Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

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Are Wolves better off than they were 4 years ago?

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 3, 2013 - 5:16 AM

David Kahn was hired as the Timerwolves president of basketball operations on May 22, 2009. The Timberwolves had gone 24-58 during the 2008-09 season and had lost an enormous amount of money. The two main edicts from owner Glen Taylor to Kahn were clear:

One, get a decision from Kevin McHale on whether he wanted to return as the coach only; and two (and most importantly), get the payroll in order.

McHale had been running the team as the vice president of basketball operations for 14 years. He had coached the final 63 games (20-43) of the 2008-09 season. There was never much chance Kevin was going to work for his successor, but that still was out there when Kahn took the job.

The 2009 draft is remembered as a Kahn embarrassment, even though he had been on the job for only 34 days and was relying on McHale's basketball people to rate the players. The Wolves took three point guards in that draft: Ricky Rubio at No. 5, Jonny Flynn at No. 6 and Ty Lawson at No. 18 in a prearranged deal with Denver.

Rubio stayed in Spain for two years, which proved an advantage for his game and for the Timberwolves. Flynn turned out to be a non-shooter and thus a non-player. Lawson is terrific, although the chance that the Wolves would have taken a third point guard if they had been drafting for themselves at No. 18 is nil.

Kahn said Thursday during a radio interview that Flynn was rated No. 1 by the Wolves scouts among available point guards in the 2009 draft. If so, the scouts were dead wrong, and Kahn should have been looking for advice elsewhere.

It should be remembered in savaging the Flynn choice that Kahn and his scouts did make a good trade on the day before the draft to get the No. 5 pick to go with the No. 6 that Wolves held. They traded Mike Miller (and his $9 million salary) and Randy Foye ($2.8 million) to Washington for three warm bodies and the fifth pick.

The coach on the other end of that trade was Flip Saunders, newly hired in Washington. This was the lead on the Washington Post's story the day after the trade:

"When Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld approached coach Flip Saunders about the possibility of acquiring Mike Miller and Randy Foye from the Minnesota Timberwolves, he didn't have to make a hard sell. Saunders, the former Timberwolves coach, still has a residence in suburban Minneapolis and spent his season away from coaching watching his former team on a regular basis.

"Because he was familiar with the strengths of both players, Saunders was immediately on board. 'If we can get those two guys,' Saunders recalled telling Grunfeld, 'it's almost a no-brainer.' ''

Let's hope Flip is wiser in his new role as Kahn's replacement than he was four years ago in endorsing a trade to add the washed-up Miller as a $9 million player.

For Kahn, the Washington trade did a great deal toward getting the payroll in order, as Glen Taylor had insisted.

The Timberwolves concluded the 24-victory 2008-09 season with Al Jefferson, Mark Madsen and Jason Collins (whatever happened to him?) as centers, rookie Kevin Love, Craig Smith, Shelden Williams and Brian Cardinal as power forwards, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes and Rodney Carney as small forwards, Miller and Foye as off guards, and Sebastien Telfair, Kevin Ollie and Bobby Brown as point guards.

The Timberwolves concluded the 31-victory season of 2012-13 with Nikola Pekovic, Greg Stiemsma and Chris Johnson as centers, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham and an injured Love at power forwards, Andrei Kirilenko and Mickael Gelabele as small forwards, Chase Budinger as small forward/ off guard, Luke Ridnour as point guard/ off guard, Alexey Shved and injured Malcolm Lee as off guards, and Rubio and J.J. Barea as point guards.

Have the Timberwolves screwed up personnel opportunities on several occasions in the past four years? Yes.

Are the Timberwolves better off in May 2013 than they were in May 2009? Also, yes.



Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 7 1st Qtr 1:42
Miami 0
Baltimore 0 1st Qtr 2:08
Houston 3
Detroit 7 1st Qtr 2:00
Chicago 0
Cleveland 0 1st Qtr 1:00
Carolina 3
Atlanta 3 1st Qtr 4:04
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 0 1st Qtr 4:02
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 3 1st Qtr 0:35
Pittsburgh 3
New England 0 2nd Qtr
NY Jets 0
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 2:30 PM
Memphis 3:30 PM
Boston 5:00 PM
Detroit 5:00 PM
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Indiana 6:00 PM
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Dallas 5:00 PM
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Harvard 21 2nd Half 5:34
Virginia 64
Maine 12 1st Half 9:45
Army 14
Ferris State 18 1st Half 8:42
Bowling Green 19
San Francisco 20 1st Half 6:28
Cleveland State 14
Oregon State 22 1st Half 2:59
Quinnipiac 27
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
FIU 1:30 PM
Goshen 1:35 PM
Bryant 2:00 PM
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
ULM 2:00 PM
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Troy 3:30 PM
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 29 2nd Half
Denver 37
St Marys-CA 45 2nd Half 7:47
George Washington 62
TX-San Antonio 42 2nd Half 4:20
Nicholls 47
Portland State 49 2nd Half 7:28
Columbia 56
Tenn Tech 50 2nd Half 3:45
Morgan State 49
SMU 27 2nd Half 10:00
Auburn 47
Quinnipiac 62 2nd Half 6:08
Hartford 45
Hofstra 53 2nd Half 11:08
Boston College 44
Eastern Washington 46 2nd Half 4:19
Georgia Southern 35
Liberty 14 1st Half 5:30
(1) South Carolina 31
Fairleigh Dickinson 29 1st Half 4:01
Brown 27
Buffalo 21 1st Half 5:41
Long Island 26
Bucknell 24 1st Half 5:55
Mount St Marys 21
Stony Brook 17 1st Half 6:03
Wagner 22
FIU 23 1st Half 6:08
Wofford 16
Duquesne 13 1st Half 9:09
Providence 7
Maine 23 1st Half 3:51
William & Mary 16
Alabama State 13 1st Half 7:38
Samford 17
TX-Pan American 14 1st Half 5:49
VA Commonwealth 16
South Dakota St 26 1st Half 4:56
Marist 23
Saint Josephs 22 1st Half 2:47
(5) Notre Dame 29
Radford 17 1st Half 5:53
Virginia Tech 17
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
Rhode Island 1:00 PM
Evansville 1:00 PM
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Princeton 1:00 PM
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Rider 1:00 PM
SC State 1:00 PM
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
South Alabama 1:00 PM
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
NJIT 1:00 PM
Davidson 1:00 PM
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Wright State 1:30 PM
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Dayton 2:00 PM
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Idaho State 3:00 PM
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion


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