Was it Wally World's epic "Tonight, We Shine" post from last week that caused such a huge change of heart for ESPN's Bill Simmons? I'd like to think so. But whatever the cause, it looks like the national media is beginning to take a small turn in their opinion towards the T-Wolves. Last week, we saw a front page story on ESPN.com touting K. Love and The Beas as the leagues best forward combo. Then this weekend, we were treated to Bill Simmons eating some crow (not a lot, but probably as much as we'll get from him) regarding his treatment of the Wolves and the Kahn man.
Regarding the Wolves…
A fascinating DirecTV team lately because of Kevin Love's epic rebounding binge (although that 30-30 game was inadvertently a bad career move since there's no way the T-Wolves will deal him now), Michael Beasley's uber-rejuvenation (163 points in his past five games) and Darko Milicic's historically atrocious offensive start (first 11 games: 22.7 MPG, 28.8 percent FG, 50 percent FT, 1.91 TO, 5.0 PPG, although he did rally this week). Minnesota GM David Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahn effectively traded Al Jefferson for Darko, Beasley and two non-lottery picks, so if Beasley redeems his career — that's a defensible trade. Well, unless you're one of the other Western teams and you want to wring Kahn's neck for giving Jefferson to Utah.
As for Kahn, the 2009 draft fiasco speaks for itself: He whiffed on Stephen Curry twice and totally miscalculated the Ricky Rubio situation. He will never be able to justify giving Darko $20 million under the bizarre logic, "We need a passing center for the triangle," given that the triangle hasn't succeeded in the NBA without MJ or Kobe being involved … so a 15-win team severely overpaying a four-time castoff based on the logic "We need him for the triangle" would be like TBS badly overpaying a bandleader based on the logic, "We need him for Lopez!" And it still hasn't explained why the T-Wolves embarked on a multiyear rebuilding plan when they don't own their own first-round pick in 2012; at some point soon, they're going to have to suck it up and deal Rubio's rights for immediate help.
(Hold on, big "Having that said that" coming … )
Having said that …
Stealing Beasley for two second-round picks was a freaking heist. Maybe he couldn't handle South Beach. Maybe he couldn't adjust to playing off the ball with Dwyane Wade. Maybe his personal demons were worse than the girl's from "Drag Me to Hell." But watching him this month has been a revelation — even if he's a defensive liability, there aren't 12 NBA players right now who can drop 30 points easier than him.
Couldn't someone have trumped two second-round picks? Why would Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo turn down Beasley in the Bosh/Heat sign-and-trade when Miami would have thrown him in for free? Where was Oklahoma City's Sam Presti, who could have easily trumped Minnesota's offer and added Beasley (one of Kevin Durant's best friends) as a much-needed bench scorer? And where the hell were the Clippers???? I know he played terribly last season, and I know about the off-court concerns, but if you watched him in college … I mean … how could the No. 2 pick of the 2008 draft be worthless two years later? That was such a steal that I'm suspending all "Kaaaaaaaaahn!" jokes indefinitely. Great, great trade. And shame on the rest of the league for falling asleep.
So like I said, not a total backpedal by Simmons, but we'll take what we can get. Some praise for Love and Beasley and a suspension of Kahn bashing, sounds like a good start. Sure the whole Rubio situation continues to be an attack point, but when he's either A. in a Wolves jersey, or B. traded for something valuable, then everyone will finally let it go and shut up about it. And as far as Darko goes, we've beaten this horse to death. I've given up on anyone in the nation media thinking about that contract rationally. Even if he broke his leg and never played another game, Darko's contract would still rank somewhere among the 25th worst that was handed out this past off-season. Darko's contract should have been a blip on the radar compared to some of the franchise-killing deals this summer.
I just thought it was nice to at least see some minor positive vibes surrounding this team after half a decade of nothing but bad news. There's still a long way to go, but at least it's a start.