Kahn’s Point Guard Love Paying Off





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!

43 Comments

  1. Rob Mc says:

    Twolves have an extreemely tough 2nd half schedule. They will battle …and hopefully win their share but they will get a lot better as a team regardless. Next year…if Kahn stays cool and only swaps about two to three players…they will be very good. Malcolm Lee is going to become a nice player in two years. The wolves are very young. They will have great coaching. The blows hard to their backs. They are strong and gritty. Work your offense. Play tough D. Play smarter. They will get there.

  2. Antawn Bats says:

    Kevin over Blake anyday…both are great ballers, sort of a Duncan to Garnett (wolves KG) or Mchale to Barkley IMO, just hope Blake develops a range like Chuck, as Kevin has the Tim fundamentals + 3pt-shot, fast forward 10 NBA seasons later, welcome to Lob City?

  3. Conor O'Brien says:

    You my dear man are a muppet.

  4. Latigo says:

    Provided there will be no injuries, I see the wolves making the playoffs.

    I know this may be a shallow argument… but remember how the wolves beat Dallas and Spurs at the start of this season?

    And those were the Wolves that just got to know each other… I don’t think PEK POWER was already discovered that time.

    Yes, Dallas was able to beat them last time.. but that’s another story.

  5. KEVIN'S says:

    Notice the T-wolves two BEST PLAYERS ever were both name Kevin…

  6. NBEATZ says:

    Listen Next year the starting line up should be with the stats of_______ to make them competitive.
    C- Darko Milicic 5PPG 5RPG 2.5BPG (THEY NEED SOMEONE WITH A DEFFENCSIVE PRESSENCE INSIDE)
    PF- Kevin Love 23PPG 12RPG 1BPG 2APG
    SF- Derrick Williams 12PPG 6RPG 3APG (BRINGS A GRITT TO THE STARTING LINE UP THAT BEASLEY CAN’T)
    SG- Wayne Ellington 7PPG 3RPG 1SPG (SOLID OUTSIDE DEFFENDER WITH A 3 POINT RANGE)
    PG- Rikki Rubio- 14PPG 10APG 2.5SPG
    BENCH-
    C-Nikola Pekovic 7PPG 7RPG (SHOULD BE STARTING, BUT HIS DEFFENSIVE PRESSINCE IS LACKING)
    PF- Michael Beasley 12PPG 5RPG (THERE 6th MAN OF THE YEAR)
    SF- Wesley Johnson 4PPG 3RPG 1SPG
    SG- JJ Barera 8PPG 2APG 1SPG (THAT VETERAN PRESSANCE AND HIS WAY OF GETTING INTO THE LANE TO GO ALONG WITH HIS DEADLY 3 POINT RANGE WITH CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH THAT SECOND UNIT)
    PG- Luke Ridnour 8PPG 3APG 1SPG
    This team with a full year together could win 50 Games, while there Playoff run would be cut short, the ONLY way they will get furthur in the playoffs is if they get Nikola blocking 2 shots a game and have Rubio SHOOTING % from 3 point ranch gets above 40% and JJ plays like he did with Dallas……… This team, now this team could go against any team in the leaque and win on any giving night………Champs???????????? Doubt it, but very good for the MN fans to finnally have somthing to root for, and this is comming from a HUGE CHRIS BOSH FAN AND MIAMI HET FAN……………………………………………………………..GO HEAT

    • bth says:

      How’ve you managed to spell presence in three different ways in that rant and not get it right in any of them??????

    • robbay2 says:

      heat fans sure are stat gawkers.

    • Nick says:

      Um… i watch the wolves every game… Darko is useless.. Pek is avg about double double since he has been starting…(he will be the starter for many years to come) Ellington doesn’t even play anymore.. and they definately need to trade for a shooter if they ever want to win 50 games..

  7. Dylan Chapin says:

    Mr. Smith, as a writer for nba.com I would expect a little more accuracy in your articles, but once again you manage to mesh the truth with fiction.

  8. PaulAK says:

    Love is the MAN! His numbers dwarf Griffin’s…HE should be starting the the Big Dance this week…

    • kc says:

      Love’s numbers are good beause: A) he plays more minutes, B) has less shot competition within his team and takes more shots and C) ditto B for his boards.

      • Nick says:

        Who competes with Griffin’s boards? Jordan??? (he only plays like 25 minutes) Pekovic gets more boards then Jordan does.

      • SuperJun says:

        are u kidding me? pekovic gets a double digit boards every game and love still pulls out his 15 boards. plus it ain’t loves fault that griffin is wasting all his energy dunking running out of stamina. why would you not want your best player out on the floor longer? dumb griffin fans.

  9. Ginobili says:

    “But he doesn’t catch an alley oop a game or do a windmill”…… But Love gets it done, he’s a beast!!. He plays smart, grabs boards, and can knock down the three. And now they got Spanish Stockton they’re set for a while man. Plus Beasley, he’s a hell of a baller too. That could be a really cool team.

  10. Sam Robinson says:

    Too much praise given to Kahn he let go of Al Jefferson for nothing saying that him and love couldn’t co-exist. But obviously them could because big Al plays Center At Utah. Good pick getting Rubio, Love and Pekovic. But they will not get this team into the playoffs for years to come they will still be around that 9-11 mark in the west.

    • Godofredo says:

      Ask Utah fans how they like Big Al at Center. He’s a pretty bad defender at PF, let alone at the 5. People forget Jefferson was gimpy prior to that trade and considered a significant risk. Wolves got two 1sts for a highly paid, poor defending injury risk. There just wasn’t much more value on the table for him at the time.

      I love what Kahn has done… waiting on Rubio, choosing Love, paying Pek and most importantly, landing Adelman. I’m excited for him to complete the puzzle and make a trade for a sweet shooting wing… either this year or over the summer.

      • Nick says:

        Land Kevin Martin!!! He would look great in a t’wovles uniforn

      • mark says:

        Kahn didn’t choose Love. Kevin McHale (the general manager at the time) made a (draft day, I believe) trade for Love. He worked with Love to help him become the player he is today.

  11. bunbury says:

    To me the main reason why the wolves are doing great (compared to previous year’s atandards) is Mr. Adelman. I think one thing he brings to the table is– players shine with him as a coach. it not just a coincidence that players such as williams, pekovic, and rubio are all playing well and looking good.

  12. J.Mikel#9 says:

    People say Love can’t jump but that’s not true, he registered a 34 inch vertical at the NBA draft combine…and he’s playing over 20 lbs lighter now. He may not have much explosion in his jumps but his legs are extremely strong and he wins rebounds by jumping multiple times without having to load.

    Also, Tim Duncan shoots under 20 percent in his career from beyond the arc while Love’s career mark is 35.5 percent. I truly feel Love is a once in a generation player with the hybrid of skills he possesses. That’s not to say he is the best player in the league, but he has loads of potential still waiting to be tapped.

    I was reading an article somewhere online and a former coach of his said he has never seen a player improve month to month as much as Love does. Before Jeremy Lin and Nikola Pekovic exploded on the scene this last month I thought Love could be in the running for back to back Most Improved Player awards.

  13. mkyle says:

    love playing that old man game gatta love it

  14. Alan DeNiro says:

    for the 9 billionth time, the Timberwolves did not draft Ty Lawson. In the draft day trade, Denver TOLD Minnesota as one of it’s stipulations to pick Lawson. It’s a small point–and I haven’t exactly been a Kahn apologist–but kind of undercuts the ’3 point guards in one draft’ shenanigans.

  15. Marco says:

    I love the way Rubio plays. His transision from europe to the NBA is very smooth. Love is a blue collar worker that gets a double double every night he plays. That’s the reason i favor Love over Griffin, who is more of a show player.

    T’wolves are on the right path to build a competitive team as long as they can keep Love, Rubio and Williams.

    • bunbury says:

      it all depends on how good they all get. it’s hard for a team to keep stars. remember marbury. he said he couldnt play along a garnett making 20M a year while he makes less than half. obviously the team couldnt pay him another 20M. remember kidd, jefferson, and martin. Kidd was making a whole lot when he got there, then Martin and jefferson became stars, and both wanted more money on their new contracts but the nets couldnt afford paying the three max deals.

  16. charlesFTW says:

    to hear someone compare a PW to a center like duncan is a shame upon this league. first to defend duncan the guy is mr consistance for a reason, he won 4 nba championships and till this day he is a very complete center and a very accomplished one at that. kevin love is superb PW and a remarkable offensive rebounder, the three pointer game winner against’s blake “earthquake” griffin clippers, guess it isn’t good enough anymore for a PW to hit clutch threes (jesus…).

    • allan says:

      Just to correct things, Tim Duncan was actually more of a Power Forward (PF and not PW) although he too can play center. During his title runs, he had David Robinson, Nazr Mohammed, and Fabricio Oberto to play center while he can play PF where he is more comfortable at.

    • Heatfan says:

      Ok first of all Kevin Love plays power forward not pw. Secondly, Tim Duncan is a F/C who usually plays in the power forward position. Love and Duncan do play very differently based on ability, but they both have the same drive and work ethic. Tim Duncan is extremely clutch. To suggest he isn’t is a travesty to his reputation. It is obvious that you haven’t seen any of the playoff games from the Spurs first three championships. If you had, you simply would have said Love is like Duncan but can make 3′s.

  17. Wolves Fan says:

    I hope Adrian Wojnarowski read this article.

  18. asdfasdf says:

    Why do writers continually get it wrong? MN drafted Ty Lawson for Denver, he was never going to play on the Wolves. It’s just sexier to make fun of Kahn for drafting 3 PG’s instead of 2. And Rubio was not going to come over that year anyways. I’m seriously tired of reporters who don’t do their due diligence and continually harp on the same incorrect facts like a bad Rihanna song on repeat.

    • shrink says:

      Exactly right. And Smith can’t help but repeat this error to lead off his story.

    • Jon says:

      I get what your saying but I think the point the writer was trying to make is that Kahn DOES repeatedly draft or trade for point guards more than any other position player. If you look in years past Minnesota’s #1or 2 pick almost always went to a guard – Johnny Flynn, Randy Foye, Rubio, Lawson, etc – Not to mention we have traded for more guards in the last few years than I can count – Sebastian Telfair (twice), Ramon Sessions, Ridnour, Barea and a few others that, lets just say, didn’t work out.
      No matter what it is nice to see them finally compete on a night to night basis. The work isn’t done, but they are well on their way to being a factor once again in arguably the leagues toughest division.

  19. prix says:

    Love plays like Ducan..too basic, too boring..bring Latrell back..

    • ko0kiE says:

      what a hater.. you probably watch only the top10 and thats it. Love is such a talented player.. he was so underrated when Al Jefferson still played at Minnesota but after last years double-double streak and the 30-30 game noone can’t deny his abilities

    • denleendeko says:

      If you want flashy, go watch some Harlem Globetrotters

    • Jimmy says:

      “He plays like Duncan.” I think you are referring to Tim Duncan. Is that a cut-down? Or, perhaps, you mean Shirley Duncan. Yeah, she had no game.

    • tpups says:

      how many 3s does duncan make??? yeah shut up!

    • robbay2 says:

      Duncan is the best power forward of all time. I think he would take that as a complement Prix.

    • Pat Burke says:

      look APRIL, i know this is too complicated for you, like every other 12 year old girls.. so what we want you to do is just go to you’re comfort zone and tell us if you have a crush on ricky rubio.

    • NBAfan says:

      I’ll take a PF who can shoot 3s and jumpers and grab well over 10 rbd a game over guys like blake griffin any day. Also, Love had a physical make over…if that doesn’t scream “I am a competitor, I want to improve. I want to be one of the best” then I don’t know what is. Much respect for Love!