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Draft Express has posted video of the incident, and while Kahn doesn't exactly make it clear the quotes came with an "I'm just joking" caveat, it's clear that the comments came along with the patented Kahn smirk.
"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said while meeting with reporters following his team taking second in the Lottery despite having the top odds. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."
Speaking with CBS Sports' Ken Berger on Wednesday, after traveling to Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine following Tuesday's lottery, Kahn says that he doesn't believe in jinxes -- just the "power of story."
"The first questions I was asked last night by the reporters were, did I feel that the Timberwolves were jinxed," Kahn told Berger. "You know, we have a poor lottery record. And I want to say for the record, I don't believe in jinxes, curses, hocus pocus, and I don't believe we've been harmed in any way. What I said last night, I do believe in the power of story. And I just felt it was a heck of a lot better story for a 14-year-old to beat out two middle-aged executives standing together on a stage on national TV, and that our league has had its own share of luck in being a part of those stories. That's it. Anybody ascribing anything else to it is completely doing their own thing."
Kahn believes, as well, that the quotes were simply taken out of context.
"There was no follow-up question. Nobody said, ‘Do you understand what you just said?' No, because everybody knew context. But I do understand, to your point, just reading it dry, that somebody could infer that. So lesson learned."
So the NBA Draft lottery isn't rigged?
"Absolutely not. I'm just saying that, if you look at sports in general, typically fairy tale stories, Cinderella stories, whatever you want to say, those tend to dominate sports. I just knew when you're standing there with a 14-year-old kid, logically the 14-year-old kid ... it had nothing to do with being nefarious."
Either way, he knows what he said was probably enough to bring about a fine from the league office.
"I've had money taken away from me before," Kahn said. "It probably won't be the last time. It is what it is."
Not sure that's the best attitude to have, Mr. Kahn, but it is what it is.
Colleague Scott Schroeder had a brief commentary about the comments David Kahn made Tuesday night following the NBA Draft lottery and how it maybe, possibly sort of could be rigged, but anytime your team's president of basketball operations goes on a rant like that, there's more that needs to be said.
Now, the Wolves have had rotten luck in the lottery throughout their entire existence, as the first story in this sequence details. However, if Kahn is implying that there was some sort of impropriety involved with the NBA Draft Lottery, it wouldn't be the first time that someone had made such a claim. In fact, such things have gone all the way back to the very first NBA lottery.
The NBA instituted the lottery system for the first time prior to the 1985 NBA Draft. The biggest star coming out that year was Georgetown University big man Patrick Ewing. There are a couple of theories out there, from the envelope containing the Knicks' logo being frozen to this Zapruder-esque detailing of the process by ESPN's Bill Simmons. . .which doesn't sound terribly crazy, the more you read it. . .that allowed the New York Knicks to obtain the draft's first overall pick and bring college basketball's biggest star to the NBA's biggest market.
That's not the only draft "conspiracy theory" that's been floated around, either.
-The Orlando Magic won the NBA's draft lottery in two consecutive years, 1992 and 1993, despite having a 1-in-66 chance of winning the lottery the second time, allowing them to team Shaquille O'Neal with Penny Hardaway.
-In 2002, the Cleveland Cavaliers had the worst record in the NBA and a 22.5% chance of winning the lottery, which they did. . .making it the first time a team with the worst overall record had won the lottery since 1990. They drafted Akron's own LeBron James with that pick.
-In 2007, the NBA had a couple of struggling teams in the Pacific Northwest in the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Supersonics. Portland had a 5% chance of landing the top overall pick, while Seattle's chances were at 9%. But, when the dust settled, there they were with the first and second picks, which they used to select Greg Oden (who has flopped in the NBA) and Kevin Durant (who still wasn't enough to keep the Sonics from relocating to Oklahoma City).
-In 2008, the Chicago Bulls had less than a 2% chance of winning the lottery, yet wound up on top. . .allowing them to draft Memphis' Derrick Rose, who just happens to be from Chicago. The franchise was still recovering from the loss of Michael Jordan, and the addition of Rose has allowed them to do that quite nicely, thank you.
Now, I'm not saying that the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged. But a process as secretive as the NBA uses. . .not to mention the fact that they're the only sport that does things this way. . .is going to lend itself to questions when you have the sorts of "fishy" results we've seen over the course of the lottery's history.
The 2011 NBA Draft lottery happened Tuesday night without much fanfare outside of the usual loyal NBA followers, but multiple winners emerged from the night of ping pong balls and lucky charms.
The actual winner, for all intents and purposes, was the Cleveland Cavaliers as they picked up both the first and fourth overall picks in next month's NBA draft. While it was difficult to see the Wolves not earn the top overall pick, it wasn't so bad seeing them lose to the Cavaliers as represented by Dan Gilbert's son, the courageous Nick Gilbert.
Those that specialize in making and updating the numerous NBA mock draft sites that fans will flock to for the next month also got a nice little boost as the shake up in the NBA Draft order meant that they were able to garner a whole new fanbase with the teams now in their final (new) position.
Last but not least, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations didn't go home a loser. That doesn't exactly mean he's a winner, perhaps, but considering the Wolves didn't end up with the fourth overall pick -- their worst possible option -- and will now be able to choose whichever player falls to them in a draft with two players with actual superstar potential is quite the boon.
For the purpose of this editorial, there will be new losers named because just like in second grade basketball, everyone goes home a winner here at SB Nation Minnesota!
The last three No. 2 picks were Evan Turner of Ohio State (to the Philadelphia 76ers), UConn's Hasheem Thabeet (to the Memphis Grizzlies) and Kansas State's Michael Beasley (to the Miami Heat before the Wolves picked him up for basically nothing). Okay, maybe those three names -- along with president of basketball operations David Kahn making the decisions -- mean it is in fact doomsday.
Prior to those three players, however, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge were selected with the second pick in the NBA Draft. Durant is probably one of the best scorers in the league (and getting better) while Aldridge has made huge strides since coming out of college and just barely missed being an NBA All-Star this season.
Feast or famine seems to be the current outlook if Wolves fans are looking at recent history, but what reason would Minnesotans have to be anything but optimistic?
The Minnesota Timberwolves will pick second in this year's NBA Draft despite having the best odds of winning the 2011 NBA Draft lottery. This might not be such a bad thing for Wolves fans, however.
Consider David Kahn's luck in the past and then think about the decisions he would have had to make with the first pick: Is Ricky Rubio coming over from Spain or do I need to draft Duke point guard Kyrie Irving? Is Arizona's Derrick Williams really the second best player available in the NBA Draft? What's an Enes Kanter and is there any possible way that he's better than manna from Heaven, a la Darko Milicic?
Instead, Kahn will now have a handy excuse if the Draft doesn't work out in the Wolves favor because -- like always -- the Wolves simply got unlucky. Kahn will be able to take whichever player the Cleveland Cavaliers don't in what's widely considered a two-player draft (and a mediocre one at that).
So, while getting the first pick would have been nice, at least this should allow Kahn to make an easy decision. Should, perhaps, being the key word.
The Minnesota Timberwolves went in with the best odds to win the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery and, as luck would have it, came out with the second pick in this year's Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers took top honors while the Utah Jazz also moved into the top three for the June 23 draft.
With that pick, the Wolves will now have a choice to make between selecting either Duke's Kyrie Irving or Arizona's Derrick Williams (whichever player the Cavs don't pick) or a candidate that surprises everyone in the pre-draft workouts.
The Wolves also have the 20th pick, for those that weren't aware, but the top pick is obviously the one that everyone was worried about heading into Tuesday night.
With the pick, the Wolves now will have to make a decision on whether or not they think Ricky Rubio is coming over from Spain, whether Williams is worth selecting after using a top-5 pick on Wesley Johnson last season and whether the player will need to be able to play in Kurt Rambis's triangle offense.
Either way, since the Wolves didn't somehow end up with the fourth pick, today wasn't too bad of a day to be a fan of Minnesota basketball.
The 2011 NBA Draft order will be decided later this evening following the NBA Draft lottery on ESPN (7:30 p.m. CT, for those unaware), but fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves should know that one of the team's picks is already set in stone.
The Timberwolves will have a pick somewhere in the top four of the 2011 NBA Draft (where exactly will be decided by 8 p.m.), everyone that has been paying attention knows that, along with the 20th overall pick when June 23 -- this year's NBA Draft date -- rolls around.
The Wolves picked up that selection when they traded Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz for Kosta Koufos and two future first round picks (one of which was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies) this past offseason. Minnesota would have also been owed the Jazz's own first round pick if they ended this seas with a selection later than the 16th overall pick, but that will instead be rolled back to next year.
A full list of the 2011 NBA Draft order, before the lottery, is posted below:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. Utah Jazz
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
10. Milwaukee Bucks
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
15. Indiana Pacers
17. New York Knicks
18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta Hawks)
19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans Hornets)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies)
22. Denver Nuggets
23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando Magic)
25. Boston Celtics
26. Dallas Mavericks
30. Chicago Bulls
The 2011 NBA Draft will take place following the upcoming Draft Lottery (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. CT) and potential first round pick Kyrie Irving has decided to throw a neat little wrinkle into the event by showing up with his agent.
Irivng,a freshman out out Duke University, is currently projected to go to the Minnesota Timberwolves according to most NBA mock drafts, but that could all change if the Wolves annual lottery luck doesn't change.
Irving has ties to New Jersey, where the lottery is held, as he attended high school at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, NJ. Still, it's quite the statement to be making by showing up the lottery as most believe it's the first time that a top player has decided to attend the event that's been happening annually since 1985.
The NBA's official Twitter account captured a picture of the momentous occasion while he looks to be talking with Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo.
The NBA Draft Lottery will begin this evening at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN, just prior to the tip-off of the Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, making it quite possibly the first must-watch television event for Minnesota Timberwolves fans since the 2010-11 season opener.
The always-forward thinking Timberwolves are of course sending president of basketball operations David Kahn to the 2011 affair. And, since Kahn hasn't been lucky with anything he's done since moving in Minnesota, one would have to think he's about due to beat the odds and win the Lottery in what's being described as the worst draft since 2000.
If the Timberwolves end up with a less than top pick, however -- and really, why should fans expect any different -- our good friend Jonah Ballow from Timberwolves.com reminds us that good things might still be able to happen:
If luck escapes the franchise once again, fans should feel comfort with a trip down memory lane. In 1995, Minnesota dropped from the projected No. 3 pick to No. 5 and landed future Hall of Famer and former MVP Kevin Garnett.
So, tonight, just cross your fingers that the Wolves either win the lottery or drop to whatever pick the next Kevin Garnett is going to selected. Easy.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been in existence for 22 NBA seasons, counting this past disastrous year, and Tuesday will mark the fifteenth time that they have partaken in the NBA Draft Lottery. In typical Minnesota fashion, the lottery has largely led to disappointment for the blue and green.
In the Timberwolves' first fourteen trips to the Draft Lottery, they have never -- not one single time -- improved their station in the draft. They have always either stayed where they were in terms of draft position relative to their record or seen their position get worse. As they had the NBA's worst record during the 2010-11 season, it will mark the fifteenth straight trip to the lottery for the Timberwolves where, basically, only bad things can happen. Obviously, they can't be any higher than the first overall pick, but they can certainly drop below that.
With the way the lottery is set up, the lowest the Timberwolves can select in the 2011 NBA Draft is number four overall, and that's if three of the other teams that are in the lottery have their ping pong balls come out of the hopper before the Timberwolves do. To show exactly what sort of luck the Timberwolves have had in the lottery, have a look at the following table. The first column is where the Timberwolves would have selected if there was no lottery, and the second column is where they ended up being slotted after the lottery had concluded.
|No Lottery||After Lottery|
As you can see from the table, thus far the Timberwolves have stayed where they should have six times and have seen their position get worse on eight different occasions.
A couple of these have had a profound impact on the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves. For example, Minnesota had the worst record in the NBA in 1992, as you can see above, and therefore (theoretically) the best chance of winning the NBA lottery. However, the Orlando Magic, who had the second-best chance to win the lottery, ended up with the first pick. The Charlotte Hornets, who had only the eighth-worst record in the NBA during the 1991-92 season, jumped the Timberwolves as well and wound up with the second pick, with Minnesota ending up winding up with the third spot.
In that draft, the Magic took a young man out of Louisiana State University by the name of Shaquille O'Neal. The Hornets took a young man out of Georgetown University named Alonzo Mourning. The Timberwolves, with their pick, selected Duke's Christian Laettner. Don't get me wrong, Laettner wasn't terrible or anything like that, but I think it's safe to say that the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves would likely be dramatically different had they been able to land either O'Neal or Mourning in 1992.
In the 1994-95, Minnesota had the NBA's third-worst record. The Golden State Warriors, who had the fifth-worst record that year, took the top overall pick from the lottery. The Los Angeles Clippers, owners of the league's worst record, wound up with the second pick, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who had the fourth-worst record, wound up with the third selection. Since two teams that had better records than the Timberwolves leapfrogged them in the draft order, that meant the Wolves wound up with the fifth overall selection. The first four selections that year were Maryland's Joe Smith, Alabama's Antonio McDyess, and North Carolina teammates Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace. The Timberwolves then went a bit off the reservation and selected the first player to be drafted straight out of high school in twenty years.
This is one of the few times that the Wolves' drop has proven to be beneficial to them, as the guy they took in that 1995 draft -- an 18-year old by the name of Kevin Garnett -- has had a markedly more successful career than any of the players that were taken in front of him, and had the Wolves not dropped to that fifth spot, who knows if they would have taken him or not?
This year, the Wolves once again had the NBA's worst record, and as a result can pick no lower than fourth overall. Many fans of the Timberwolves, including myself, don't expect the Wolves to actually end up with the top overall pick when it's all said and done, and with good reason based on the team's lottery history thus far.
The joke that has often been made by people who attempt to predict how the Wolves will fare in the NBA Draft Lottery is to take the number of "can't miss" prospects in a given year, add one, and that's where the Timberwolves will end up selecting. However, the prevailing wisdom is that there aren't any "can't miss" prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft.
So, hey, who knows, maybe the Timberwolves will hold on to that top overall pick after all. It certainly would fall in line with Timberwolves' history if they were to get the top overall selection in a year where there isn't a consensus superstar to be taken at the top of the draft.
Then again, even if there was a consensus superstar to select with the top overall pick and the Wolves were in a position to take him, there's no guarantee that David Kahn wouldn't screw that up, too (but that's another rant for another occasion).
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