“I’m a Timberwolf,” was Timberwolves first round pick Wesley Johnson’s response to my question detecting his childhood support of the Lakers franchise. So for starters, the young man has a great head on his shoulders, both in his youth, and as a young man about to get paid a ton to do some really fun work. Additionally, to sit in front of the Wolves’ three latest (the fourth pick of the Wolves was absent, but I’ll get to him later), hopeful additions, the glaring observation was that these are three quality young men; fully aware that a job means work. Second round pick, Nemanja Bjelica of Serbia, was the quiet one of the three, but nerves are understandable on your first day in a new country. But overall, the moment was not too big for the young men, which also included additional first round pick forward Lazar Hayward of Marquette University; from their entry, to their consistent messages, to their comfortable, professional playfulness with the Q & A session. Simply put, they put on a good show…and that’s part of the job.
The problem that many have with the Timberwolves 2010 Draft is that they did not draft 6’11” Kentucky University Freshman phenom DeMarcus Cousins. I, for one, agree with that decision. I was in my 20s many moons ago, I trust my own judgment of the “knucklehead quotient” when I’m able to watch young fellas at least a few times. Now everybody deserves a chance to prove worthy, but we have seen the story of the self-entitled, ultra talented, super young basketball player before. To take a chance with a player such as this, on the heels of a 15-win season is a recipe for something resembling the Los Angeles Clippers, who have been sorry for decades now. The “One Player Savior” strategy has been known not to work out the majority of the time, and a knucklehead is the worst thing for a rebuilding team. Though I’m not condemning Cousins’ future, I am saying that Timberwolves fans deserve better than a malcontent, and the town has had enough of that in the past.
David Kahn is first building a culture with the Timberwolves. Notice the steady play, and more importantly the demeanor of rookie point guard Johnny Flynn, through last years’ painful stretches on the schedule. That means a lot because one salty quote from a young’n after a series of losses will send a team into disarray, and fan base into other forms of entertainment. Say what you want about last years’ performance, it should be judged as a major success that the team took the floor with a handsome demeanor on a nightly basis.
Besides Johnson, my favorite selection of the Wolves 2010 Draft was the big fella who was drafted with their fourth and final pick. The World Cup Soccer Tournament has a great example of athleticism in #1 seed Brazil, and the Wolves tapped some of that Brazilian prowess with 6’11” center Paulao Prestes. These late picks don’t typically work out, but I pride myself on being able to evaluate athletic talent based on 30-second video clips, and Prestes is “that dude.”
Sure, I wanted the Lakers to keep Eddie Jones versus Kobe Bryant, but Kobe has gotten on a lot of peoples’ nerves over the years, so gimme a break. I’m glad to say that Kobe Bryant is finally out of my doghouse. I think I heard a huge sigh of relief come from his direction.