The Minnesota Timberwolves let go David Kahn, their former President of Basketball Operations, on Thursday. The news was not a shock considering Kahn has stunk at his job for awhile now.
However, if you're asking why TNIAAM is reporting this, well, it is because much of Kahn's non-success stemmed from drafting former Syracuse basketball stars, Jonny Flynn and Wesley Johnson, extremely high and neither of them worked out.
On Friday, The Star Tribune published a four-part interview Kahn did with its beat writer Jerry Zgoda, who got the former T-Wolves decision maker to say some interesting things about the former SU players.
Flynn had leadership abilities at first blush. He was very dynamic, charismatic. You could see it his rookie season. The kid had a lot of confidence, plays bigger than he is. He just got hurt. He got hurt. He had a pre-condition nobody knew about his hip. During his recovery period, he knew something was wrong but he didn’t tell anybody it, there was a feeling of impingement in there (in his hip) and never described to trainers at Syracuse how deep it was. It really has hurt his career. I hope he recovers from it. He’s still a very young player. I remember Bill Laimbeer in a staff meeting before Jonny’s first season likening Jonny to Isiah Thomas. People like to sort of pile on after they have information that proves their point, but there wasn’t this kind of piling on the poor kid that year. There were a lot of people who liked him a lot. He had a lot of explosion that went away.
Kahn said from the get-go Flynn made an impact on the roster, but his injury hampered him.
I remember at Jonny’s first summer league practice and Ryan Gomes came and watched practice and he watched Jonny for about five minutes and he turned to me and said, "Jonny’s going to be our leader, isn’t he?" That’s the kind of leadership skills he had.
Kahn admitted that one of the reasons why Minnesota decided to pick Flynn over Stephen Curry, who went No. 7 to Golden State -- a place where he is flourishing -- is because the former Davidson star never made a pre-draft visit with the organization.
However, it sounds like Kahn thinks Flynn would have worked out if he didn't need to battle injuries.
A year later, Kahn took Johnson with the fourth-overall pick. Johnson, like Flynn, never worked out for the T-Wolves and was traded to Phoenix last Summer. In 50 games this season, Johnson averaged 8.0 point per game for the Suns.
He was athletic. Even though he didn’t have a ball that had a lot of rotation on it, seemed to go in from a distance. You could really see him developing into an elite defender. I just think one of the things we missed was I’m not sure at the time his commitment was what was necessary. And I can’t speak for what he’s been like in Phoenix, but I’m noticing that it looks like they may be wanting to bring him back.
To me, the most interesting aspect of the interview deals with Flynn's injury. It stinks to hear how bad it actually was and that the former Orange star may not have gotten a fair shot at a professional career do to things out of his control.