Happy Monday. I'm returning after serving my Star Tribune furlough, and thinking that there couldn't be a worst juxtaposition for the Minnesota Timberwolves than David Kahn's ``Show of hands?'' press conference, followed by a stunning beginning to the NBA playoffs.

Even if you don't like the NBA, you have to admit that this was great drama. Upsets, incredible skill, passion, defense, shot-making...pro sports don't get much better than when the best athletes on the planet play their hardest on every possession.

What's sad, though, is that Oklahoma City has the best young team and perhaps the best NBA atmosphere in the land, and Minnesota...doesn't.

That Memphis, a team that lost the Kevin Love trade with Kevin McHale and not too long ago looked just as lost as a franchise, just won Game 1 of a playoff series because of shrewd personnel moves and excellent coaching.

That New Orleans just upset the Lakers because of one great point guard and one promising coach, two entities the Wolves still lack.

Who can watch these games and think the Wolves are anywhere close to being a playoff team?

Show of hands?


If Tubby Smith communicates to his players the way he communicates with Star Tribune Gopher basketball beat writer Myron Medcalf in the Q&A that appeared in our paper, no wonder they always look so confused on offense.


I'll write about this more later in the week, but I think so many people are asking the wrong questions about Mauer.

The question isn't: Is Joe Mauer a wimp? I know how hard he works and that he wants to play.

The question isn't: Is Mauer devalued if he changes positions?

The question is: How do you get the most out of your franchise player? And the answer to that is: Eventually move him to another position, where he can play 155 games and hit .340 with pop, instead of playing 120 games and hitting .310 with little pop. That's where we're headed: His legs continue to bother him. When he was fresh, in 2009, he had the best year of his career. Other years, when his legs bother him, he becomes a beat-up guy who takes good at-bats.

Forget about the $23 million a year. He'll never be worth that, just as Alex Rodriguez will never be worth his contract. All that matters now is getting the most out of him. I'm afraid the Twins won't get the most out of him as a catcher, at least not for much longer.


I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 today and all week. My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.


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Chicken or egg...

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Tuesday's series of random thoughts