David Kahn puts the audacity of hope to the test unlike any other general manager.
After two seasons at the helm — where Minnesota has won a combined 32 games — Kahn had this to say at a press conference Wednesday (via Canis Hoopus‘ twitter feed):
We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be with the roster.
League likes Wolves’ roster, talent, youth, and athleticism.
Really? Um, okay. (The league likes Kevin Love, who was there when Kahn arrived, and the idea of Ricky Rubio’s potential, after that not so much.) Tom Ziller summed it all up very well at SB Nation.
In 2009, Kahn took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with the No. 5 and 6 picks; Rubio remains in Spain, and Flynn has been a disaster. (Ty Lawson was Kahn’s No. 18 pick in that draft; Kahn traded him to Denver on draft night for a 2011 pick that became Luke Babbitt, who was traded to Portland for Martell Webster, who this season produced far less than Lawson while being older and more than twice as expensive.)
In 2010, Kahn passed up DeMarcus Cousins for Wesley Johnson at No. 4 because of a frontcourt glut. Kahn then signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, traded Al Jefferson for cap space, part of which he used to acquire Michael Beasley and the rest of which he used to facilitate a deal for Anthony Randolph. These — Beasley and Randolph — are good moves on their own. Add the context of what Kahn passed up and gave up, and it’s UGLY.
There need to be changes in Minnesota, and while we have our own thoughts about how universal those changes should be, Kahn’s words made it sound like Kurt Rambis may want to find a realtor to help put his home on the market soon.
Kahn said no decision on the future of two-season coach Rambis until Kahn had a meeting with owner Glen Taylor after the season. (Kahn may want to hope that Taylor doesn’t get a video of the press conference before that meeting.) Kahn never endorsed or seemed to support Rambis and the impression of everyone there was that Kahn wants to fire Rambis.
I have no idea how good a coach Rambis is; to try and judge what he did with this roster is impossible. Phil Jackson with Gregg Popovich as his assistant could not get more than a couple more wins out of this collection of talent.
Really, what was most disturbing about the press conference was what someone on twitter described as Kahn seeming to be watching the train wreck as if he is a bystander and not the guy driving the train. He really thinks this 17-win Wolves team is better than the 25-win team he inherited. It’s not. And it’s hard to see how it gets noticeably better in the next couple years.