Timberwolves Thought Drafting Kobe Bryant In 1996 ‘Would Be Too Much’

Kobe Bryant Press Conference

Before the Los Angeles Lakers overtime victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, head coach Flip Saunders talked to the media about almost selecting Kobe Bryant with the fifth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

— Think You Know Everything About Kobe Bryant? Take The Ultimate Kobe Quiz! —

While the Timberwolves selected Ray Allen and ended up trading him for Stephon Marbury, the organization thought drafting another high-schooler the following year after Kevin Garnett ‘would be too much’ according to Mark Medina of Los Angeles Daily News:

“We teetered on the idea of getting another one because we had success with KG,” Saunders said before the Lakers’ 101-99 overtime win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday at Target Center. “But we kind of thought it would be too much having two of those guys who were young at that time and still in the process of developing KG as a young player.”

Saunders also shared a story about coaching Bryant at the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, via Medina:

“Kobe was picking guys up at 94 feet,” Saunders said. “That’s his competitiveness and nature in wanting to win and play. KG is the same way. As long as they love playing the game, they’re going to keep on playing.”

While it was extremely rare for players to come out of high school, all of them were centers and forwards until Bryant became the very first guard to make the jump in 1996. After the five-time champion became the first, he inspired players like Tracy McGrady and LeBron James to do the same.

Although Bryant and Garnett battled in two NBA Finals where they each won a championship, there is mutual respect between the two players. While Garnett was recently traded back to the Timberwolves at February’s trade deadline, Bryant has remained with the Lakers throughout his 19-year career.

[divide]

Steve Nash Retirement Press Conference


Please enable Javascript to watch this video

You May Also Like

Charges Against Matt Barnes Will Not Be Filed

The Sacramento district attorney’s office has released a statement declaring the domestic…

NBA News: League Considering Significant Draft Lottery Reform

While many teams are able to acquire star players through trade or free agency, the most likely opportunity for many teams to get their hands on a young star is through the NBA Draft………

Chinese Vice President Expected at Lakers Game Friday

Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping is making a trip to Los Angeles and…

Lakers Vs. Raptors Preview: Lakers Face Playoff-Bound Raptors

Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers fly to Toronto and take on the…