Kahn’s Comments Taking From Draft
Tuesday night the Minnesota Timberwolves landed the highest draft pick in their franchise history. There are many things to celebrate, although there was disappointment they were not able to garner the coveted number one selection. The number two pick is always a valuable asset to have in any draft and Minnesota is obviously in need of as many assets as possible. However, the team is in the spotlight since the lottery for the wrong reasons.
“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” David Kahn said. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin, ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”
The comments from the Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations are in reference to the 14-year-old son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who was their representative at the lottery. Abe Pollin is, of course, the long-time owner of the Washington Wizards who passed away. Kahn’s comments, although meant tongue-in-cheek, were incredibly insensitive and are only another blot on Kahn’s resume with Minnesota.
In comments to CBSSports.com, Kahn reiterated his comments were meant as a joke and would not be surprised if a fine were to come his way soon. This comes after an extended period of time earlier this season when Kahn would only do interviews if they were set up through the team’s public relations department, rather than going straight to the source. That was a half-hearted move to keep comments like these—as well as his previous comments on Michael Beasley’s marijuana use in Miami—in check.
It is unfortunate the topic of conversation around the Timberwolves now is the comments meant as a joke, yet came off as offensive. This is a team trying to improve on the NBA’s worst record, sign Ricky Rubio and develop what they believe is their young core of players already on the roster.
“We have a lot of young players, some of whom I think will be pretty fine players, but it needs to now be kind of put together, so to speak,” said Kahn. “I think we need to make some adjustments, but I don’t think we need to make some huge fundamental changes. I think we need to be patient and let the young players develop, much like the Oklahoma City and Memphis franchises have done over the last couple years. I think it’s important for us to re-evaluate everything and make certain that we put this group together.”
In recent weeks, team personnel made the trip to visit Ricky Rubio overseas in an effort to get him to finally sign on to join the Timberwolves. While Rubio’s supposed value has taken a hit in the past two years, there is still intrigue about him. The question in Minnesota has become if it is a better option to sign Rubio to play for Minnesota or if he is best served as a trade chip.
“We took Ricky two years ago with the understanding that he wouldn’t be able to come right away, but he would be able to come someday,” said Kahn. “It’s almost like we anticipate him being on the team in the future, just as we do with all the other players on our roster. Certainly it’s a part of the mindset, yes.”
For a team like the Timberwolves, many believe it should be unsettling to hold the second pick in what many experts consider to be one of the weakest drafts in years. However, not everyone subscribes to that theory, including David Kahn.
“I think time will tell,” said Kahn. “It’s always en vogue to say those sorts of things a month before the draft, but I think that people will be able to—with most of these things, it takes five to seven years. I did read recently somebody mentioned this draft was being compared to another draft that was very weak up top. If you look down the list, it was also a year that Nowitzki went nine and Pierce went ten, which is rare. It usually doesn’t work out that way where the two best players are that far down. You just never know.”
While it may be difficult to see a player of Dirk Nowitzki or Paul Pierce’s status in the 2011 draft, there are always surprise players to make huge impacts on their teams. In addition to where Nowitzki and Pierce were drafted, there are players like Manu Ginobili and Paul Milsap who were second round selections. It all depends on the individual talent the player has, coupled with putting in the proper effort on and off the court once joining an NBA team. That takes time.
“They’re leaving school in many cases one year out and they’re not developed yet and they’re not proven, so as a result, it’s just very difficult, in my opinion, to make those kinds of blanket statements about any class.”
David Kahn was already on a short leash with public comments and the tether may shorten after this. It may be best for him to focus on the draft and not attempting to make media members happy with quotes for their articles.