In mid-September, the Timberwolves purchased ad space in the local paper, in order to print an open letter to their fans. It was, as much as anything, an admission that the team was very much still in rebuilding mode. The Wolves hoped it would be seen as an honest attempt to assess the state of the team, and they hoped that people would feel a little more connected to a front office that was being honest about where the franchise was at.
Of course, it was also easy to make fun of. T-Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn has taken a beating in the press thanks to his oft-confusing but much-vaunted plan for the team, and the letter seemed to fit with that narrative: Kahn has no idea what he's doing, and look, he's admitting it!
The letter contained the following line, which seemed (at least to me) like the most deluded part of the whole thing:
But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player. It’s possible that that player could already be on our roster. We have eight guys who were selected in the top seven picks of their respective drafts, and the average age of those players is 22. So the potential is there for someone to emerge.
I, of course, went for the easy Kwame Brown joke. But maybe, just maybe, I was entirely wrong; maybe, thanks to the Heat's Offseason of the Decade, the Wolves really do have that player. Allow me to present the following clip:
That's forward Michael Beasley, dropping a game-winning fifteen-footer on the Clippers on Wednesday night.
Now, the Clippers are 1-11, so it's not like Beasley just beat Bill Russell's Celtics with this jumper. And it's just one shot; it's not like Beasley is suddenly about to become known as "Big Shot Michael Beasley."
But look over his last five games; "B-Easy" has scored 42, 35, 25, 28, and 33 points. He helped lead the Wolves to a comeback victory over the Knicks (with Kevin Love putting up 31 points and 31 rebounds, of course); he carried Minnesota to the win over the Clippers, when nobody else on the Wolves, apart from Love with 24, had more than 14 points.
Maybe more importantly, with the game on the line, Beasley demanded the ball, then took it and scored. The great Canis Hoopus has begun referring to Beasley as the "Alpha Wolf." They say it better than I could:
As for the Wolves, there's really only one story here: Since Michael Beasley first came to this squad, we have long referred to his upside as "Melo-Lite". In the past few tilts the "lite" side of this equation has been completely removed. Folks, Mike Beasley is playing at the Full Melo. The entire package is there: height, athleticism, long range one-step jumpers, left and right hand, etc. He's still a little too left dominated, but Mike Beasley's offensive game is on a level Wolves fans simply haven't seen in the history of the franchise.
Kevin Garnett, as great as he was, was famously shy about taking the ball and scoring in these situations. Sam Cassell was never, ever shy, but he was never going to be able to create his own shot like the 6'10" Beasley can do.
The Timberwolves acquired Beasley as the Heat struggled to dump salary. In order to pick up the #2 selection from the 2008 draft, the Wolves had to part only with a second-round pick.
Of course, five games do not dominance make. But if Beasley can be that "one dominant player" that the Wolves have been searching for, and they only had to give up a second-round pick to get him - then David Kahn may have pulled off the heist of the year.