HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

May 28, 2007

Hopes of change for T-Wolves ended last week

By Jesse Menden

Well, so much for selling hope for the upcoming season.

Within a 24-hour period last week, Minnesota Timberwolves fans were assured of the status quo after two different events took place.

Wednesday night, the T-wolves learned they will remain the seventh pick in the upcoming National Basketball Association draft. They are now 0-for-11 when it comes to moving up in the lottery.

The seventh pick ensures the Wolves will probably not get a talent that will have an immediate impact on next year’s squad. Outside of the probable top two picks, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the draft is not that deep. The Wolves will get a decent player, but nothing to get overly excited about.

Just under 24 hours later, on Wednesday afternoon, the Wolves resigned coach Randy Wittman to a multi-year contract.

There is no doubt that he is a good guy and a decent coach, but status quo is not what this team needs. It is desperately in search of a shakeup. A coach who led the team to a 12-30 record under his brief tenure is not exactly going to capture the excitement of fans, or players for that matter.

The Wolves are a better team than that record. It appears Wittman could not get the players to give their full effort.

So what do we learn from these two events? The 2007-08 T-Wolves basketball team will be much like the 32-50 team it was last year.

Normally, stability in the coaching staff and players is a good thing, but it won’t work out that way for the T-Wolves.

NBA lottery

As depressed as I am about the T-Wolves, you can’t help but feel sorry for Memphis and Boston. Those two teams had more balls in the lottery than any other teams, but fell down to the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Portland, who had the same chance to move up as the Wolves, won the lottery and received the first pick.

The fall of the top two seeds has brought up some talk about if the lottery is right for the NBA.

It was created to prevent teams from losing games on purpose at the end of the season to improve their draft status. The lottery has rid the NBA of some of that, but it still happens.

I think the lottery is still the right thing for the NBA. Some say that they should go back to a regular draft, where the worst record picks first, or a draft where all non-playoff teams are given an equal chance.

Going back to a regular draft would make unwatchable games in March even worse as already bad teams try to lose.

Throwing all of the non-playoff teams into a hat would be unfair to the worse teams in the league, whose ability to improve would be based soley on luck.

The lottery is the best system for the NBA. Sure, Memphis and Boston missed out on the two best players since LeBron James, but odds are they will get their chance again next year.