To our readers: Thank you for taking part in our Mailbag Monday this week. Star Tribune beat writers received many questions about the teams and leagues we cover, and each writer selected a couple of questions to answer.
Q: You think Gerson Rosas has done a great job? -- @By LeslieMontei1
A: I try as best I can to be an objective reporter, so it’s hard for me to say if someone is doing a good or bad job. Our columnists are the ones paid to tell you if something stinks or smells like roses -- and then you can tell them their opinion stinks or smells like roses.
As it pertains to the job Rosas is doing as Wolves president, I don’t know how anyone can put a firm grade on the job he has done. He’s still assembling his team. I will say that when Rosas took the job a little over a year ago, the ideas he vocalized to the fan base when it came to the rebuilding the franchise have largely come to fruition. He said the Wolves weren’t going to sit back and be passive observers. They were going to be active, especially in the trade market, since that’s where it’s more likely for a franchise like the Wolves to acquire a star player than free agency. And before the deadline in came D’Angelo Russell and out went the at times great but more often frustrating Andrew Wiggins, along with several other players. It was like shift change from the day crew to the night crew at a factory.
Rosas also said he was going to try and build a familial culture around the Wolves, and I get where fans can be skeptical about that kind of corporate speak. But something happened during the season I think showed Rosas has built the kind of atmosphere around the team he envisioned. It came just after the frantic trade deadline when the Wolves had dealt Robert Covington to the Rockets. Covington was back in town getting things to move to Houston, and he decided to come to the Wolves game that night – and he sat next to Rosas. How often does that happen in any professional sport? A player who was just traded shows back up to watch his old team play just a few days after the trade? There can sometimes be hard feelings and usually the next time that player is in the building is when he or she is playing there with their new team. But Covington didn’t feel any bitterness or awkwardness. He felt comfortable enough to come back. Now some others may not have felt the way Covington did, but something like that only happens if you have a solid foundation and strong relationships with players.
Back to basketball, Rosas has made a lot of moves. He was successful in pulling off those moves and getting more players he envisioned for the Wolves style of play and roster construction going forward. Is that vision the right one? Were the moves he made the right moves? That’s still very much up for debate in future seasons, and those will ultimately decide whether Rosas has done a “great” job. Not this season.
Q: Do you think the Wolves are most likely going to have co-head coaches in order to keep [assistant coach David] Vanterpool? What kind of access do the Wolves allow you to have concerning their draft board or draft plans? Has it changed with the change in leadership? The top of this draft does not excite me ... you? – David Herem
A: Let’s start with the coaches. It’s a … creative thought! But I don’t see how that would be practical. There’d be so many ramifications of that. If Vanterpool gets a head coaching job elsewhere in the league, you shake his hand, thank him for his time here and wish him well at the next job. Then you look to find his replacement. That’s just the way of the coaching world.
As it pertains to the Wolves draft board – that access is next to nothing. That kind of stuff teams guard very closely. Rosas has been open with the media, but you typically don’t get that kind of access. That’s not a Rosas thing or a Tom Thibodeau thing, that’s just a fact of life between front offices and media. As for the draft, I like what I’ve seen of Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman on the interwebs, but I haven’t done a deep draft dive. I will do more when we know where the Wolves are picking and when the draft will actually take place.
Do you see the Wolves keeping their picks in the upcoming draft or using them to try and package for a more established vet? -- Dan Chang
A: I’ve gotten a variation of this question in past mailbags and anything is possible. I absolutely see that as an option for the Wolves. No idea if it’ll happen, or if the Wolves will just happy to take (potentially) three new players around with three top 35-ish picks. Let’s talk about that Brooklyn pick they’re in line to get for a second though. That pick conveys only if Brooklyn makes the playoffs. The Nets were on track to do that before the season was postponed (they’re currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference). But what happens if the NBA modifies or cancels the season? What if the league alters the playoff format for this season. Or what if it requires the No. 7 seeds to play a play-in game to get into the playoffs. What if Brooklyn loses that game? What becomes of the pick. There are a lot of unknown scenarios that could play out with this pick. If the league cancels the rest of the season, you might assume that any picks owed would default to how the final standings shook out, but who knows? All signs point to the Wolves getting that pick, but it’s not solidified as of now.