Minnesota had three picks in the top 18.

They selected three point guards — Ricky Rubio at No. 5, Jonny Flynn at No. 6 and eventually Ty Lawson at No. 18 (who was traded to Denver for a pick). It was a Timberwolves draft that had fans, other executives and Love himself perplexed (remember Love tweeted: ‘what are we doing????????????????? omg we better trade….what are we doing??????????? i dont even know’). They didn’t even have a coach yet (they eventually hired Kurt Rambis, who was an odd fit for a team Kahn wanted to run constantly).

There is a fantastic look at Flynn over at Grantland by Jonathan Abrams, and about Flynn’s effort to get back in the league. You should read it. But that’s not the fun part.

What’s fun is the discussion of why Kahn made that pick.

Dave Wohl, Minnesota’s lead assistant, remembers arriving in Minnesota and Kahn asking him whether Rubio and Flynn could prosper playing together. Wohl described Flynn as a good, ambitious kid. He also said that Rubio and (No. 7 pick Stephen) Curry would have made a better pairing. He didn’t believe either Flynn or Rubio could perform at shooting guard. “He said, ‘No, no. I want to play Jonny and Rubio. They remind me of [Walt] Frazier and [Earl] Monroe,'” Wohl said.

“When he said that, I didn’t know what to say. I actually played during the ’70s against Earl and Clyde and there’s just no comparison.” Wohl told Kahn that he did not think it was an accurate comparison. “He said, ‘Yeah, it is. They are two guys who can handle the ball,'” Wohl recalled Kahn saying. “When he started going in that direction, I knew that Kurt was going to have a struggle in him trying to figure out what to do with both those guys when they came because Ricky was clearly a guy who was a great passer and was going to be able to do some things offensively with his passing that Jonny, at that point, wasn’t able to do,” Wohl said.

Wow, is that a misreading of talent. Just stunning. Former Knicks backcourt Frazier and Monroe are in the Hall of Fame after great careers, Rubio and Flynn were not in their class and never were.

Glen Taylor stuck with Kahn longer than most people expected, but this summer jettisoned him in favor of Flip Saunders. Nobody has picked Kahn up. While Flip has made some nice player moves (getting Kevin Martin, for one) his primary job is to repair the franchise’s relationship with Kevin Love and keep him in Minnesota when he can opt out in 2015.

  1. redbullenergydrink - Aug 16, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Hindsight is always 20/20. Considering the Wolves (my team) are always drafting busts, this is a non story. Can’t wait for the season to begin though!

    • biasedhomer - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      Actually, most people thought Flynn over Curry made no sense. (Curry was a Sportscenter highlight reel that entire season).

      Also, Flynn and Rubio were both PGs. Curry was more of a combo guard.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Hindsight isn’t needed to know that drafting 3 point guards in the same draft, all within the top 18 selections is wrong. Yes, we know that there was a trade involved in the last pick but selecting two consecutive point guards with back to back selections at numbers 5 & 6 is wrong too, no hindsight is necessary.

    • borderline1988 - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      This isn’t about drafting a bust. Supposing Flynn would have worked out and had become a legitimate NBA starting PG (you’re right in the sense that hindsight can be 20/20..how many people would have predicted that Ty Lawson could have been worthy of that #5 pick instead of Flynn?).

      The obvious question still remains: Why on earth would you draft 2 PGs who both aren’t great shooters? It just doesn’t make any sense. If there are no other good picks, at least try to trade them. But Kahn actually believed that they would make a great pairing.

      Kahn has made some good moves in his tenure (sort of like how Isiah Thomas can point to a few decent moves in his tenure as Knicks GM) but when you factor in the bone-headed mistakes, you have to scratch your head sometimes…

  2. qpoiu1 - Aug 16, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    KAAAAAAAHN

  3. memphismiracle - Aug 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Yes, that’s right…(waves hands mystically)…2009 was Minnesota’s busted draft, not the year Memphis drafted Thabeet over James Harden and Steph Curry…

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      It’s one thing to guess wrong on talent. It’s another to take three point guards in a row and then trade Lawson instead of Flynn.

      I agree the missing on Curry can be put on a lot of teams. Though the other teams stuck to a sane draft strategy.

  4. skinsfanwill - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    I spent a weekend in Minnesota in December. If I was in the NBA, I’d do anything to get the hell outta there. That place is friggin COLD as hell. And I’m from NY.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      My 94 year old grandmother is tougher than you. She can make it through the Minnesota winters.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Also, was in NYC a year or so ago and that weekend was by far worse than any I have spent in Minnesota, so let’s move the Knicks outta town.

  5. 702heatrock - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    obv, this is a headline from the onion. nobody says stuff this stupid w/o being threatened to be sued al pujols

  6. mnwildfan15 - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    #1 selection in the PSTV this year. IALTO!!

    • thrillhouse763 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      It’s been a slow year and I think we have our #1 seed! ALLLLWAAAYYYYS!

  7. money2long - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    rubio is a pure point guard who can play defense. irving is a multidimensional point guard who is really good at making defenses look silly. derrick rose is a point guard who is just all around fantastic (mvp)…the point guard position has become deep. and there are just so many styles. i just want to state my fandom after kobe, lies in derrick rose. regardless of what you think, and i know lebron is still playing, but i had no problem with rose putting himself in the discussion for best in the game. he is fearless and his game speaks volumes…unfortunately, it was on mute last season.

  8. packersrule52 - Aug 16, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I wanted Evans, Curry, Rubio in that order. After Evans went I figured it would for sure be Rubio and Curry. I couldn’t believe we took Flynn. He was good at Syracuse but Curry just made more sense (and was thought to be better by most). The Wolves had no shooters and Curry was the best in the draft, easily.

    Kahn was probably one of the worst GM’s in history. Basically a writer/attorney/business savvy guy that knew next to nothing about basketball. You could tell from his quotes in the newspaper. Basically just trying to move “assets” (by far his favorite word) around to make it seem like he was doing things.

  9. snoopy2014 - Aug 16, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    This is hilarious. Kahn continues to provide good laughs even when he’s out of the NBA.

  10. donth8thehorns - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Kahn is Snd was the the Tim Brewster hiring of the wolves! Wow

  11. donth8thehorns - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    And I hve lived in MN for 39 years, and hate winters but what makes up for it are the fat women and muggy summers :(

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