The lasting memory of David Kahn’s tenure as general manager in Minnesota is the 2009 NBA Draft, when the Timberwolves used the fifth and sixth overall selections to take point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, passing on Davidson’s Steph Curry. It was the first draft with Kahn at the helm, and remains the most notable, even if he had other draft disasters like Wesley Johnson (No. 4, 2010) and Derrick Williams (No. 2, 2011).
The Flynn over Curry pick still haunts Timberwolves fans to this day, mainly because any time two-time Steph Curry does anything, they are reminded that Kahn picked Flynn (and Rubio) over him. Barring a massive free agent signing, a GM’s legacy is mostly created in the NBA Draft. This is especially true in smaller markets, where the path to a superstar almost always involves drafting them.
Those draft failures remain the biggest reason why Kahn is still public enemy No. 1 in Minnesota, but as he tells it, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to Steph Curry.
Ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kahn wrote a story for Sports Illustrated about how LaVar Ball isn’t the first father to steer his son to one team or another, as Ball is attempting to do with getting Lonzo to the Lakers. As Kahn tells it, Steph Curry’s father, Dell, made it clear that he didn’t want the Timberwolves to draft Steph, by relaying a message to Kahn through Curry’s agent at the draft combine.