Timberwolves

What Should We Think When Bad People Do Good Things?

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“The Minnesota Timberwolves are parting ways with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas…” Shams tweeted. Like many of the Wolves faithful, I was shocked to hear this news. All summer I carefully and meticulously pieced together some semblance of hope for this upcoming season, and in an instant, it all crumbled to dust. I have been a long-time Gersson Rosas believer and this felt like the season that things would start to come together. Board by board Rosas built the ship he was to sail alongside first mates Chris Finch and Karl-Anthony Towns. I thought that if they could stay the course and ride the current toward contention, someday soon, we could all be watching the Minnesota Timberwolves compete again. But, internal dissension came crashing in like the waves from a mighty storm on the high seas. Gersson’s journey has come to an end. Is that poetic enough for you, Phil Ford?

The fact is, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years admiring Rosas and the work that he was doing for the Minnesota Timberwovles (haha). In fact, I’ve written a lot of words that spell out his successes and excuse his mistakes. I was a true believer in the Prosas. Now, I sit with everything that has unfolded the last few days — a toxic work environment, a salacious interoffice relationship, and a manner of conducting his business that was directly opposed to the “family mentality” that he so often preached. Like many fans, I feel tricked.

I believed that the Wolves could make it back to contention; I was really satisfied with the direction the team was headed. Now, I feel disappointed, disgusted, and grateful that those who worked beneath him no longer have to work in that environment.

Simply put, I’m faced with a dilemma: What happens when bad people do good things?

As Jon Hollinger wrote on The Athletic, once again the Timberwolves “chose the Wrong Guy” — which is true. Rosas is not the man that any basketball team wants to have in charge, and yet the basketball decision-making was sound. For those who did not have access to the inner workings of the front office, the optics made him look like the right guy. He was definitely bold at times, but for the first time in a long time, it felt like the Wolves were being shepherded by a competent and compassionate individual. Alas.

This is exactly what I’m grappling with. I am glad that the Timberwolves moved on from Rosas simply for the sake of everyone in that front office. I’ve had bad bosses before, but he was truly abusing his power and creating a dynamic that was unacceptable. At the same time, I feel concerned about how Minnesota will move forward in its basketball decision-making process. Sachin Gupta may be the right guy, or maybe they will be back in their infinity loop of turmoil and ineptitude.

Right now, the Wolves are in a better place than they were when Rosas took the job. Here is the depth chart from opening night of the 2019-20 season paired with the projected depth chart for this season:

2019-20 2021-22
PG Jeff Teague/Shabazz Napier PG D’Angelo Russell/Patrick Beverley/Jordan McLaughlin
SG Treveon Graham/Josh Okogie/Kelan Martin SG Anthony Edwards/Malik Beasley/Jaylen Nowell
SF Andrew Wiggins/Jarrett Culver/Jake Layman SF Jaden McDaniels/Josh Okogie/Leandro Bolmaro
PF Robert Covington/Jordan Bell PF Jarred Vanderbilt/Taurean Prince/Jake Layman
C Karl-Anthony Towns/Noah Vonleh/Gorgui Dieng C Karl-Anthony Towns/Naz Reid

McLaughlin, Reid, and Nowell are absent from the 2019-20 depth chart because they spent much of the beginning of the season with the G-League team. Similarly, Nathan Knight and McKinley Wright are absent from this year’s depth chart.

In two years, Rosas was able to take an aging roster built around Towns and Wiggins and transform it into something else entirely. Whether or not this new roster can find success on the court is yet to be seen but, the current team is full of players who have not yet hit their prime. Even if you have qualms with Rosas giving away such a lightly protected pick to acquire Russell, or is disappointed by the big miss on Culver, it’s clear that this roster has more potential. I can’t see a valid argument to the contrary.

Although I loved a lot of Rosas’s moves, I find myself looking back on the last two years, but this time displayed in a much different light. Just like when I read about Drake giving a 14-year-old girl advice about boys over text, the old hits don’t sound the same.

They say “never meet your heroes.” Rosas wasn’t a hero in my life, but he was a public figure I respected. Public figures are indeed humans like the rest of us, which can be hard to remember sometimes. As you know, humans are flawed — some of us more than others. I feel deeply for his family and for the employees who were subject to such a horrible situation. But, it’s a new day.

When faced with the dilemma of how to feel about a bad person who has done good things, I suppose it’s best to move on. The world keeps turning and the Wolves will keep playing basketball.

Now the focus shifts to Ant Jr., the only soul who can save this franchise.

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