THE NEW GUY
Kurt Rambis is the new head coach of the Timberwolves and I really, sincerely, hope he still wears the thick black frame glasses. Given that he's never been a head coach on the NBA level, no one short of maybe recent Lakers' players or coaches really has any idea how good he is. David Kahn certainly believes he's the best candidate. Going off his pedigree alone, Rambis looks like a good with the potential to be great hire.
First and foremost, he was a player for several years on championship contending and winning Laker teams (four championships, to be exact). He wasn't the greatest player but was good enough to stay in the league for fourteen seasons and play on teams that featured Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and James Worthy. He went on to work for the Lakers in various front office roles. Most recently, he's been an assistant under Phil Jackson for the past several years. You could argue there aren't many better people to learn from.
Maybe it's the stark contrast of this move compared to anything McHale/Taylor would have done during their reign of terror, but like the other moves made since the Kahn Era began, I'm intrigued by this one. After firing Flipnosis, McTaylor (just made that up) went to the bargain bin for their coaches. First Dwayne Casey, a nice guy but pretty much the definition of career assistant. Then Randy Wittman, literally one of the most losingest coaches in NBA history. Then Kevin McHale, which requires no elaboration whatsoever. Rambis, on the other hand, is not a bargain. He's not anyone's leftovers. It would have been easy to go with a retread like Avery Johnson or Sam Mitchell. It would have been easy to go cheap with an unproven like Mark Jackson or Elston Turner. But they didn't. The Wolves went after the most high profile assistant out there and they ponied up 8 million over 4 years to land him. Like I said, I'm intrigued.
Rambis Fun Fact: During his first year of professional basketball he played in Greece under the name Kyriakos Rambidis.
Rambis Thinking Point: A couple of months ago he turned down the Sacramento Kings offer, which was rumored to be comparable to the one he just agreed to. Why'd he do that? Is it possibly saying that he sees more hope in the Wolves situation? Is he like me and thinks the Maloofs are giant douchebags? Does he actually likes Winter?
GLEN TAYLOR OBSERVATION
It's funny. When Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor were running things Taylor was always the one who came across like the more articulate and prepared of the two. Us fans turned to him for the vision of the Wolves future. Now, in the shadow of Kahn and his overhauling ways Taylor comes off like a bumbling old Grandpa who calls you by your Dad's name and makes reference to people who have been dead for ten years as though they were still living. Just another in a long line of indictments against McHale.
THE OTHER MUCH LESS IMPORTANT NEW GUY
The Wolves signed a young center by the name of Ryan Hollins to an offer sheet. I doubt Dallas will match given that they just signed Drew Gooden and are already over the cap. Hollins is an unproven and an unknown talent and so to make a big deal out of this would be a little premature. He is, however, the type of player they need to compliment Jefferson and Love. A true seven footer, a shotblocker, a leaper, a defender. Most importantly, he won't demand a lot of minutes. The flaw I always saw in the idea of bringing in a Tyson Chandler or Sam Dalembert or in drafting a guy like Hasheem Thabeet is that it would, in effect, delegate Love into a lesser role because those guys would need minutes. Word is that Kahn thinks this kid can be the Wolves' equivilent of Chris "Birdman" Anderson, which certainly puts his planned role into perspective. Youtube Hollins. He's got some nice highlights but he looks like a walking technical foul.
I like this quote from Hollins' ESPN scouting reports: “Hollins is 7 feet tall and a plus athlete who can run the floor and jump, the type of guy who would go 12th in the draft if he was a Serbian 19-year-old.”
NEW YORK SUCKS (and everyone knows it)
Do you get the feeling that the sports media whores are the only people who actually believe that the New York Knicks are the team everyone secretly wants to play for and in 2010 they're gonna sign LeBron AND Wade AND Bosh AND Jesus Himself? Take this offseason, for example. The mighty Knicks have now been scorned by Jason Kidd and Andre Miller. Trevor Ariza would rather play for the McGrady/Ming-less Rockets. David Lee was willing to sign with Memphis instead of return to New York (but in true Grizzly form they instead opted for Zach Randolph). Nate Robinson is giving serious thought to playing in Greece as an alternative to resigning with the Knicks. Ramon Sessions is stalling in hopes that some other team besides New York will offer him a deal, even though they're the only team willing to throw the entire mid-level exception at him. The one guy who is self-serving enough to want to play there is Carlos Boozer. The Knicks would no doubt pay him whatever he wants but of couse that reveals another problem, the Knicks have nothing to trade Utah for him. What? Wilson Chandler? Eddy Curry? How about Jared Jeffries and an autographed John Starks mini-basketball? Did I mention, they're currently working out Jason Williams. Yes, the retired White Chocolate Jason Williams. Good luck in 2010, Knickerbockers.
2009 ALL STAR
Al Jefferson, if healthy, should be a lock for the All-Star game next season. Yao Ming is permanently broken. Shaq is in the Eastern Conference. Carlos Boozer will either be traded to the East or relegated to backing up Paul Milisap. Three open big man spots, plus everyone knows he got screwed last year and if they want to redeem themselves they'll have to vote him in. First All-Star Wolf since KG. Lock it in. It should be a fun weekend with the possibility of Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Wayne Ellington and Kevin Love in the Rookie/Sophomore game.
Have a good day and thanks for reading.