Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Just Can't Resist . . .

UPDATE: Amazing how quickly the little elves at the Strib work. Before I even finished writing my criticism of Hartman, his column had been drastically altered. Hartman blames the gaffe on Fred Hoiberg, who to be fair was quoted in the original column. The link below will now take you to the heavily edited version of Hartman's column, so don't expect to find the incriminating evidence there. Before I send you on to my original column, let me just say that I stand by the criticism of Hartman that is found below, even if he was misled by Hoiberg. Pretty much everyone in basketball knew that Kevin McHale was infatuated with Kevin Love. I know very little about the NBA, but when the Wolves drafted Mayo and the Grizzlies drafted Love, I groaned and said to my roommate "guess the Wolves are going to end up with Kevin Love." (I also suggested this possibility in my Nightly Notes column, written before the second round of the draft started and long before the Mayo/Love swap). I said this not because I'm a genius, but because I had read numerous articles over the past 48 hours about the Wolves interest in Love and the fact that a bunch of teams, including the Grizzlies, wanted Mayo. Hartman bought Hoiberg's statement hook, line, and sinker, and checked his critical thinking skills at the door. If someone like me knew that the Wolves didn't "want Mayo all along," then Hartman certainly should have, too. Now, on to the original post.

I've never been a fan of Sid Hartman's. I stopped reading his column several years ago because it either made me laugh out loud or gave me a headache. Tonight, though, after seeing on ESPN.com that the Wolves had done what just about everyone thought they would do and traded O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love, I stopped by the Wolves section on the Strib website just to see what was kickin' around. Imagine my surprise when I saw a Hartman column with the glorious title of "Wolves wanted Mayo all along." The article is almost painful to read, considering that it was horribly outdated mere moments after being posted. I don't know that I've ever seen a columnist write something that is so obviously rubbish -- I mean, I've read columns that I strongly, strongly disagreed with, but never something that so blatantly made the writer look like a fool. It'd be sad if it weren't so darned funny.

As for the trade itself, I can't say a lot. I know a lot less about the NBA than I do about professional baseball. I know that I don't particularly care for Kevin Love, and have never thought he would make a solid professional baller. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong, but with Kevin McHale's track record I doubt it. Thing is, I also wasn't all that high on O.J. Mayo, either. I don't know what it was -- I just never really was into him. When it was clear that the Wolves weren't going to have any shot at Michael Beasley, I pretty much figured that they weren't going to end up with a player I wanted no matter what happened.

For me, then, I'm actually inclined not to completely hate this trade. Mayo is almost certainly a better player than Love, but as I said I wasn't all that high on Mayo so I don't think the difference is going to be astronomical. The key to this trade, then, might be the addition of Mike Miller to the Wolves. I'm inclined to think that, in the end, this deal might turn out just fine.

This post isn't really about whether the deal was good or bad, though. Instead, it's about a sportswriter who made one of the worst gaffes I've seen, and made himself more irrelevant than ever. Normally, I don't feel it's necessary to point out errors like this. Everyone is human, and I certainly make more than my fair share of mistakes. But Hartman too often comes across as smugly superior, as if he's seen it all and knows everyone worth knowing and therefore is far better than all the rest of us mere mortals. When he makes a mistake as colossal and embarrassing as this one, he deserves to be taken to task -- even if my writing a disparaging column about his work is the equivalent of shooting a giant with a spit ball. On behalf of readers everywhere, all I have to say is do better, Sid, or hang 'em up.



  • At Fri Jun 27, 09:26:00 AM , Blogger Jeremy said...

    I'm just wondering how much control Hoiberg has. There is not a doubt in my mind that Hoiberg wanted Mayo. But with McHale calling the shots, we knew how things would end up. No one, including Hoiberg, can like working with McHale. It's only a matter of time before every member of the front office leaves and McHale will be forced out... and end up in the Celtics front office with Danny Ainge.

    With that being said, I don't think the trade was a horrible trade.

  • At Fri Jun 27, 10:23:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    Jeremy -- I agree with you that the trade isn't horrible, and much of the national media actually likes it (the ESPN draft grade was an A-, although I can't remember who wrote that particular column), so they generally were high on how things turned out. I'm just not high on Kevin Love, with McHale's track record there's pretty much a presumption that things won't work out.

  • At Sat Jun 28, 04:58:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello again Josh,
    I just wanted to give you the icing for your cake. Shortly after Hartman's column was posted there was a link to it on ESPN's local news for the Wolve's page...so the whole world was able to see Hartman's reporting blunder. Thought you would enjoy that.

    Also I think this is a pretty decent trade, the Wolves added a starter and a very solid 6th man in Miller. I hope that Miller will not be asked to start, he is not very effective as the initiator of the offense but is fantastic playing 25 to 30 minutes a game as an offensive punch off the bench. Also Mchale was able to undo the god awful Jaric contract. While Brian Cardinal's is equally horrible it comes off the books a year earlier giving the Wolves some serious cap space in 2010. Also who thought that in this era of basketball you could still make a trade for 3 white guys, Mchale deserves some credit for that. I think that Hoiberg was meerly reporting the party line and was not trying to misguide anyone but saying what he was told to. He is being groomed by Taylor to become the next GM as soon as McHale gets the boot so I doubt he was fed incorrect info.
    Joe Kelley

  • At Sat Jun 28, 07:00:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Thanks for the comment, Joe. I'm starting to get more enthusiastic about the trade than I was when I wrote this a couple of nights ago (although even then I didn't hate it -- I was actually inclined to say even then it was a decent trade because of the inclusion of Miller).

    One thing I should say is that, when I wrote that "even if he [Hartman] was miseld by Hoiberg" I didn't necessarily mean that Hoiberg would have been intentionally deceptive. I just meant that Hoiberg's comments served to cause Hartman to write something that was obviously untrue. Besides, what else would Hartman expect him to say? Everyone knew that Pat Riley didn't want Michael Beasley, but even HE came out on draft night and said how great Beasley was. Those kinds of comments are all about making the new guy feel welcome, and are to be expected. I'm glad that ESPN picked up on the article before it disappeared. Even with a couple days to think about it, I still think it was a bush-league journalism.

    Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts! Hope you're enjoying your weekend (even though the Twins appear headed to defeat as I write this).


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