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Kevin Love is the only player the Wolves can count on night after night, and yet they considered trading him as recently as this year, and he and coach Kurt Rambis don’t get along.

Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Wolves have found level that's below rock bottom

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN
  • Star Tribune
  • February 18, 2011 - 7:58 AM

Everywhere I went Wednesday night at Target Center, people kept calling the Timberwolves' latest embarrassment one of their "worst ever," in the way that Charlie Sheen might grade hangovers.

In the enervating annals of Wolvesdom, we have suffered the Ebis and Averys of outrageous fortune, we have gagged on East Bay Funk and choked on that bitter candy known as Starbury, and yet today, your Minnesota Timberwolves might be the worst they've ever been.

They're 13-43 in what was supposed to be a year of improvement. They own the second-worst record in the league, ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the excuse of losing LeBron James and who set a record for most consecutive losses.

Wednesday night, the Wolves lost to a Los Angeles Clippers team at the end of an extended, Grammy-forced road trip, a Clippers team that had just lost to Cleveland, Toronto and Milwaukee. And then your Wolves reached a nadir unimaginable even for those of us who watched Mark Madsen shoot three-pointers.

Darko Milicic, after the game, described his team as too soft. This is the pot calling the kettle a wimp.

When Darko calls you soft, it is time to take your Snuggie and your Krispy Kremes and curl up in your bean-bag chair and watch "Steel Magnolias" while listening to Kenny G. If Darko calls you soft, you are some combination of man and marshmallow. You are a manmallow.

It is one thing to be lousy with a purpose. It is another to be this lousy for this long with no end in sight. So I have provided a simple three-step program to save the Wolves:

1. Fire the owner.

If the Wolves are the sprawling, unsightly weed that ruins your lawn, Glen Taylor is the root that curls around your house's foundation. His leadership has produced a culture of nepotism and incompetence that has ruined the franchise. He should fire himself, but only after firing Rob Moor, who has helped Taylor ruin the franchise.

2. Fire the GM.

David Kahn's arrogance prompted him to run his first draft before hiring a coach and, presumably, without consulting anyone who knows anything about basketball. He is the boss who implements 100 bad ideas, knowing that if he lucks out with one innovation, he can build his entire reputation around it while the 99 failures are forgotten.

The problem with keeping Kahn around is that he will do anything to extend his tenure, so he'll continue to look for flashy moves that obscure his flaws, like one of those orange tanning-bed glows that lacquers over acne scars.

3. Fire the coach.

Kurt Rambis might not be the problem, but he's certainly not the solution. The Wolves have one player a good team would want -- Kevin Love -- and that is the player Rambis displays the most disdain for.

The tension between them is palpable, if the definition of "palpable" is: You can see it on TV.

Love is also the player the Wolves were considering trading just a few months ago, an indication that they didn't even know what they had.

The Wolves constantly look disorganized and lifeless, and never more so than after Rambis spends most of a timeout scribbling on a white board. He then tries to cram four thoughts into his players' heads as they leave the huddle and seems befuddled that they can't remember the plays.

Rambis attributes this to youth, but the NBA is a league in which talented, well-coached young players often thrive.

This is a badly coached team.

When Taylor finally cut ties with Kevin McHale, he had a chance to build a quality organization from the ground up. Instead, he allowed Moor to ignore quality basketball men and wound up with a general manager with no expertise in player personnel, and he allowed that novice GM to conduct an entire draft before hiring a coach.

We have reached this unimaginable juncture: Taylor has made us miss McHale. As a coach, McHale could have been great if he had wanted to be. Missing McHale as a GM is like missing eczema.

With the Wolves in the tank, now the organization's culture of self-preservation will lead to an ugly end to an unsightly season. Kahn probably will try to fire Rambis to save his own job. Taylor might have to choose between his overmatched GM and his floundering coach, and we know what happens when Taylor has to make tough decisions -- he lets Moor help him screw it up.

In the Wolves' organization, incompetence runs downhill, like sewage, and today poor Kevin Love stands ankle-deep in the detritus of what might be the worst organization in pro sports, after one of the worst days in franchise history.

You are a Timberwolf, and Darko Milicic just questioned your heart. You just don't come back from that.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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