Revisionist history is the worst kind of history because it seeks impossible answers and typically leaves us with regret over something we cannot change.
That will not stop every Minnesota sports fan who has paid even a speck of attention to the NBA over the past six years from doing something between a casual wonder and an ALL-CAPS scream when it comes to reconsidering the 2009 draft and what might have been.
Those yelps were even louder Monday, when the news became official that the Warriors’ Stephen Curry was named the NBA’s MVP. Invoking the name of Curry invokes the names of David Kahn and Jonny Flynn — the Wolves personnel boss who passed on Curry and a player he chose instead.
Often ignored as part of this is that Kahn and the Wolves actually had two swings at Curry, with the Nos. 5 and 6 picks. They drafted two point guards — Ricky Rubio and Flynn, neither of whom is Curry — and the rest is revisionist history.
What has happened since then? It’s not quite the good, the bad and the ugly … more like the spectacular, the decent and the ugly. For a refresher, here is a snapshot of all three, in the order they were drafted:
• Rubio, No. 5 overall pick: Spent two years in Spain before arriving in Minnesota and has since had parts of three seasons influenced largely by major injuries (torn ACL and last year’s bad ankle). At his best, he’s a passing wizard and an upper-echelon defender. But despite efforts to improve his shooting, it remains a glaring weakness.
• Flynn, No. 6 overall pick: He had a decent rookie year (13.5 points per game), but a hip injury slowed him down and he was never the same after that. He hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012, bouncing around in various injury-marred stints with foreign teams since then.
• Curry, No. 7 overall pick: The concern coming out of college was that Curry wasn’t a “true” point guard and that his lack of size would be a detriment in the NBA. What he’s become is the league’s most dangerous shooter and a passer every bit as good as Rubio, if not better. Along the way he went from good to very good to star to superstar to MVP.
There is, of course, no telling how Curry would have developed with the Wolves or how he would have impacted their roster. Would they have been good enough that they wouldn’t have traded Kevin Love — and thus never acquired Andrew Wiggins?
There again is the danger in revisionist history, whereby we have the tendency to only change one fact and not every circumstance that would have changed with a different initial reality.
That does not stop us, in this case, from restating the obvious: The Wolves made a colossal blunder six years ago, and they made it twice.