GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Evaluating McHale

SBG had a link to this article in this post the other day. I was going to leave a comment there, but decided that my comment would be so long that it deserved its own spot over here.

The gist of the article is that McHale has done a horrible, horrible job as GM. There was the Joe Smith fiasco and a host of other bad moves that he's made over the course of his tenure that have caused Garnett to be surrounded by mediocre talent.

Before I start my evaluation of McHale, I have to point something out. When you look back at things now it looks pretty bad. But when you're looking at decisions that were made, you have to look objectively at the trades based on the information known at the time of the trade. For instance, if the Wolves were to trade KG straight up for Steve Francis right now, and then KG got hurt and never recovered and Stevie Franchise started putting up 30 ppg for the next 5 years, it's easy to say in hind sight that the trade was a good one for us because it worked out well. Of course, this is a bad way to look at things because the Wolves would have no way to know that things would work out like that. KG has never been injury prone and Stevie has never put up 30ppg and shows no signs of improvement.

On a related note, the Packers made a trade like this when they acquired Brett Favre at the beginning of his career. Back then he was a young kid with no work ethic that showed up to practice drunk on a regular basis. The Packers offered up a first round draft pick for him and who were the Falcons to refuse such a deal? Of course, this isn't quite as bad as the hypothetical trade mentioned above, since it is likely that Packer scouts saw an enormous amount of potential in Favre, but the trade could have easily been a complete bust for them had Favre continued on the same path.

Now, with all this in mind, McHale is still a terrible GM.

The article goes a little bit overboard in this respect. The Sprewell and Cassell additions were very solid ones for us and I don't blame McHale for making those moves. We all knew that they were getting old and not going to last when we got them, but none of us cared at the time. Had Cassell not gotten injured and the Wolves had won the championship that year, nobody would have ever said anything bad about those acquisitions. Even though we knew it was temporary, we thought that they would give us more than one good year, and people are pissed about that--but that's no reason to blame McHale. The only reason to blame him for this is because you're looking for another reason to hate him.

The Jaric one was one that (while not great) I believed was solid one for the Wolves. I thought Jaric had a lot of potential especially in a system like the one we have. Cassell was old and hadn't been injury free for two years, and we had no reason to believe that he would stay healthy. I (incorrectly) lumped Cassell in with Sprewell because of the problems from last year, however, I now think that that was almost entirely Sprewell's fault and getting rid of Cassell didn't do anything to alleviate the problem. I also gave Jaric a bit too much credit for having potential. Of course, that's me as an outsider looking in. As a GM, McHale should have known that both of these things were incorrect since he's a lot closer to the players and the league than me.

Then there was the Joe Smith fiasco. There is simply no excuse for that. He was a fan favorite, but taking such a huge risk for such mediocre talent is simply stupid. Drafting Ndudi during the one year where we did get a draft pick was also pretty awful.

The verdict on the Celtics trade is still out. The Wolves did get a lot of talent, but the timing wasn't the best. Part of me wishes the Wolves had held back on acquiring another huge contract and wishes that the Wolves had just cut their losses for the season and tried to make some good signings this summer in what looks to be a very juicy free agent market. I would really hate to see McHale make another monster trade in a last ditch effort to save this season. The season is gone. Forget about it.

The thing that is clear about McHale is that he doesn't have good scouting and that many of his decisions are emotional rather than logical. It's time for him to go and to give someone else a chance. KG made his feelings about McHale clear earlier this season, and at the very least, the Wolves owe it to him to give somebody else a chance.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Back To The Grind

After a fun all-star weekend, it will be back to work for the Wolves on Tuesday. The 1st half of the season ended on a pretty strong note for them, with a convincing win over Robert Swift and the Seattle Sonics. Perhaps the best thing I can say for them about that game is that they actually knew like they knew what they were doing out there, which is something I haven't seen for a while. Rather than a collection of individual efforts, it looked like a collective team effort. I can only assume that this meant that they practiced.

I missed the rookie/sophomore game, but caught the rest of the festivities. The dunk contest was the best in years, although I was starting to get a little frustrated with Robinson at the end. His dunk over Spud Webb was inspiring, but I got really frustrated with his 20+ attempts that it took him to make his last 2 dunks. Iguodala's first round dunk was perhaps the most amazing I've ever seen in a dunk contest.

The all-star game must have felt like deja vu for KG. His team plays well, builds a nice early lead, then totally collapses in the second half and loses. It was still a fun and exciting game. It was worth it alone to watch Shaq's alley oop to himself off of the backboard on a FT attempt. I don't think I've ever seen so FT violations by one person on one free throw before, and I just cracked up when he did it.