I cannot tell a lie; while I have been a fan of the Timberwolves since their inception, the drafting of Christian Laettner put my fandom over the edge and drove me to diehard status. Yes, that is a true story and please, do not judge me. This week’s VOTW takes us back to Laettner’s NBA career with some mixed beats in the background for your listening pleasure. The majority of the highlights here are from his early career in Minnesota and Atlanta.
Laettner will always be remembered as one of the greatest NCAA athletes of all time. His NBA career will likely be remembered something like this: not Shaq or Zo, taken 3rd by the Wolves, never really panned out*, became a pain in the ass to the franchise and was subsequently moved like most other Wolves’ first round picks.
You may have noticed the asterisk in the paragraph above. While I believe this is the perception for Christian, it isn’t necessarily reality. No, he was not Shaq or Zo, but he certainly didn’t embarrass himself (on the court) in the NBA. He was good for a near double-double every night and while that didn’t lead to wins for the Wolves, it wasn’t really his fault.
For those that don’t recall, Laettner was traded to the Hawks for the expiring contracts of Spud Webb and Andrew Lang. That isn’t what you would necessarily call ‘optimizing your trade assets’. After playing for the Hawks, Laettner went on to become much more of a (small) role player for Detroit, Washington, and Miami. Christian retired the year before the Heat won their first championship.
Hope you enjoy this week’s VOTW …