Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just To Make Sure Everyone's Sufficiently Fired Up

SI recently posted a list of top 15 NBA draft busts, in no particular order, and I could not help but notice there were exactly ZERO Minnesota Timberwolves picks that made this particular list (yes, the world needs more LIST DRAMA). I'll be honest: the T-Wolves draft lore holds a special place in my heart. It's so outlandishly, laughably pathetic and sad that it's very endearing to me. In fact, a few years ago, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published a gigantic list of every player to have EVER played for the T-Wolves, and I enjoyed it so much, I cut it out and hung it in the back of my closet, to make sure I at least glance at it every morning to get my day started right.

Onward to the T-Wolves 1st round draft history, starting in...

Pick 10 - Pooh Richardson

Career Stats with the T-Wolves in three years (89-90 to 91-92) - 15.0 ppg, 8.1 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 spg
Others they could have had - Mookie Blaylock (12), Tim Hardaway (14), Dana Barros (16), not to mention a pretty badass forward by the name of Shawn Kemp (17).
▪ Okay, this was the first T-Wolves draft pick ever, and he was alright, nothing spectactular. It was smart to look for a PG/leader type for an expansion squad, but he wasn't the right guy to try and lead a brand new team. Of course, he was playing with guys like Brad Lohaus and Randy Breuer, so he was asked to do too much. He ended up being traded to Indiana for Michael Williams and Chuck Person, who was pretty good for a while, and was also one half of my favorite all-time worthless NBA Jam pairings, with Christian Laettner. Also: I wish SI still made posters like that. I'd at least have a Darko or a Ron Coomer poster in my office cube.

▪ Pick 6 - Felton Spencer

Career Stats in three years with the T-Wolves (90-91 - 92-93) - 5.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.2 bpg

Pick 20 - Gerald Glass

Career Stats in a little more than two years with the T-Wolves (90-91 - 92-93) - 7.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 2.0 rpg, 0.7 spg
Other players they could have had - Uh, well, it was a pretty lousy draft.
▪ Spencer was widely considered a joke during his tenure in Minnesota, but went onto becoming a decent bench player after leaving (a recurring theme). The guy was part of the fraternity of Impossibly Huge Dudes That Can't Move, along with Will Perdue, Bill Wennington, Joe Klein, among others, including the guy drafted in 91. As for Glass, well, you know you're an awesome draft pick when you have barely any results on Google Image search. He was out of the league after four years.

Pick 7 - Luc Longley

Career Stats in 2 1/2 years with the T-Wolves (91-92 - 93-94) - 5.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.2 bpg
▪ Other players they could have had - Stacey Augmon (9, who would have been a good fit), Brian Williams (10, eventually Bison Dele), Terrell Brandon (11, who would join the team a few years later), Dale Davis (13), Chris Gatling (16)
▪ Come on, everyone knows Luc Longley. Everyone loves Luc Longley. He seems like a cool guy. Just not someone you'd draft 7th overall. Yes, someone drafted Luc Longley 7th overall, and yes, it was the T-Wolves 2nd year in a row drafting an Impossibly Huge Dude That Can't Move. I guess one stiff averaging 5 points a game wasnt enough. This was the first major sign that indicated perhaps this team doesn't know its ass from a hole in the ground.

▪ Pick 3 - Christian Laettner

Career Stats in four years with the T-Wolves (92-93 - 95-96) - 17.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.2 spg
Other players they could have had - No one of note, unless you consider Tom Gugliotta (5), who they ended up with a few years later.
▪ Realistically, there was no one else the T-Wolves could take here. Laettner was the Golden Boy, the savior, fresh off the freaking ORIGINAL DREAM TEAM for god's sake. Laettner put up good numbers while he was there, but he couldn't handle the pressure of being The Guy, whined way too much about not getting calls (you thought 'Sheed and Tim Duncan were bad?), and was practically unanimously deemed unlikeable and very difficult to get along with by teammates, fans and media alike. He was mercifully traded to Atlanta during the 95-96 season for approximately 40 cents on the dollar (with Sean Rooks for Spud Webb and Andrew Lang). This was the first major sign that indicated perhaps this team has atrociously bad luck. Also, it warrants mentioning that so far, Laettner is the leader in the clubhouse for most years spent with the T-Wolves as a first round pick, at a whopping three and a half.

▪ Pick 5 - Isaiah "J.R." Rider

Career Stats in three years with the T-Wolves (93-94 - 95-96) - 18.9 ppg, 2.9 apg, 3.8 rpg, 0.7 spg
Other players they could have had - Allan Houston (11), Sam Cassell (24), Nick Van Exel (37)
▪ Determined to screw up their locker room chemistry even more, the T-Wolves front office said "Pish posh!" to all the people that said J.R. Rider was a ticking time-bomb. He had talent, obviously, and had a number of "Holy Sh!t" plays (he won the 1994 Dunk Contest with an insane between the legs dunk), but several suspensions and one count of assault later, he was dealt to Portland after the 95-96 season for Bill Curley, James "Hollywood" Robinson, a conditional first round pick in 97 or 98, a 6-pack of padded crew socks and a slightly worn Extreme Pornograffiti 1990 World Tour t-shirt.

Pick 4 - Donyell Marshall

Career Stats in 40 games with the T-Wolves (1994) - 10.8 ppg, 1.4 apg, 4.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg ▪ Other players they could have had - Juwan Howard (5), Jalen Rose (13)
▪ Marshall was traded to Golden State for Tom Gugliotta after 40 games, a good deal in retrospect, one of maybe two in franchise history. Marshall is still in the league, toiling with the Cavaliers, but still, it just goes to show that the T-Wolves used the 4th overall pick in the draft on a career 6th man with exceedingly mediocre game.

▪ Pick 5 - Kevin Garnett

Career Stats in 12 years with the T-Wolves (95-96 - 06-07) - 20.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.7 bpg, 1.4 spg
Other players they could have had - Shawn Respert! (8) Ed O'Bannon! (9) Big Country! (6)
▪ Kevin McHale's first and only good draft choice. If you count the Laettner pick (there's just no way they could've picked anyone else at the time) and the Marshall pick (for getting them Googs), that makes them 3 for 8 up to this point. If you want to be really generous you can count Pooh in there to make it 4.

Pick 5 - Ray Allen (traded to Milwaukee for the 4th pick, which was Stephon Marbury)

Career Stats in two and a half years with the T-Wolves (96-97 - 98-99) - 18.7 ppg, 9.4 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 spg
Other players they could have had - Uh, Ray Allen, for starters. Antoine Walker (6), Kobe Bryant (13), Peja Stojakovic (14), Steve Nash (15), Jermaine O'Neal (17). Let it be known that I vehemently believed that the T-Wolves should have traded down to get Nash (who I've loved since watching him help Santa Clara take down Arizona (a 15 over a 2) in the 1st round of the NCAA tourney in 93), because he would have fit a million times better than Marbury.
▪ I remember the debate that took place after this draft between the Marbury camp and the Ray Allen camp. One common theme throughout every Marbury-over-Allen argument was that "We already have two shooting guards, Doug West and Chris Carr," which is like saying "We're not drafting Mike Conley because we already have Earl Boykins and Ty Lue." Needless to say, this pick brought a LOT of hype in the Twin Cities area, as it was presumed that the KG-Googs-Marbury trio would lead the T-Wolves to the promised land. However, there's one pretty essential element that was overlooked in bringing these guys together: they didn't like each other. Well, at least Googs and Marbury didn't, so the T-Wolves solution was to trade Googs to Phoenix (where his career sadly fell apart due to health reasons). You have to consider this pick a huge bust because it was an absolutely loaded draft, and they ended up with a guy that didn't last with the team for even three years, who also managed to drive away one of their best players during that time.

And here's where the shit REALLY starts to pile up.

Pick 20 - Paul Grant

Career Stats in FOUR GAMES for the T-Wolves (98-99) - 0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 bpg
Other players they could have had - Bobby Jackson (23), Stephen Jackson (43)
▪ Come on and say it with me! "Who the hell is Paul Grant?" Leave it to Kevin McHale to draft an Impossibly Huge Dude That Can't Move with already bad feet and bad knees.

Pick 17 - Radoslav Nesterovic

Career Stats in five years with the T-Wolves (98-99 - 02-03) - 6.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.1 bpg
Other players they could have had - Felipe Lopez (24), Al Harrington (25), Rashard Lewis (32), Cuttino Mobley (41)
▪ Determined to repeat the mistakes of past front office execs, McHale drafts a Impossibly Huge Dude Who Can't Move for the 2nd year in a row. Although to be fair, Rasho had a pretty dang good year in 02-03 (contract year, however) and seemed to mesh well with KG for a little while.

Pick 6 - Wally Szczerbiak

Career Stats in six and a half years with the T-Wolves (99-00 - 05-06) - 16.6 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 spg

Pick 14 - William Avery

Career Stats in three years with the T-Wolves (99-00 - 01-02) - 2.7 ppg, 1.4 apg, 0.7 rpg, 0.2 spg
Other players they could have had - Rip Hamilton (7), Andre Miller (8), Shawn Marion (9), Jason Terry (10), Corey Maggette (13), Ron Artest (16), Andrei Kirilenko (24)
▪ Wally, of course, was a perfectly serviceable player for many years, the type where you knew exactly what you were getting: 17 points a night with the occasional 30+ burst, consistent shooting, no defense to speak of and lots of injuries. He was caught in a position early in his career where he was asked to do too much. He would really have flourished with a team that could have given him a well-defined role (although when the T-Wolves asked him to come off the bench later in his career, he was none too happy about it), the point being that had the T-Wolves managed their picks better (like the Will Avery pick or the Rasho/Paul Grant picks), they could have put together a team based on guys playing to their strengths, a la San Antonio, and Wally would have fit extremely well into something like that. Will Avery is the answer to the question "Who the hell is Will Avery?" He had one of the all-time great "deer-in-the-headlights" looks anytime he was out on the floor (I think Daunte Culpepper took notes from him), and he ended up out of the league in three years. Another awful, awful pick.


No pick (given up for the chance to sign Joe Smith to a series of under-the-table one year contracts with the promise that he would get a long-term deal before the 01-02 season. Also, the draft was held in Minneapolis, giving the fans ample opportunity to voice their opinion of the T-Wolves 2nd round pick of Red Star Belgrade superstar Igor Rakocevic)
Players they could have had - Desmond Mason (17), Quentin Richardson (18), Jamaal Magloire (19), Speedy Claxton (20), Mo Peterson (21)


No pick (given up for the chance to sign JOE FREAKING SMITH to a series of under-the-table one year contracts)
Players they could have had - Richard Jefferson (13), Zach Randolph (19), Gerald Wallace (25), Tony Parker (28), Gilbert Arenas (31)


▪ No pick (given up for the chance to sign JOE MOTHER #$%*&#$*@# SMITH to a series of under-the-table one year contracts)
Players they could have had - Would have been in a perfect position to take Tayshawn Prince (23)

Pick 26 - Ndudi Ebi

Career Stats in 19 games (all garbage time) for the T-Wolves (03-04 - 04-05) - 2.1 ppg, 0.2 apg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 bpg
Other players they could have had - Leandro Barbosa (28), JOSH HOWARD (29), Jason Kapono (31), Luke Walton (32)
▪ The NBA mercifully grants the T-Wolves a pick (seeing as the franchise was completely stuck in neutral going on six years), and McHale and Friends blissfully waste it on a "project pick". It's really sad that I honestly believe that even Jason Kapono would be roughly 293048923 times better than Ebi. Also, it simply cannot be overstated how perfect Josh Howard would have been for the T-Wolves at this point. He would have been perfect. PERFECT. Let's move on before I shave my face with a ceiling fan or something.


No pick (given up for the chance to sign-- ah, fuck it. *shaves head with lawnmower*)
Players they could have had - Jameer Nelson (20), Kevin Martin (26)

Pick 14 - Rashad McCants

Career Stats for 116 games with the T-Wolves (05-06 - 06-07) - 7.0 ppg, 0.9 apg, 1.6 rpg, 0.6 spg
Other players they could have had - Danny Granger (17), Hakim Warrick (19), Jarrett Jack (22), Luther Head (24)
▪ This one's obviously a wait-and-see, but I just wanted to call to mind that this guy had previously been an SI cover story detailing what a moody bitch he is. Welcome to the T-Wolves 1st round pick fraternity, Rashad! Have you met JR Rider and Christian Laettner?

Pick 6 - Brandon Roy (traded to Portland for Randy Foye)

Career Stats after one year with the T-Wolves (06-07) - 10.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.1 rpg, 0.6 spg
▪ Other players they could have had - Brandon Roy

▪ I like Foye quite a bit, and he got much better as the season went along, but I can't help but have a lingering feeling that this will turn out like the Marbury/Allen draft did 10 years prior. But hey, it's not like history ever repeats itself with the T-Wolves or anything, right?


...uh, don't answer that.

Anyway, that brings us to this year. As you can see, T-Wolves fans have many, many reasons to be very, very nervous about what happens on Thursday. A friend of mine is perversely hoping they pick Spencer Hawes. I'm nervous they pass on Mike Conley because they already have Randy Foye. Everyone's nervous that McHale will end up holding onto KG. I'm nervous they'll talk themselves into Jo Noah, despite that he can't put up points and would only thrive in an already established system (something the T-Wolves haven't had since Flip left, and they barely had one even when he was there) where he would play a clearly defined role. Everyone's nervous McHale will trade the pick for JJ Redick or something insane. Nerves are frayed, but in the end, nobody will be surprised. It's just another chapter in the outlandishly, laughably pathetic Minnesota Timberwolves draft lore.


robnelberg said...

Dude you speak the truth. I too loved Nash, and absolutely was pissed when they passed on Van Exel in the 2nd round. This of course was back when I cared. I perversley want them to draft Yi. How funny would that pick be here in Minne

Jarrett Carter said...

This pic of Randy Foye says it all.