Well, this offseason has been an awful lot of … “exactly-what-we-expecteds”:
1. The Twolves didn’t manage to improve in their lottery luck.
2. Kevin Love has voiced his desire to no longer be a Timberwolf
3. Flip has hired himself.
Now, I have to say, this makes some sense. While I’m not thrilled with this offseason’s developments, I think this brings me at least a little bit of clarity, and sense of continuity within the organization. I know, we all were hoping for a big name and were excited about the potential of a guy like Joeger, or the pipe dreams of Izzo or “Mayor” Hoiberg standing court-side at the Target Center. But at the same time we all had to figure this was coming. With Flip officially taking the reigns as a coach, things can really get moving now.
Frankly, there were worse options. Flip lead the Timberwolves in their best years. Flip managed to do pretty well with last years draft even when nothing really went the way they hoped it would. I think this puts the Wolves in capable hands. In Flip Saunders, the Wolves have a proven coach who will encourage defensive effort while remaining offensive minded. He has a way of inspiring high effort out of players and, as I remember, has a knack for using role players as effectively as possible.
In the NBA these days there is a need for coaches to really demand that players take the initiative and take responsibility. Inspiring players like Wally Szczerbiak to play their role and getting the most out of Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell.
It might be minutely possible that the Wolves that bringing Flip on as coach could bring the All-Star PF back on board. In his recent comments on Sports Nation, Kevin Love made the assertion of … well nothing. He said “he wants to win” and “he hopes it works out”.
ENTERING RANT MODE: Maybe, just maybe Flip Saunders can inspire some restraint in Kevin Love’s whiny nature and compel him to continue to develop as a defensive player. Maybe, just maybe Flip Saunders can work some deals and balance the roster, finding a scorer like Danny Granger (IDK first guy who came to my head) and drafting some solid two way player. Maybe just maybe, with the right rotations and the more substantial presence of Gorgui Dieng on the court, the defense will be come even better. Maybe with the continued development of Ricky Rubio’s jump shot, the Twolves will find a Point Guard who can lead this team on both sides of the court. I think, maybe just maybe, Flip can flip this situation into a play off push WITH Kevin Love and potentially resulting in a Kevin Love extension.
But who am I kidding!? Is it really that simple. No! probably not. That’s why I’ve put so many “maybe just maybes” in there. Do I think Flip Saunders is some kid of wizard? While that might be cool, no! He failed miserably with Washington (…wizard pun…), and it would be a huge risk to try to run with K-Love when he’s said he wants to be elsewhere. Maybe Kevin Love just can’t calm down and will never stop whining on court and the “selfish” play that everybody talks about will continue to be detrimental to the team even with Gorgui, a re-inforced bench and quality rotations. EXITING RANT MODE
What I’m trying to say there, is there are SO many options. The Twolves don’t have to trade Kevin Love. He actually can’t force is way out, but the danger of keeping someone who wants to do that could add way more poisonous bad juju to an already accursed organization.
I think though that Flip is a pretty good guy to have in control of this situation. I believe that he will make a good decision based on what he knows about Kevin and how he feels he can best better the franchise.
I still think that chances are that Kevin Love is gone by the morning after the draft. I think that would be the best thing for the organization long term and could result in less of a rebuild than a lot of people seem to be suggesting.