ORLANDO – Few men love point guards the way Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn does. He is, after all, the man who selected three in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft (Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn and Ty Lawson) and has taken the heat from us over the years for his fetish.
Kahn’s acquired (and traded) a few point guards during his tenure as well. And Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman routinely deploys three (Rubio, Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea) at a time late in games.
Kahn’s crazy, point guard-fueled master plan seems to be working, though. The Timberwolves head into All-Star weekend at .500 or better for the first time since the 2004-05 season, courtesy of Ridnour’s buzzer beater last night over Utah.
We’re not ready to proclaim this a playoff team, but with a bevy of options in the backcourt and All-Star Kevin Love, promising rookie Derrick Williams and surprise talent like Nikola Pekovic to flesh out the frontcourt mix, this team is well on its way to becoming a legitimate factor in the playoff race for seasons to come.
When Kahn makes the rounds here for All-Star weekend, he’ll likely get a much different reception in some corners than has in years past. The fact that he fought conventional wisdom in building this team says a lot about Kahn. In a league that rewards risk takers, Kahn just might cash in with his unorthodox roster.
It certainly helps to have Adelman running the show. A young All-Star like Love and a potential All-Star point guard like Rubio speed up the process as well. But it’s role players like Ridnour, Barea and the others that will make the transition smoother for all involved.
We talked to Love about it on Episode 69 of the Hang Time Podcast a couple of weeks ago. The first step in the process of rising from the NBA cellar is the collective belief in the blueprint. The Timberwolves believe. You don’t win some of the games they have this season and not believe.
You don’t reach last season’s win total at the All-Star Break and not believe!