It has become a running joke to poke fun at Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn‘s mistakes: drafting too many point guards, trading away Al Jefferson for cheap and gambling big money on Darko Milicic. But one decision that definitely wasn’t a mistake was taking Jonny Flynn in the Lottery of the 2009 NBA Draft.
During his rookie season, the 6-0 point guard was one of the few rays of light in an otherwise gloomy 15-67 season. He started all 81 games that he played in while averaging 13.5 points and 4.4 assists and made the All-Rookie Second Team.
Besides recovering from surgery this July on his left hip that will cause him to miss the start of this season, we caught up with the former Syracuse star to talk about the summer, sneakers and what’s on the horizon.
Dime: Minnesota was more aggressive this summer than probably any other organization in the NBA. What do you think about the way your team is taking shape?
Jonny Flynn: It just shows how aggressive our management is, how much they really want to win. You can see we are building a nice, young nucleus. When you look at past teams like the Portland Trail Blazers when they had a young Brandon Roy and then they drafted LaMarcus Aldridge, they built their teams and the teams grow. I think that’s what David Kahn and the rest of our management is trying to do. They are trying to get us a young team of good players to continue and let us grow together to see how we end up.
Dime: And now you are going to be teammates with your boy, Wesley Johnson.
JF: It’s great to have him on the team. Not only was he like a teammate to me at Syracuse, but we are really good friends. We are really, really good friends. To be able to work with one of your good friends is just a blessing. It’s great to have him on my team and he’s going to push me every day and I am going to push him. That’s going to help make this whole thing great.
Dime: Obviously, the largest story of the summer was the Miami Heat. What is your opinion on LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh choosing to play together?
JF: I think it was just an opportunity to win. That was the most selfless thing you will see from any superstar in any sport ever. They turned down money. They turned down fame. They turned down everything and they still did it. It was so selfless. I think with people bashing them, it was what they wanted to do. They wanted to win a championship and they felt that was the best way to do it. They went to go win a ring. That’s the ultimate goal. At the end of the day, they did whatever made them happy.
Dime: You are a huge presence on Twitter. Why?
JF: I like being able to connect with fans and see what everyone has to say about different topics that you enjoy or like to talk about. Before Twitter, you could be just thinking in your head, asking yourself a question. Now, you can just go jump on Twitter and ask that question to your followers and someone is going to answer that. It’s just great to be able to do that, connect with people and really reaching out to your fans.
Dime: Everyone knows you are a big sneakerhead. What kicks did you pick up this summer?
JF: I got a couple pairs of Jordans. I got the IIs, three pairs of the IXs. I just got the Xs. I got the Griffeys. If you name it, I probably got it this summer. I just love shoes. I just love them. The funny thing is you don’t wear them all, but I just love them so much I just keep on getting them.
Dime: What colorway from the Griffeys are you feeling the most?
JF: I like the black and silver ones. But the ones with the sky blue and the gray are the best ones. The sky blue and the grays are by far the illest colorway ever. It’s crazy.
Dime: What else did you do this summer to get ready for this season?
JF: I was in-between Cleveland and Niagara Falls with my guy Jake Presutti from Syracuse University. He’s a good friend of mine and a great workout guy. He’s been working me out this summer and I have just been working on everything with my game. I am definitely working on my jump shot. You have to have consistent form on your jumper in this League in order to be a good point guard. So I am definitely working on that. I’m working on a floater and learning all of the little tricks shots: bank shots, shots that you can get off quick before the defender comes off. Really when I am playing pickup, I am working on getting other people involved and really setting the table. I’m just working on things I am going to be doing this year.
Dime: This season, what will be a successful year for you as a team?
JF: I think a successful year for the team is to definitely improve in wins and be competitive. We want to just be competitive every night. In this League, you are not going to win 82 games, but if you can just be competitive every night and teams know they have to bring it every night that they play against you, then that would be a successful year for us. When you add that in, we will definitely improve in wins. If we keep getting better than that will be a successful year for our team.
Dime: What about as an individual?
JF: Personally, a successful year for me would be to just see my leadership grow. I want to mature as a leader on this team when guys are looking up to me, when guys are responding to me where I can go into that full-fledged leadership role. I think that would really be the most success that I can have this year. That would make me the happiest out of this whole entire year.
Dime: The T-Wolves seem to have a revolving door of point guards. This summer, they brought in another one in Luke Ridnour. How do you deal with that knowing they are always bringing in players to directly compete with you?
JF: If you go to any team in the NBA, you are going to be battling for a spot. I just look at it like you have to keep going on the same path. You have to keep working out. You have to keep doing things that you can control. I can’t control any situation. The only situations that I can control are me working out, me eating healthy, me getting my body right for the upcoming season. So I just stay on that path and don’t worry about anything else I can’t control.
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