"If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?" That riddle should be changed to "If the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise is falling into obscurity and no one is watching, are they really falling out of touch?" The NBA draft lottery is taking place in 8 days, there's is a 11 percent chance that the T'Wolves can move up from the 7 spot and snatch a top 2 pick in this years draft. The reward for moving up.... grabbing 7 foot manchild Greg Oden, the most dominant college center since Shaquille O'Neal left LSU in 1992. Or Kevin Durant, the 6'9 forward/Mr. everything from Texas who became the first freshman in NCAA history to win National player of the year honors, fact is he swept every major player of the year trophy there is. My question to anyone in the Twin Cities area is, does anybody really care?
I can remember the 1992 draft like it was yesterday. Being a puffy little 12 year old, I was big into college basketball and our new franchise here in Minnesota. We ended up with the worst record in the NBA in 91-92 at 15-67, the worst in the league. All I could think about was the draft, The Wolves had the most ping pong balls in the lottery, and I dreamed of having Shaq in a Minnesota uniform. The absolute worst position we could muster was the 3 spot, which more than likely meant they would be drafting Christian Laettner, Mr. Duke Blue Devil himself, the poster boy of college basketball. I'll be honest here, I wanted no part of Laettner. He seemed like a whiny brat who just happened to be a good college player on a phenomenal basketball team. Shaquille O' Neal or Alonzo Mourning were the 2 guys that I and every expert in the Country fell in love with. Both were tremendous low post players, could change a game with their interior defense and quite frankly big men have and always will dominate in the NBA.
So what happens? Of course the Wolves fall to the 3 spot, they draft Laettner. They continue to be dreadful for 5 more seasons until the best GM in sports according to Forbes Magazine (Kevin McHale....insert joke here) takes over and drafts Da Kid Kevin Garnett out of high school and makes the Wolves respectable for 9 seasons. Shaq becomes one of the 3 greatest centers of all time, winning 4 championships and is still the model of which NBA GM's look for to start a franchise. Zo becomes a consistent 20 point, 10 rebound guy who unfortunately has had a few bumps in his career. Kidney cancer slowed him down considerably, but nonetheless he was a borderline top 50-75 player when healthy and also has a ring on his finger with Miami last season. Laettner has bounced around 6 different teams, never showing the promise he did when he was at Duke. Where he also was on the famous original Dream Team in the Summer of Olympics in 1992. (Why Shaq was not on this team is still mind boggling to me!!)
While the Wolves don't have the best lottery odds, they are definitely due for a little lottery luck. They never have moved up in a draft lottery, they have fallen in 4 lotteries though. This franchise is in need of a lethal injection and fast!! Has everyone forgotten 3 seasons ago when this team had the best record in the league and made it to the Western Conference finals?? I haven't, but this team has fallen from grace ever since. Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell drove coach Flip Saunders out of town the following season, Cassell was traded with a 1st round pick (?? why??) to the Clippers for Marko Jaric. Spree was sent packing after a 3 year, 21 million dollar contract wasn't enough to "feed his family." Needless to say, he hasn't been in the league since.
What has also occurred is Mr McHale acquiring 2 guards like they were sports memorabilia items, and whoever the coach is these trying to convert them to play the 3 spot. No true center which to speak of, and KG looking like he is doing this on his own. There are some bright spots for this club, Randy Foye could be a good Point man (I preferred Brandon Roy last season myself), Rashad McCants could become a Ben Gordon type scoring option off the bench, and Craig Smith is a 2nd round pick gone right, a man who can rebound and defend in the low post. If they stay in the 7 hole in the Draft, I look for Corey Brewer to be the option here. A 6'8 swingman who is very athletic, Brewer has been said to be the best of the 2 time National Champion Florida Gator prospects. He is lengthy and can defend as well, he will need to grow into his body, but he definitely could become the 2 option here in Minnesota, supplanting Ricky (D)avis (He plays zero defense!)
Will Brewer draw fans attention again?? Not as much as Oden or Durant would. Landing in the top 2 would springboard ticket sales and attention to this team again immediately. The logical option in my eyes is to wake owner Glen Taylor up and have him notify Mr. McHale, your Forbes Magazine GM of the year that his services are no longer needed. If they land in the top 2, McHale couldn't possibly screw this up again.....or could he???