You don’t have to like LaVar Ball, but know he’s the latest in a long line of parents/agents who have tried to influence where they child was drafted and played.
To make that point, former Minnesota GM David Kahn (KAAAHHHNNNN!) wrote a story for Sports Illustrated talking about one of the most infamous moments in Timberwolves draft history — when they drafted back-t0-back point guards at No. 5 and 6 in 2009, but left Stephen Curry on the board.
In 2009, just days after my May 22 hiring as President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the agent for Steph Curry told me that Steph’s father, Dell, did not want his son to be drafted by Minnesota—“No offense,” as I recall Jeff Austin, his agent saying to me at the Chicago draft combine.
Jeff Austin, who I’d known casually, had represented Dell Curry when he was a player. He had been handed Steph due to his connection to Dell and told me this was a family request. “I really need your help on this,” Jeff said, explaining why there would be no visit and perhaps even hell-to-pay. (As it turned out, this was the only time when I was with the Wolves that I ever ran into this type of draft problem.)…
So we now had the Nos. 5 and 6 picks in the draft. Taking not one, but two players who might not want to play in Minnesota? That would have taken real cojones. We took Rubio and Jonny Flynn, a ready-to-play point guard who started 81 games for us as a rookie and then fell victim to a terrible hip injury. At the time, drafting Flynn made a lot of sense: we didn’t have a single point guard on the roster and our staff had ranked him No. 1 among all point-guard prospects for not only his on-court play, but also his strong leadership qualities, a significant team need.
Despite the criticism he has taken at times, Rubio has not been a terrible pick.
Flynn, on the other hand, struggled due to more than that injury. However, he had a fantastic workout and meeting with the Timberwolves, while Curry would not come for a workout. Kahn made his call.
And a couple of titles and a couple MVP awards later, history has written the story. Just consider this a cautionary tale about how things can get done.