For a lot of sports fans, the NBA playoffs don’t rank atop their list of the best sporting events each the year, but for me, they are the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the drama, eighth seeds knocking off one seeds, watching players elevate their game and take their team on deep runs. Last year it was Dirk and the Mavericks and this year it will be LeBron James.
It’s hard to have one of the greatest seasons in NBA history and do so quietly, but that is how he wanted to do it. He stayed out of the spotlight and locked himself in the gym instead. The Heat are days away from taking care of the Knicks and from there, with Derrick Rose out, the path back to the Finals is relatively easy. But will LeBron step up and become one of the great? I think he will. He hasn’t given me any evidence to think this way other than the “Witness” series against Detroit all those years ago, but just like Dirk last year, it feels like it is his time.
Monday is ten years in the making for the Minnesota Vikings as the state will finally have the long-awaited vote on a new stadium. With Republicans in control of the Legislator and not many of them behind Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed plan that relies on tax revenue from gambling, approval to build a stadium is far from a sure thing.
House speaker Kurt Zeller has already made his intentions clear by stating he will vote against it. He was also quoted as saying, “”The fate of the stadium is now in the governor’s hand.”
This quote is on the heels of Zeller and fellow Republican’s alternative approach to building a stadium, which consisted of a reduced state share and paying for it with income and sales tax backed construction bonds.
I know high-profile bills can turn into bargaining chips for lawmakers seeking support for their own priorities. I also understand that Republicans don’t want a stadium deal to be seen as a win for Dayton, but as a Minnesotan, I held out hope that political agendas and differences could be put aside for the betterment of the state. Quotes from rep Zeller make it hard to believe Republicans will be able to move past hurt feelings, avoid acting like a child and do something the majority of the state wants to happen.
We’ll all know the answer to the stadium issue on Monday, but as a Vikings fan and having a lack of faith in local government, I’m ready to start calling them the Los Angeles Vikings.
Draft grades are nearly impossible to give out, because no matter how much film or game tape one has on a player, they don’t know how that is going to translate into the next level. There are too many examples of players who are still on the board in the later rounds that end up being great for anyone to say, this team or that team has had a good or bad draft moments after it happens. We can only assess a team’s draft after those late round surprises and first round busts sort themselves out over the next few years.
In saying that, I would give the Vikings a B after the first two days of the draft. It’s tough to give them credit for Matt Kalil, but it is easy to give Spielman credit for high-jacking a few extra picks from Cleveland and drafting the guy they wanted all along. In the Brown’s defense, they had the extra picks and if Richardson was their guy, why not make sure you get him.
I also give Spielmen credit for using those extra picks to jump into the end of the first round and just like what Cleveland did, the Vikings made sure they got the guy they wanted. Unlike Cleveland, Harrison Smith most likely would have been available when the Vikings drafted in the second round.
The corner back they grabbed (Josh Robinson) in round three is supposed to be the fastest defensive back in the draft. Though, as a Vikings fan, we all know speed does not equal success. Does the name Troy Williamson ring a bell? We’ve been told the Vikings didn’t reach on Robinson and actually got some great value with the pick. So three picks in, what do we know about the Vikings draft after two days? The additions look good on paper and Spielmen’s been patted on the back for his moves. What don’t we know? Everything else, but speculating is too much fun to pass up.
We’re in the midst of a very interesting time to be a Minnesota sports fan. The Vikings are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history and there’s still a chance, it has become slim, but they might become the L.A. Vikings. The team has also just made some moves in the first round of the NFL Draft last night as they try to take a step forward on the field and off it with local politicians. The Twins are finally in a new stadium, which may be old news at this point. They also share something with the Viking and that is being one of the worst teams their respective professional league. There is definitely a theme in this town as the Wild and Wolves are also near the bottom in the NHL and NBA. Between these four teams, the Wolves are the only one showing a sign of life.
Since my last post on Fire David Kahn a lot has changed. We’ve seen Brett Favre come and go and in between, lead us within a first down of the Super Bowl. The Twins have gone from a perennial playoff team to a doormat, the Wild are still the Wild and as I said, the Wolves are finally respectable. The one constant has been David Kahn’s ineptitude. He got Rubio here, so he’s done something good, but he also drafted Johnny Flynn, Wes Johnson, signed Darko, went cheap on resigning Kevin Love and regardless of the hope, he’s still assembled a roster full of players who have no idea how to win.
One reason why I stopped writing this blog a few years back was because there are only so many ways you can say, David Kahn is an idiot. It got old and we got bored, so this time around we’re going to broaden our horizons and step into the world of pop culture and even book publicity. We’re going to talk about the Vikings stadium, the Wolves off-season, the Vikings off-season, The Twins and yes, we’ll still discuss why Kahn isn’t an NBA caliber GM. We’ll dip our ink into what is happening in the world of pop culture and for those hopeful authors, you will get some advice on how to sell a book.
The Timberwolves and I are friends on Facebook. Out of all my friends, they have the best status updates. They promote deals on tickets and boast about an addition to the organization. They never post drippy, woe is me status updates and if any of my friends have the right to be a little down it’s the Timberwolves.
Their latest update is my favorite. Top Ten Timberwolves moments and as a friend, I get to help decide which moments those are. Here are my top ten:
10. Draft day trade for Randy Foye.
9. When the team hung a banner for having the best record in the NBA for the month of January.
8. Mispelling Wolves on the Read to Achive poster.
7. Kevin McHale.
6. The run to the Western Conference finals.
5. Stanley Roberts and Oliver Miller.
4. Each time KG punched Wally during practice, because then I knew we had a season.
3. The salad years with Flip. Win 50 games and get hammered in the first round of the playoffs.
2. Signing Joe Smith and setting the franchise back for, well they’ve never stopped reeling.
1. David Kahn and Ricky Rubio.
David Kahn spent the past few days meeting with DKV Joventut about a potential buyout of Ricky Rubio’s contract. In those same few days, Rubio was quoted as saying his basketball future was with the Timberwolves. He used the word Timberwolves—it was for the first time.
There was a glimmer of hope of the impossible happening. Kahn was working on a deal on the buyout. Rubio gushed about the Wolves pursuit. He liked us. Rubio wanted to be a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kahn reached an agreement with DKV Joventut. He did it. Kahn somehow made those 500,000 stretch and finagle and morph into an attractive buyout. I wanted to hug Kahn.
Rubio pulled out. Rubio turned down the contract offer. He was going to play in the NBA no matter this coming season. He wants to stay in Spain and play for Barcelona. He doesn’t feel ready to play in the NBA. He turned down the Timberwolves offer. He’s Ricky Rubio; he’s not like anyone else. He’s flattered by the Wolves and their willingness to stand by him. He turned down the Timberwolves contract offer.
Rubio has no interest in playing for the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves coaching staff resembles a poor man’s version of an NBA Superstar posters from the 80s. Most people would have trouble naming three players on the Wolves roster, but with the addition of Bill Lambeer and Reggie Theus, I bet most can name three coaches.
Lambeer is best known for his days as a member of two championship Piston teams. He’s also won three championships as the head coach of the Detroit Shock, so he used to winning. He’s also a defensive minded coach, which should add a nice wrinkle to the Wolves run and gun offense.
The verdict is still out on Theus. Are the Wolves getting the man who led the Kings to an abysmal record or are they getting coach Bill Fuller? Coach Fuller led the Deering Tornadoes and taught life lessons for thirty minutes every Saturday morning. Fuller would be a good fit with the Wolves. He could bring in sharp shooter Teddy Broadis to fill a need at shooting guard and Julie Connor would be a great point guard to have coming off the bench.