Cultural Analysis: Timberwolve’s 2008 Draft and Trade

Well this post will be different then the other posts on this blog but I intend that most every post on this site will shed light and reflect on something related to human nature and sin and ultimately point to Jesus Christ the Messiah.  So what is there in the recent Timberwolves actions that can be examined in that light?  Well it shows the effects of a lack of cohesion and an abundance of pride.  It also points to the problems of a lack of accountability.  But first let’s review the facts.

            The Timberwolves are a team that rebuilding.  They are in essence starting over.  They received the third slot in the draft.  They selected a projected NBA superstar in OJ Mayo who reportedly wowed many Timberwolves officials. Fred Hoiberg and Randy Wittman both spoke as if they expected OJ Mayo to remain a Wolf. Fred Hoiberg in fact said “This means we’re keeping him.” ( Instead, in a deal after midnight, Kevin McHale traded OJ Mayo and some bad contracts for Kevin Love, Mike Miller and a couple of bit players to match contracts to the surprise of many.  However, given the history of Kevin McHale’s management of the Timberwolve’s is should be as no surprise.

         Kevin McHale has made similar deals twice before.  The first incident was the trade of Ray Allen for Stephan Marbury. It was hailed at the time as a good move and done for “chemistry” reasons.  It initially seemed a wise deal and Garnett, Gugliotta, and Marbury were seen as cornerstone players that would lead the Timberwolves to much greatness.  Well the chemistry wasn’t there and the trade is now seen as disaster and Kevin Garnett has won a championship with Ray Allen as a teammate. 

            The second trade was two years ago with the Brandon Roy and Randy Foye swap.  Right now on paper it look to be a huge mistake with a blossoming star player traded for a serviceable player.

            And now we have this trade.  NBA pundits have proclaimed OJ Mayo to have the potential of an NBA superstar.  The same has not been said for Kevin Love.  The primary description of Kevin Love as a basketball player is that he has a high basketball IQ and sees the game well.  It is said his high basketball IQ makes up for shortcomings such as his speed.  So why did Kevin McHale trade for this player.  Simple, it is because he sees himself in Kevin Love.  Kevin told Mr. McHale that he has patterned his game after Mr. McHale. 

            In reflecting upon these actions it comes down to a matter of pride. Mr. McHale it seems appears to think he knows better.  He had the authority to make the move and chose to over-ride his coach and his potential future replacement.  Clearly he has made such moves in past that cost the team dearly.  He is able to make such a move because he has no real accountability. The team owner, Glen Taylor simply will not fire Mr. McHale. He can do as he pleases.  It shows that there is no real cohesion in management.  Mr. McHale simply does what he wants, regardless of input from others. Mr. McHale even displayed a lack of communication. It strikes me as prideful, selfish, and arrogant.

           Granted, Mr. McHale may end up proving right in terms of the benefit of the team but his track record says differently.  It seems to me he traded a superstar for a three point shooter and a McHale wannabe.   Mr. McHale does what is right in his own eyes.

            In applying this to life, how often in make choices and decision do we simply do what we think is right in our own eyes.  How often do we ignore the advice of others?  How often do we do exactly what Mr. McHale has done with this trade? I would argue frequently. 

We all at some level try and build our own kingdoms and do what is right in our own eyes. We ignore what we don’t want to hear and do what we think is best.  We are all prideful and arrogant and selfish.  We all need Jesus Christ to break us free us from ourselves. We need to all accept Jesus as Messiah and take the gift of his payment for our own selfish choices.

One other aspect worth noting is that part of how the Timberwolves got into there situation is two fold: Trying to take a short-cut, and accommodation. 

The Timberwolves took a short cut in skirting league rules with the Joe Smith contract.  The attempt backfired and cost them multiple draft picks.  Joe Smith is not even a brilliant player. He is serviceable. He had a good relationship with Kevin Garnett however, and so Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale tried to take a short cut. 

We can learn from this that it doesn’t pay to take short cuts.  When we do, we do so at future risk. The bible is filled with the examples of people taking short cuts and doing great harm that last generations.

Then I want to add in the danger of accommodation.  Mr. McHale displays a firm belief in accommodating his star player requests.  Marbury, Joe Smith, and many other mistakes were all made to accommodate Kevin Garnett. Accommodation always comes at a cost and usually the cost ultimately leads to destruction.  We can think accommodation is peace or leads to peace. We can think it will lead to cohesion, but accommodation is but illusion.

What are your thoughts on this matter? I would appreciate any comments you have regarding my commentary. And examine yourself, where are you making choices based on your own prideful assessments Is there any way you are engaging in short-cuts?  Where and what  are you accommodating in your life?