May 26, 2011

Hey, Didn't You Used to...

What is it About Ex-Wolves?

As the Conference Finals wind down and I find myself drawn to the rosters of the teams that will be competing for the NBA Championship, something jumped out at me about those squads. Assuming Chicago doesn’t do what I want them to do, there will be at least one ex-Wolf guaranteed to get themselves a shiny, new ring. Brian Cardinal, Corey Brewer, and Mike Miller all spent at least one full season playing basketball for our squad. That got me thinking about other ex-Wolves that went onto earn some flashy jewelry.

Some more deserving than others…

Scott Brooks, 1994 Houston Rockets
It only took Scotty two years away from the Wolves to grab himself a ring. Teaming with future-Wolves player Sam Cassell, Brooks helped provide the Rockets with the punch off the bench they needed to win the championship. If OKC had been able to get by Dallas, he could’ve become the first ex-Wolves player to coach a team to a title.

Luc Longley, 1996-1998 Chicago Bulls
Talk about a 180. Luc spent the first 2½ seasons with the worst team in the NBA and then got traded to one of the greatest teams of all-time. Do you think he noticed the difference playing with Michael Jordan versus Doug West? What about Tony Cambell? Gerald Glass?

Isaiah “JR” Rider, 2001 Los Angeles Lakers
This is one of those players that, much like Darko, fell ass-backwards into a ring. At least, in Darko’s case, you can’t say he didn’t deserve a title, at least not yet – although he just auctioned off his ring so maybe it doesn’t count? I digress. But man, to go from dunk contest champion and freaky athletic talent to pregnant-girl-kicking psychopath, to NBA champion, is quite the roller coaster ride for JR. Of course he may not have remembered much of it because he was busy selling stolen cell phones and smoking weed out of a pop can. What are the odds he still has that ring? I bet he didn’t auction it off for charity like Darko did.

Chauncey Billups, 2004 Detroit Pistons
When he was a young pup – pun fully intended – Flip didn’t think he was a starting point guard in the NBA, so Chauncey left for greener pastures. Much like Brooks, it only took Billups two years away from Minnesota to grab himself – and Darko – a ring. Flip was a healthy Sam Cassell away from facing Billups in the NBA Finals that year but the Lakers saved us from being embarrassed by the Pistons that year. And a couple years later, Flip was coaching Billups in Detroit. Go figure.

Rasho Nesterovic, 2005 San Antonio Spurs
Sadly, the discussion for who the best Wolves center ever, starts with Randy Breuer and ends with Rasho. Darko may enter that conversation in a couple of years, but talking about the Wolves best center is like arguing about what gives you a worse hang over, Mad Dog or Nighttrain. It’s almost not worth finding out. Almost. Rasho was a solid contributor on a playoff team, but then again, I may have had too much Nighttrain to remember it that well.

Sam Cassell, 2008 Boston Celtics
He was here just long enough to endear himself to us Wolves fans and stayed just long enough to piss us all off. The what-if conversations about The Season begin and end with Cassell’s back. Even though he could hardly walk the Wolves still almost beat the Lakers. What might’ve been...

Kevin Garnett, 2008 Boston Celtics
This one is so bitter-sweet for Wolves fans. Nobody in the whole world wanted KG to win a title more than ‘Sota fans. But to have to watch him do it in another jersey was painful. We were all so mad about the trade and while much of that anger was directed at Deadzo, there was still plenty left over for Danny Ainge and the C’s. I think I speak for most Wolves fans when I say that I’m glad that they won it right away, because having to “cheer” for the Boston Celtics any longer than I had to would’ve been more torturous than the trade itself. Fucking Celtics.


Drew Boatman said...

Awesome post, you're on a roll.

Also, don't forget Mario Chalmers. Remember when we had him for a day? That was neat. Then we sold him to the Heat for cash. You know, because it's not like we need a point guard. And point guards who win the national championship? They grow on trees. So better to sell that pick to the Heat and roll the dice in the second round the next year... when they drafted Rubio's buddy (Henk Norel, pretty sure he's dead by now) and Nick Calethas, who I don't think ever existed.

Anyway, great post, Luc Longley couldn't have been more "Luc'y" if he had won the powerball.

Dave Snizewski said...

I think Luc knew he was going to get his. Every year, he gave us ballboys each a crip Benjamin as a tip. He knew he'd be in the promised land soon enough.

Dickfer said...

No Gerald Glass? Scott Roth will get a ring as our coach. I'm tellin' ya.

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