Posts Tagged ‘flip saunders’

Photo from nba.com

Photo from nba.com

Exciting rookies, new veterans and a blueprint for success in the years to come…my first post of the season was supposed to be a happy one.  Instead, I find myself in shambles with the recent news that Flip Saunders lost his fight with cancer.

It’s strange to be so broken up about a man you never met and it’s difficult to explain to someone not from Minnesota what he meant to this team and this state and why we are so palpably devastated. After all, it’s just a game, right? But you see, we catch a lot of flak for being a lousy team in a cold ass state.  When people say they don’t want to live or play in this tundra and that the Timberwolves are a joke, we take it personally. Flip wanted to change all that.  He wanted to make this team great and maybe he couldn’t change the weather but he could warm up the atmosphere with a winning culture.

Flip may have been from Ohio but he was an Honorary Minnesotan and a spokesperson for us and we loved him for it.

Here are my favorite, fondest memories of Flip and his tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 2004 Western Conference Finals – Otherwise known as the Zenith.  This is the greatest moment inTimberwolves history, even though we actually  lost.  But damnit, we were close.  Flip took this team to the brink and in my opinion the only thing that kept us from taking it all was Sam Cassell LITERALLY injuring himself doing the “Big Balls Dance“.  I can’t think of a more Minnesotan way of losing.  Flip was never pissed about it, though.  He understood the mind and soul of a player and got that sometimes you just have to grab your imaginary oversized balls in a gesture of supreme joy.  I just wish Cassell had done his big ball stretches beforehand.

Flip’s Diamond Store Commercials – This may sound like a joke but I’m being serious.  Those diamond store commercials are usually so cheesy and gross, but when Flip was in them you felt his sincerity. Normally, having a personal jeweler for over 20 years sounds about as fun as being Ricky Rubio’s shooting coach but Flip made it feel as warm as Paul Bunyon’s bosom.

The Wiggins-Love Trade – While the Conference Finals was the franchise’s greatest moment, I think this is Flip’s personal highmark.  Having the patience and balls (without any dance!) to pull off this trade without flinching is hugely underrated.  If this trade was up done by David Kahn, we would have gotten a 55-year-old Sam Bowie and a free box of Icy Hots.  Instead, we got the future of our team and Flip’s good decisions will live on.

Flip’s Blue Suits – Flip looked like the fanciest bell-hop in the world in those things.  I am always jealous of people who can wear skinny suits, because I’m built like a pear-shaped inner tube.  Flip may have worn the same suit 77% of the time but he pulled it off in style.  Also, I’ve been wearing the same jeans for two weeks so I can’t talk.

Everything – Honestly, I can list a million things about Flip that I loved.  The Gorgui Dieng pick, the Shabazz Muhammad-Trey Burke swap, his desire to run every front office position in the Timberwolves organization or his legendary humor and friendliness.  I never had the pleasure of meeting the dude but I can say that he was truly beloved by Minnesota sports fans.  He may never have gotten that NBA championship ring, but he made us feel pride in ourselves and we’ll be forever grateful for that.

Rest In Peace, Flip.

Photo from wikia.nocookie.net

Photo from wikia.nocookie.net

“And with the #1 Pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select…”

Those are words that have never been said.  Officially.  I’ve said them outloud.  I said them 57 times yesterday.  I’m saying them right now while throwing confetti and giggling to myself as I type this.  Saying the Timberwolves have the #1 pick was about as much of a reality as pancakes being president.

Until yesterday.

Long live President Pancakes, because the MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES HAVE THE #1 PICK IN THE NBA DRAFT!

Who do we pick?  Do we take Jahlil Okafor?  Do we trade down and get D’Angelo Russell and another player?  What about that weird Eastern European guy whose name sounds like Portishead?  ARE YOU NUTS?!  We take Karl-Anthony Towns ten times out of ten. If Karl-Anthony Towns loses a leg, decides that Royce White is his spiritual advisor and insists on dressing like George Washington we STILL TAKE KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS!  Why?  I’m not Zach Lowe, but it’s pretty simple.  There are two potential franchise big men in the draft.  One is good at defense (Towns) and one guards the rim about as well as a Pomeranian guards a skyscraper (Okafor).  We are bad at defense.  Boom.  Towns!

Also, there’s this:

You had me at the quotation mark.

You had me at quotation marks.  Us Minnesotans are used to being shit on and snickered at.  This dude, whether he means it or not, just said all the right things.  He’s already fitting right in with Minnesotans.  Be super polite at first, push your pain and hatred deep down and then explode in uncontrollable rage seven years down the line.  THAT’S how we do it in Bunyon Town.

Now Flip just needs to draft the right player.  Minnesota has never drafted the wrong player before, right?  Who’s Steph Curry?  Never heard of him.

See you all on June 25th for the draft!

FARGO

Flip Saunders is acting like a jealous old girlfriend, spreading rumors and trying to piss everybody off in lieu of tonight’s Wolves/Cavs game.

Here’s what he had to say after practice on Monday about Kevin Love and Cleveland:  “Minnesota people are pretty loyal. You turn on Minnesota, they don’t forgive you. So I think people probably appreciated him while he was here. But you leave under the terms that he did, just the way Minnesota people are, they’re not pretty forgiving along those lines.”

Dude.  Flip.   Do you even live in Minnesota?  How do you not know how Minnesotans work?  We don’t get outwardly mad at people.  We get super pissed on the inside, push it way down into our bowels and then flog ourselves in a closet while staring at pictures of Kevin Love and LeBron James hugging.  We’ll boo him, but it won’t be at a game.  It’ll be three months later in the Macy’s Skyway.  We won’t be able to fit into any swimsuits for our Jamaican vacation and it’ll be the straw that broke the loon’s back and we’ll shove the swimsuit over our head and scream “Damn you, Kevin Love!  You ruined my waistline!” and cry and cry.

That’s how Minnesota works:  Passive-aggressive denial, rage bubbling to the surface, shame, repeat.

I, for one, would like to end this cycle.  As a Timberwolves fan and resident Minnesotan, I have decided to look at the man in the mirror and make that change.  I have been working diligently on being just flat-out AGGRESSIVE-aggressive.  When the Lakers were in town recently, I overhead a dude yelling at an employee at Target:

DUDE: Where are all your Lakers jerseys? 

EMPLOYEE: I’m sorry, we don’t have any.  

DUDE: What?!  But the Lakers are national, man!  

EMPLOYEE:  We only carry Minnesota teams.  

ME (Running by, pointing my fingers and yelling at full volume): FUCK THE LAKERS AND FUCK YOU!  GO WOLVES! 

DUDE: Not funny, man.   

It felt good.  So even though Flip is confused (especially since tonight’s Wolves/Cavs game is in CLEVELAND), I think we should try and fulfill the vision and drop the passive-aggressiveness.  Let’s take it at Kevin Love when the game IS played here.  Let’s burn Mike Love solo albums in the parking lot.  Let’s steal coats from homeless people.  Let’s start a GoFundMe, buy the Cleveland Cavaliers and only offer him a four-year contract worth Ricky Rubio’s jockstrap.

No more Minnesota nice.  Let’s bring some Minnesota ice.

Also, they’re going to kill us.  We suck really bad.

GO WOLVES!!!

Okay, so maybe I was a little emo on my last post.  However, in true Minnesota never-admit-defeat-because-defeat-requires-awkward-feelings fashion, I have 100% recovered mentally and spiritually.

I was upset that we drafted alleged team-cancer and confirmed fuck-face, Shabazz Muhammed.  That was last week.  Now, I think he’ll be Rookie of the Year.  Why?  Because why not!?  We are the Timberwolves.  There’s no use rationalizing this stuff.  You can use all the advanced statistics you want to tell me that Player A has a better blippity-blop than Player B in the post bloppity-blip, but the truth of the matter is that some witch doctor in the French Caribbean has been sticking needles into a Minnesota Timberwolves since just after the Kevin Garnett days.  But now Garnett is a Brooklyn Net, so the curse is over.  DON’T RATIONALIZE IT!!!

And with that I would like to welcome the newest Minnesota Timberwolf, Kevin Martin:  Holy crap!  Somebody purposely choose to play for us.  And he’s black!  And his knees aren’t made out of wishes!  And he’s not KENYON MARTIN (I checked twice.)  Hot damn!

Kevin Martin: The most accurate awful-looking shot in history. Photo from rantsports.com

Kevin Martin shoots like he’s playing darts, but it goes in somehow.  Photo from rantsports.com

Because of this alone, I am predicting that we finish at least as high as the Denver Nuggets next year.  I don’t even know who plays for them anymore.  That team is disappearing faster than a pile of coke on Chris Anderson’s coffee table.  Throw in that we also re-signed the fairest maiden of them all, Chase Budinger, and it’s been a pretty good couple days for the Timberwolves.  All we need to do now is re-sign Pekovic.  We have to.  Give him whatever he wants.  A pile of skulls, a giant mutton chop from a dragon, the Holy Grail DVD or whatever medieval shit Pek’s into.  Dress up Troy Hudson like Rapunzel.  Or a big contract.  Whatever!  Make it happen, Flip!

Speaking of Flip, I like him infinitely better than David Kahn, with one minor negative:  There’s no easy “KAHHHNNNNNNN!” catch-phrase to yell when we’re mad at him.  Granted, the point of Flip’s hiring is that we’re NOT supposed to be mad at him as much as Kahn, but this is the Timberwolves after all.  After a quick brainstorm off the top of my head I came up with:

1) “Fuck you, Flip!”  (See, I told you it wasn’t easy.)

2) “MANATEE!”  (Flip looks like a sad manatee.)

Flip Saunders Manatee

or

3) “KAAAHHHHNNNNNNN!”  (We can still blame him for at least another five years.  It’s valid.)

Now, for the love of God, let’s make the playoffs next year.  Go Wolves!

Shabazz Mohammad. Photo from twincities.com

The Timberwolves’ #14 pick: Shabazz Muhammad. Photo from twincities.com

We suck at drafting.  Like super suck.  I was trying to think of an analogy like “We are the _____ of drafting” and then I realized it’s already right in front of me.  We are the Minnesota Timberwolves of drafting.  David Kahn, Flip Saunders, it doesn’t matter.  We treat each draft like it’s a meat raffle and yet we come home with Twinkies.

Positives first: We drafted guys with fantastically comic booky names Shabazz and Gorgui.  Too bad Magneto and Doctor Octopus were already taken.  In addition, Shabazz can be used as a verb like “Smurf”, as in “He goes up!  And yes!  With the SHABAZZ!” and  “You really shouldn’t Shabazz in public.”  Also, neither draft pick is white, which lowers our Cape Cod percentage to 85% bleached.  Phew!

Negatives: We could have had Trey Burke, arguably the best point guard in the draft.  Granted, we have 45 point guards, but in a weak draft like this you take what you can get.  Instead, we basically swapped for Michael Beasley with less talent.  Shabazz has allegedly lied about his age, sulked when a teammate scored a game-winning basketball instead of him and de-pantsed elderly people in public on their birthdays.  That last one might not be true, but that’s how poorly he’s being portrayed.

It really comes as no surprise if you pay attention to our history.  We’ve flubbed way more than we’ve hit.  Here are our top lottery pick selections since our very first year.  Try not to be blown away by the star-power:

1989 – Pooh Richardson #10 (Pooh!)

1990 – Felton Spencer #5 (Swing and a miss.)

1991 – Luc Longley #7 (An avocado tree could have played center for the Bulls and won those titles.)

1992 – Christian Laettner #3 (No comment necessary.)

1993 – Isaiah “J.R.” Rider #5 (Our first go-around with a mega-talented pile of shit.)

1994 – Donyell Marshall #4 (Who?)

1995 – Kevin Garnett #5 (YAY!! A grand slam and a future Hall-Of-Famer!  Good job, Wolves!)

1996 – Ray Allen #5 (YAY! A grand slam and a future Hall-Of-Famer!  Oh, wait.  Traded to Milwaukee.  For Stephon Marbury.  Feeling…sad…)

1999 – Wally Szczerbiak #6 (Pick traded From New Jersey.  Wayzata embodied in human form. If only his game stood up as much as his intensely gelled hair.)

2006 – Brandon Roy #6 (Traded to Portland.  Booo!  No, yay!  No, wait…I’m not sure.)

2007 – Corey Brewer #7 (Clank.)

2008 – O.J. Mayo #3 (Traded to Memphis for Kevin Love.  YAY!  Good job, Kevin McHale!  Maybe you aren’t so bad, after all.  Hey, where are you?)

2009 – Ricky Rubio #5 (Real-life anime teddy bear and hopefully the face of our franchise for years to come.  Either way, I could really use a Ricky Rubio “Change this face!” pick-me-up right now.)

2009 – Jonny Flynn #6 (Sucks so bad that his name tried to spell “no” several times.)

2010 – Wesley Johnson #4 (To this day, I’m partially convinced that Wesley Johnson was just a tall usher in the audience who got mistaken for an NBA player and drafted.)

2011 – Derrick Williams #2 (T.B.D. Best case scenario: We trade him for something.  Worst case scenario: Kevin Love breaks his knuckles on his face.  KABLAM!  CHA-POW!  SHABAZZ!)

2013 – Drafted Trey Burke #9, then traded him for the picks that became Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Sassafras Tinklytoots.

2014- Grumpy Cat #1 and David Kahn #9?  Why not?

Grumpy Mike - Frighteningly, I swear to God this picture was taken before I'd even heard of Grumpy Cat.  Photo by Ryan Wisniewski

Grumpy Mike – Frighteningly, I swear to God this picture was taken before I’d even heard of Grumpy Cat. Photo by Ryan Wisniewski

Let’s face it, Wolves fans (those of you still out there) – It doesn’t matter who our GM or President or head coach is.  Glen Taylor is the owner and will be for a long, long time.  As long as he holds the reigns:  We.  Are.  Screwed.  Who’s really to blame?  The idiots and their idiot decisions?  Or the King Idiot who keeps hiring all the idiots?  Or the idiot like me who keeps watching?

Shabummer.

Foreshadowing by Flea? Photo from dimemag.com

Flea foreshadowing Shabazz’s 2015 panda smuggling prison stint. Photo from dimemag.com

David Kahn Fired

Photo from blogimages.thescore.com

David Kahn is gone!

This must be how old people felt when the Polio vaccine came out.  Or when a killer whale feels when it eats it’s trainer.  Freedom!

I can’t believe he’s finally out of here.  Who’s going to sign a 41-year-old Shawn Bradley next year or draft a toaster?  Who’s going to chase our only superstar away?  Who’s going to slowly apply lotion to his hands while watching reruns of Silver Spoons.  That last one was speculation.

They didn’t even fire him, they just didn’t renew his contract.  That’s some straight-up middle-school “I’m not even going to call her because it’s easier to just stand her up at the food court” style break-up.  Okay, I only had one girlfriend in middle school and she dumped me, but I know how it feels and David Kahn is going to be crying in his Hypercolor t-shirt tonight.

But now that he’s gone, he’s got to do something with his life, right?  What’s next in the career of a failed lawyer, sports writer and NBA executive?  Here’s a few suggestions:

President of the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl: “Um, David, you can’t play turtles in the puppy bowl.  They’re not even cute.”

Darko Milicic entourage member:  “Hey Darko, can I borrow some manna from heaven?  I haven’t eaten today. Do we have to live in Serbia?”

Renaissance Festival dork:  He should actually do this.  Ren Festers are as confused about history as Kahn is about basketball.  He’d fit right in.  Are Ren Festers the David Kahn of life or is David Kahn the Ren Fest of basketball?

Wu-Tang Clan tribute band manager:  Only hires white rappers.  Trades white RZA and GZA for Vanilla Ice.  Signs the dude who did Barney Rubble’s rap for Flinstone’s cereal.  Pays White Method Man the least amount of money.

New GM/President for the Los Angeles Lakers:  Signs a 30-year contact with a no-fire clause.  I can dream, can’t I?

Rumor has it that Flip Saunders could be the next GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves, replacing David Kahn this summer.

“Oh no,” many Timberwolves fans might gasp.  “Flip Saunders is an ineffective idiot with a dumb name and a stupid face!”

What?  Are you paying attention?  Forget the line about Flip Saunders.  Focus on the “replacing David Kahn” part.  Ding-dong, the worst GM in the history of the NBA is almost dead.  It’s pathetic that as Timberwolves fans we’ve been relegated to “lesser of the evils” scenarios, but anybody is better than David Kahn as GM.  Anybody.  Kwame Brown, Michael Jackson’s doctor, James Worthy’s prostitute, James Worthy’s prostitute’s doctor.  Anybody!

David Kahn called this man "Manna From Heaven."  Photo from thethirdcity.org

David Kahn called this man “Manna From Heaven.” Photo from thethirdcity.org

Flip wasn’t the best coach in the world.  But he was there for the golden Kevin Garnett years.  Maybe this is what it’s come to?  The Timberwolves are an old maid who passed on too many suitors as a young lass.  And now we’re middle-aged and flabby, calling old flames trying to rekindle past romances.

“Hey baby, remember when we went to the Western Conference Finals?  And then lost.  And then illegally signed Joe Smith and lost our draft picks for five years when we got caught?  That wasn’t so bad, was it?  I’m at the Super 8 by the off-track betting if you’re interested.  Bring some pull-tabs!”

All I care about at this point is that we get rid of David Kahn and we keep the team in Minnesota.  I can deal with everything else.  I can deal with 25 win seasons being our best in years.  I can live with Kevin Love leaving.  I’m okay with only arctic Inuits signing with us because everybody’s afraid of our winters.  The only thing I can’t stomach is the Seattle Timberwolves. 

We just lost to the Miami Heat, who have now won 15 in a row.  That’s neat.  Next up we play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at home.  Only 25 games to go!

Make it stop.