If you stayed up late to watch the Oscars last night, you were rewarded with a mess-up for the ages. Better yet: if you went to bed one minute after “La La Land” was announced as the winner of the Best Picture award and managed to stay away from your smartphone until this morning, you woke up to one of the all-time “whaaaaaaaaaaaat?” moments in your life.
You didn’t come here for a recap, but just in case you somehow missed it and are getting your only movie news from a sports blog (and a writer who didn’t see ANY of the nominated films because, well, kids) “La La Land” was announced the winner. But it was a bizarre mistake that had to do with an incorrect envelope (or at least that’s what they want us to believe). After a few acceptance speeches from the cast and crew, the trophies were taken away and “Moonlight” was given the real award.
Amazing stuff. In searching for the sports equivalent, I thought about NFL officials ripping the Lombardi Trophy away from the Patriots after determining the Falcons were the true champions … but that didn’t quite seem right.
A far better comparison: a draft-night mix-up.
Max Rappaport got the ball rolling with this tweet about the 2015 NBA Draft. From there, I couldn’t resist looking back at a little Wolves history. Here are five Oscar-worthy do-overs from past Wolves drafts. If only they had the envelopes wrong …
1. Josh Howard instead of Ndudi Ebi in 2003: Howard was a four-year player at Wake Forest and the kind of guy who could have immediately helped a veteran Wolves squad. Ebi was a high school-to-pros project. The Wolves passed on Howard with the No. 26 pick and took Ebi instead. But I have a feeling Warren Beatty really meant to say the Wolves took Howard, who went on to have a very nice career with the Mavericks. He just had the wrong envelope. And David Kahn will never be able to leap home.
2. Joakim Noah instead of Corey Brewer in 2007: I have nothing against Brewer, a great guy who has carved out a nice NBA career despite being a terrible golfer and a poor outside shooter. But what the envelope really said in 2007 was that the Wolves took Joakim Noah, his Florida teammate, with the No. 7 pick instead of letting Noah slide to the Bulls at No. 9.
3. Stephen Curry instead of Jonny Flynn (or Ricky Rubio) in 2009: This is the big one, of course. The Wolves had TWO chances to draft Steph Curry in 2009. And instead, they took two different point guards not named Curry. One was understandable. Rubio looked to be a rising star from Spain. While his career hasn’t quite lived up to that hype, he’s a solid NBA point guard. The real pain comes from Flynn at No. 6. It must just be one big misunderstanding and someday we’ll find out Curry’s name was really on that envelope.
4. DeMarcus Cousins instead of Wes Johnson in 2010: We can play the hindsight game big-time on this one and insist the Wolves should have taken Paul George or Gordon Hayward (players who, like Johnson, were small forwards). But the more realistic lament is passing on Cousins. Sure, he’s been labeled a pain in the butt. He’s also one of the most dominant big men in the game. Did that piece of paper really say Cousins at No. 4 instead of Johnson? It’s possible.
5. Klay Thompson instead of Derrick Williams: The 2011 draft was kind of a dud, and you can’t really fault the Wolves for choosing Williams — who was basically the consensus pick at No. 2 after Kyrie Irving went No. 1. But if you’ve seen the envelope like I have and know that it really had Klay Thompson’s name on it, you can’t help but wonder how the Wolves’ roster would be different now.