Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kurt Rambis Out as David Kahn Runs Amok

There really isn't any reason to believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves are heading in the right direction, outside of the recent decision of point guard Ricky Rubio to come over from Europe and join the team, two years after he was drafted.

Basically, Rubio's decision justifies the existence of basketball boss David Kahn, who hasn't done much good in his two years at the helm.

He tends to run the team like you or I would run a fantasy team, making random trades that seemingly disregard the idea of having a basketball philosophy.

Two years ago, his first major move couldn't have been more random. After drafting Rubio and Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn with back-to-back first-round picks in the 2009 draft, Kahn waited two more months, then hired Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, who wants his teams to run the triangle offense.

Scratch your head. The guy drafted Rubio and Flynn, two anti-triangle point guards, then hired a triangle coach to run the team, and is now prepared to fire the coach before Rubio plays a game for the team.

Oh, and Kahn strung Rambis out for over two months after his second awful season ended.

Because Kahn needed two months to fire a coach who was 32-132.

A coach he never should have hired in the first place, given Rambis' philosophies on offense and the fact that Kahn wasn't building a team to suit those philosophies.

I'm not blaming Kahn for not buying into everything Rambis wanted to do. We all think the game differently, and we all have ideas on how it's best and most effectively played. The triangle offense isn't for everyone, because it hasn't worked much in the NBA when Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant weren't involved. As the basketball boss in Minnesota, Kahn has every right to build the team the way he sees fit, and then find a coach who does things the way Kahn wants them done. None of that is in dispute.

But when Kahn was hired, he screwed around with former Wolves poobah Kevin McHale before finally letting him go. Then he waited until nearly two months after the draft to hire Rambis, a coach whose philosophies ran counter to those of Kahn and the players he was building the team with.

Then, after 32-132, Kahn decided he needed ten weeks to evaluate Rambis and figure out what to do.

In the meantime, every other NBA coaching job was accounted for, and Kahn is left with a smaller pool of candidates than he would have had. Meanwhile, Rambis is left with virtually no real chance to find a coaching job this coming season, because there really aren't any left. It's not a pity party, because Rambis has made a lot of money, and he'll be handsomely paid for the two years left on his contract. Instead, it's a simple point that Rambis should be the one making the decision about when he will seek another coaching job. In this case, Rambis had that decision made for him by Kahn, a man who has enough trouble making his own decision, much less decisions for another self-sufficient adult.

But that's what we've come to in Minnesota. Kahn is running amok in this basketball operation, with virtually no checks or balances stopping him from doing whatever the hell he wants. It's not a good thing for what few Timberwolves fans are left out there, because before Kahn is done with this team, they'll all be longing for the days of Jack McCloskey and Jimmy Rodgers.

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