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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Kirilenko decision could help Flip escape

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: June 29, 2013 - 3:32 PM

Andrei Kirilenko did the Timberwolves a favor by deciding not to pick up the $10 million player's option for the 2013-14 season. There now will be some money for Flip Saunders to try to make up for his blundering in Thursday's draft.

This was the first draft that officially belonged to Saunders and, whatever his excuses, this was the bottom line:

He started with a choice in the top 10 and wound up with a player that he didn't want and doesn't fit with his team.

If David Kahn had maneuvered to turn the No. 9 selection into Shabazz Muhammad, the Wolves fans (still plural, I believe) would be hostile and the NBA's Kahn-bashing national media would be celebrating his ineptitude. Since it's Flip, the fans are merely agitated and the national folks have ranged from tolerant to positive.

Hogwash.

Kevin Love is coming off a season in which he played 18 games, yet he's still getting the star treatment ... so much so that Saunders rejected a chance to turn him into Victor Oladipo, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. He also could have then kept Trey Burke, the potentially great player who wound up in Flip's lap on Thursday, however briefly.

Saunders decided Burke was rendundant as a point guard on a team with Ricky Rubio, sent him to Utah, and wound up with Muhammad. He's 6-foot-6, never threw a pass that he really wanted to on a basketball court, and won't be quick enough to guard an off guard or strong enough to guard a small forward.

The worst part of Muhammad's resume are those 0.7 assists per game as a UCLA freshman. He would rather take on a triple-team than find an open teammate.

The fact fired UCLA coach Ben Howland has been defending him with, "That's the way we asked Shabazz to play,'' is more hogwash. The only big-time college coach in history who didn't want a player to make an occasional pass was Press Maravich when he was coaching son Pistol Pete at LSU.

The real problem here is that Love plays with one eye on his points and the other on his rebounds. He wants his shots to get his 22 points a game. We know how quickly his feelings can be hurt.

And now the Wolves are bringing in dedicated shot hog as the new blood for the lineup?

The only good news in the past 72 hours for the Wolves was Kirilenko's decision to decline the option. Thanks to that, estimates are Saunders will go into Monday's free agency with $7 million in cap room to spend on a shooting guard.

That's not enough for J.J. Redick, and makes O.J. Mayo more probable.

Mayo shot 40 percent on threes last season for Dallas. He also continued to avoid defense, as does Muhammad, as does Love. Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams try a little more, but they aren't very good at it.

Late in the 2010-11 season, I was interviewing Kahn on the public airwaves and offered this opinion: "You are the head of basketball operations for the worst defensive team in the history of professional sports in this country.''

Kahn rejected this as hyperbole, while admitting the Wolves were bad defensively. If Flip winds up with Love, Mayo and Muhammad sharing the court, "worst defensive team in history'' might not be hyperbole.

Go ahead, tell me about this character Flip took with the second first-rounder -- [Georgie Jeng] -- being a rim protector. That will help for the 12 minutes that a high-priced Pek isn't playing, leaving only the other 36 to bring agony to Rick Adelman.

Muhammad at No. 14 comes with a resume similar to the No. 14 in 2005, Rashad McCants, other than ''Boz'' is two inches taller and presumably has never romanced the huskier of the Kardashians..

 

 

 

 

 

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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

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