The upcoming 2012 NBA draft is very crucial for the careers of five general managers.
They are drafting to keep their jobs because of past mistakes in the draft, free agency, coaching hires and trades. Even though the NBA is the hardest league to rebuild in, it's unacceptable to miss the playoffs for more than three consecutive seasons.
It's too hard to keep a strong fanbase when the team is a routine loser. A losing team equals a loss of money, which equals an angry owner—unless it's Donald Sterling of course.
Some general managers have had more leeway to rebuild, but ultimately, the time has come. It's make-or-break time.
These five general managers are in the hot seat and are drafting to keep their job:
Bryan Colangelo has experienced great success throughout his career as a general manager, but his moves as of late with the Toronto Raptors have been questionable.
Two years ago, Colangelo drafted Ed Davis with the No. 13 pick. Davis, a product of North Carolina, has been a disappointment. He regressed in his sophomore season and doesn't look like he'll ever develop into anything more than a role player. Last year, Colangelo drafted Jonas Valančiūnas, who has yet to play a game in the NBA.
The Raptors have not made the playoffs since 2007-08. The team desperately needs talent, and with the No. 8 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, they most likely won't be in a position to draft a player that can be a franchise changer. The Raptors could trade the pick, but that's just a way to acquire more players with role player potential.
Colangelo is in a tough position. There won't be any players available at No. 8 that will be perceived as franchise players. Perry Jones III should be available, but he's one of the riskiest players in the draft and could fall all the way to No. 20.
If Colangelo nails this pick, he will earn himself more time as the team's general manager. If not, Colangelo could be hasta la vista.
The Washington Wizards recently traded Rashard Lewis, along with the No. 46 overall pick in the NBA draft, to the New Orleans Hornets for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. All you need to know here is the Wizards traded an expiring contract for two large contracts. Apparently, the Wizards have their eyes set on the glorious No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
If the plan fails, it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back for general manager Ernie Grunfeld. Grunfeld has seen better times as the general manager for the Wizards. He did a good job shipping out the problem players in 2012, but those are the same guys he drafted as recent as four years ago.
Last year's top draft pick, Jan Vesely, averaged an unspectacular 4.7 points per game while playing an average of 18.9 minutes. With John Wall, the 2010 No. 1 pick, struggling to adjust to the NBA game, Grunfeld cannot afford to whiff in this year's draft.
The Wizards have the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. Many NBA mock drafts have the Wizards slated to select Florida guard Bradley Beal. If Grunfeld decides this is the route he wants to go down, then hopefully, Bradley lives up to his pre-draft hype.
Just remember, Beal was a good player at Florida, but he wasn't unstoppable by any means. Grunfeld needs to hope whoever he drafts will take some of the load off Wall.
How much longer can Geoff Petrie coast on what he did in the past?
Petrie has been the president of basketball operations for the Sacramento Kings since 1995. Petrie is credited with constructing the "Greatest Show on Court," the Kings squad that featured Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojaković in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Petrie turned the Kings franchise around when he traded Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe to the Washington Wizards for Webber. The Kings enjoyed years of success, but ultimately, won nothing.
Father time continued its undefeated streak, and eventually, the "Greatest Show on Court" got too old. Slowly, the key players who made the Kings fun and exciting were traded away.
The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2005-06. Despite six consecutive years in the NBA draft lottery, Petrie has not drafted the players capable of returning the Kings back to the top of the Western Conference.
DeMarcus Cousins was a great pick in the 2010 NBA draft, but the Kings were lucky Cousins even fell that far. Other than Cousins, the Kings' top draft picks since 2006 have been Quincy Douby, Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi and Jimmer Fredette.
Three of those players are no longer on the roster, two are role players at best, and Evans has been so mismanaged to the point where it's probably best for him to move to a new environment.
Petrie has also failed to hire a competent head coach since he chose not to re-sign Rick Adelman in 2006. There was Eric Musselman, then Reggie Theus, then Kenny Nat, then Paul Westphal, and now, Keith Smart.
Hiring a bad coach can set a franchise back years, and it's usually a costly mistake for a general manager. How come Petrie has hired and fired four coaches since 2006 and still has a job? Look no further than the Maloofs—the brothers who somehow continue to own the Kings despite having no money.
Not only has Petrie drafted and hired coaches poorly, but there's also a list of bad moves he's made in trades and free agency. It's time for Petrie to deliver. The Kings desperately need talent, and with the No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft, talent will be there.
Petrie just needs to make the right pick. If Petrie misses, he needs to go. Reputation can only keep you your job for so long.
Like the Sacramento Kings, eventually father time gets the best of your franchise. That happened to the Detroit Pistons in 2008. They got old.
If Joe Dumars had drafted Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade in the 2003 NBA draft instead of Darko Milicic, the Pistons wouldn't be in this situation. It's funny how some draft mistakes can come back and bite a franchise later, even if the team avoided them at the time.
Dumars did a great job constructing a championship squad and has made two solid draft picks in a row, but the upcoming draft will be very important. The Pistons need to show significant signs of improvement, or else, Dumars will be in hot water.
Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight is a good start, but ultimately, the three are only resulting in impressive stats and not victories.
The Pistons have the No. 9 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. It will be interesting to see who falls to the Pistons at that spot. This pick could be the deciding factor if the Pistons will continue to rise in their rebuilding process or if they'll be set back for a few more years.
David Kahn was the go-to target to make fun of when discussing NBA general managers.
Then in 2011-12, Kevin Love emerged as an NBA star, and Ricky Rubio finally arrived and hushed his critics. Because Love and Rubio were so great together, Kahn got a hall pass this season.
Does Kahn deserve to be safe? He shouldn't.
If you need a reminder of all the bad moves Kahn has made in the NBA draft over the years, look no further:
- Kahn drafted Jonny Flynn, a point guard, immediately after drafting Rubio In 2009, Flynn washed out and is no longer on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- After already drafting two point guards in 2009, Kahn drafted Ty Lawson, another point guard, and traded him to the Denver Nuggets for a draft pick.
- Kahn drafted Wesley Johnson No. 4 in the 2010 draft, with DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe still on the board.
If Kahn would've made several different moves, the Wolves could be serious threats to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Western Conference supremacy. But the NBA is not a game of "what if."
The Wolves have the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft (they traded their own No. 1). There's talent littered everywhere in this draft. If Kahn wants to keep his job long term, he cannot afford to mess up this pick.