By Brian Spencer
In the wacky world of David Kahn, Darko Milicic has morphed into an athletically inclined religious deity, an angel in a buzzcut sent to this earth to resuscitate the bumbling Minnesota Timberwolves franchise through miraculous feats of scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking. In the infamous words of Kahn himself, Milicic is, literally, “like manna from heaven.”
Now safely secured in Minnesota for 4 years and $20 million, after The Kahn won a contentious bidding war with the night manager at Burger Buddy in Belgrade for the unrestricted free-agent’s services, Milicic will finally blossom into that filthy inside-outside threat we heard about and drooled about 7 years ago, when he was but a millionaire baby boy, a true rags-to-riches heartwarmer from the streets of Novi Sad in the former Yugoslavia.
With the ball, he’ll wheel and deal in the post with the grace of a ballerina and the skill of a blind electrician. He’ll nail spot-up jumpers from the top of the key, pop out behind the three-point line to keep unwitting (and totally overmatched) defenders honest, and in the post… oh, me oh my, here’s where The Darko will be truly feared. A seven-footer who plays like a ten-footer, with tree trunks as arms and a battle-hardened mentality developed in New York during his successful tenure with James Dolan’s battle-hardened Knicks.
Without the ball, he’ll roam the middle of the paint like a lion hunting maimed impala, intimidating, flexing, scowling, a mean motherfucker who takes shit from nobody: not Chris Wilcox, not Fabricio Oberto, not Brian Skinner. Nobody goddamnit. This is maximum fucking Darko in your fucking face; it won’t be safe for children under the age of 18 in the Target Center anymore, so leave the kids at home, all you season-ticket holders.
Darko is not the only Phoenix The Kahn has summoned from the ashes of sub-mediocrity, however, to lead His Holy Reclamation.
On a team overloaded with point guards (and one overseas point guard prospect, the nubile Ricky Rubio), The Kahn performed the only sensible act any capable GM would: he stirred the backcourt logjam by trading Ramon Sessions, the team’s prized free-agent signee last year, to the sadsack Cleveland Cavaliers for… point guard Sebastian Telfair and combo guard Delonte West (whom will be bought out, and will spend said buyout money on 25 new Beretta M9s and a small militia of armed monkeys to patrol the grounds of his house).
With Sessions gone, and last year’s lottery pick Jonny Flynn recovering from hip surgery and searching for his missing “H”, and Rubio set to hit puberty in Spain, The Kahn will hand the keys to the Timberwolves’ clunker over to blockbuster free-agent signee Luke Ridnour, who was taken 12 picks after Darko (14th overall) in the 2003 NBA Draft. Shrewdly and silently, while all the offseason accolades have been showered on the Heat for bringing in three lottery picks from that famous ’03 draft, The Kahn has acquired two lottery selections of his own. Eat the corn kernels from his shit, world, The Kahn has bamboozled the lot of you.
Speaking of the Heat, The Kahn played them like the obvious chumps they are in giving up shits and giggles for Michael Beasley, the second-overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. The Kahn said everything you ever need to know about Beasley: “He’s a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he’s not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case.” The Kahn was fined $50,000 by the league for his comments, but you can’t put a price on trust.
Joining Beasley on the frontlines will be fellow newcomer Nikola Pekovic, who may or may not also be immature and lie about not smoking pot. A second-round pick in ’08, Pekovic is a 6-11 machine who Kahn reportedly thinks could also develop into “manna from heaven.” ESPN enthusiastically summed up the Pekovic/Darko signings: “The Timberwolves spent $33 million to shore up their middle.”
These moves meant there was no more room for Al “Scapegoat” Jefferson, the centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett trade. He was kicked out of town for being relatively young, quite affordable, and very talented in exchange for two future first-round picks and Kosta Koufos, whom the club expects to bond with Darko nicely. The club realized that Jefferson, of course, is no Pekovic, a sentiment echoed by Zach Harper of A Wolf Among Wolves:
“Nikola is impressively efficient in scoring the ball in the post. The fact that his lowest field goal percentage is 57.4% should tell you a lot about his patience and ability to get off quality shots inside. There’s not a lot of wasted movement. For the last couple of years, we’ve been used to watching Al Jefferson pump fake eight times before awkwardly getting his shot off. It went in more than it rimmed out for a rebound opportunity but it wasn’t the most efficient way to get a good flow in your halfcourt offense. But with Pekovic, you’re going to get direct movement that gets the ball into the basket in the quickest and most proficient way we’ve seen with this franchise.”
There you have it: Pekovic is already better than Al Jefferson before he’s played in a single NBA game. It’s The Kahn’s world, and we’re just lucky to
live in it laugh at it, right Chris Webber?