MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One of the biggest blunders in NBA Draft history happened to the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2009.
It was not only in who they did pick that year, but just as much who they passed on. David Kahn, the Timberwolves president of basketball operations at the time, wrote about it in Sports Illustrated in an attempt to explain it. The timing is fitting, with the Timberwolves having the No. 7 pick in Thursday night’s draft, unless they move it as part of a trade package.
Regardless of what happens Thursday, the franchise was set back years after what happened in 2009. We didn’t know that at the time, and of course hindsight is always 20-20, but that’s why you have scouts. That’s why you watch film.
Steph Curry is arguably the best point guard in the NBA and just finished winning his second NBA title with the Golden State Warriors. He’s there because Kahn passed on him with both the No. 5 and No. 6 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. That’s right, not once, but twice.
Kahn writes in his piece that shortly after being named Timberwolves president of basketball operations, Curry’s father, Dell Curry, made it known to the team that he didn’t want his son playing for the Timberwolves. He didn’t attend pre-draft workouts, and didn’t want Steph Curry living in Minnesota winters.
In that draft, Kahn elected for guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Rubio has been the subject of trade rumors for several months and while he is effective as a defender and ball handler, he’s not a threat to score and has always been an inconsistent shooter. The way the game is played in the NBA now, it demands a point guard who can score and is a threat in late-game situations. Rubio isn’t that, and opposing defenses know it.
Meanwhile, Flynn was a bigger disaster as a draft pick. He spent just two seasons in Minnesota and was troubled by injuries. He hasn’t been in the league since the 2011-12 season.
When you have two of the top six picks in a draft, those type of results are simply not acceptable. Kahn was fired from the Timberwolves in May of 2013, and the franchise has yet to recover.
The Timberwolves haven’t been to the playoffs in 13 seasons. That’s hard to do when eight out of 15 teams get to the postseason.
It’s impossible to know who things would’ve turned out if the Timberwolves draft Curry, and he stays in Minnesota. But knowing what has transpired, the franchise could have had a completely different look and taken a very different turn had the pick been made. But Minnesota fans will never know. They’re only hoping now that a great pick is made Thursday, or the No. 7 pick is used as part of a blockbuster trade.