Over on the Wages of Wins today, Andres Alvarez claims that the Orlando Magic had the worst management in the NBA last year. And I agree, the Magic were bad. But...
I mean, really? And I was writing just that in the comments. Then I became aware that my "comment" was getting long enough to be a "post". Let's count the ways that this management screwed up in 2010-11:
- They started the season with a large amount of cap space, and an eye to sign a premier FA. David Lee was interested. They'd been saving up cap room for this off season for about three years. On literally the opening day of free agency, they signed Darko to $5 million a year and Pekovic to $4+ million per year, when no one else wanted them and before even talking to Lee. Wait...this is what they were saving for!? When David Lee visited later, the Wolves no longer had the cap room to compete for his services. This worked out well for them in other ways, though, since the Wolves could also not afford to do something even more stupid: sign Rudy Gay to a max contract.
- During the offseason David Kahn compared Darko to Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, talked about Beasley smoking too much pot, and surely pissed off a few other people with comments I am now forgetting.
- The team traded Ramon Sessions, its ONLY competent point guard, and Ryan Hollins for Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. They didn't keep West, who's a competent PG. Then it signed Luc Ridnour as a free agent. So they essentially GAVE AWAY Sessions and spent money on Ridnour that it didn't need to spend if it had, you know, just kept Sessions. (By the way, Sessions had a pretty bad year in Cleveland, performing way below his usual level. Had Sessions not performed so badly, more attention might have been paid to just how terrible this sequence of moves was).
- Rambis was by far the worst coach in the league in allocating minutes. Despite an amazing performance with Team USA and being by far the Wolves' best player in the preseason, Rambis went into Love's third season without planning to play him starter minutes. Keven Love played only 24 minutes in the team's opener, including less than 9 minutes in the second half, and the Wolves lost by one. Several games later, Love was still averaging only 27 minutes a game, and if it hadn't been for Love's 30/30 game later in the season, Rambis probably would have kept playing the league's best rebounder for less than 30 minutes a game all season long (after that game, doing so would have made him an even bigger laughing stock than he already was; his hand was forced).
- More Rambis. Anyone who watched the Wolves last year knew that Rambis started nearly every single game offensively by forcing the ball into Darko Milicic for a post-up on the first few plays, to "get him into the flow and establish a presence in the post." Darko shot 46.9%, spectacularly bad for a player who only shot from within 5-7 feet of the basket. This game plan reminded me of the guy who keeps on sticking quarters into the broken vending machine, hoping that it will finally spit out a delicious pack of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
- Let's not forget this midseason gaffe. Around the time of the All-Star break, David Kahn was talking about Kevin Love, and said something to the effect of "Who could have seen this coming!?" Really? If an NBA reporter from another market had said that, I could chalk it up to just never having invested any time in looking at Kevin Love. But everyone who watched them nightly understood Love was the team's best player. And his per-minute performance in 2009-2010 was very nearly identical to his 2010-11 numbers. Wow, he was fantastic in limited minutes in 09-10. How could one possibly ever know that giving him more minutes would be a good idea? I mean, who the hell would think of that? Oh yeah, that was me, in my 09-10 wrapup. And then it was Dave Berri, a few days after that season opener, well before Love went for 30/30. Oh, and, hell, even ESPN:
Love's not the only one who's confused. Some members of the Timberwolves organization are baffled that Rambis has limited Love to just 26.4 minutes a game, according to sources, and many executives and scouts throughout the NBA are stunned by Love's lack of playing time.
Don't tell me nobody could have known. Everyone except you knew it.