Within the instant-gratification society of the NBA, one day you’re brilliant and building the next dynasty, the next you’re the idiot who has lost it.
In the spirit of microwaved results, let’s play fantasy executive and determine the quick fix to turn around the worst NBA franchises.
Let’s first establish one simple truth: General managers are paid way too much money. The good ones aren’t geniuses; they’re used car salesmen.
Pat Riley didn’t conceive some complex formula to help the Miami Heat win a championship. He just whispered the right things into the right ears.
Riley turned the NBA into a fantasy football auction league. He collected the greatest talent available and let the rest work itself out, making promises of championships to role players he paid less than they deserved.
He’s no more of a championship architect than any kid who ever played NBA 2K and found the right loopholes to craft a dream team.
Danny Ainge did it first in Boston, and now they’re ready to run him out. Bryan Colangelo won Executive of the Year in Toronto after the Raptors made the playoffs, but since then, they have never played better than .500 ball.
One day you are the greatest mind in sports, the next day you're a failure. The game’s decision-makers take plenty of undeserved praise and criticism.
Ask Geoff Petrie in Sacramento.
It’s not an easy job; let’s not confuse things. The gig magnifies the pressures of decision-making, most of which ultimately falls out of the GM’s control. The undeserved criticism is as misguided as the overblown praise.
But still, it’s not like they’re curing disease, designing the latest smart phone or working in public relations for the Sacramento Kings. The best GMs are luckiest in terms of timing and finding unexpected, or hidden, talent.
So with that said, it’s important to realize that sudden change for the better for any NBA team isn’t completely out of reach. In the past, we’ve seen turnaround through the draft (Tim Duncan), trade (Jason Kidd) or not-so-obvious free-agent signing (Steve Nash).
Here's a letter to the GMs of the league's worst franchises, detailing quick, rebuild-enhancing moves to be completed either ASAP or at the end of the season.
I'm no mastermind, but I'll go into their salesman mode, looking to sell the league's personnel decision-makers on these fixes to help their struggling NBA franchises.