Leadership carousel vs. stability

Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby Kasumi on Mon May 12, 2014 1:06 pm

Upon seeing Mike Brown fired today, and the recent new of Mark Jackson, with likely more to come, I got to thinking about the carousel of leadership (coaches & GM's) in today's NBA. Here's a quote from George Karl last year:
“I think right now, the 13 changes have scared a lot of coaches,” said Karl, who is working as an ESPN analyst now. “When you have three coaches who won 57, 56 and 56 get dismissed, and move on, it’s just difficult to understand. You have nine new coaches who have never coached an NBA game, and I am not saying there are not nine assistant coaches who are qualified to be good head coaches, but I just think the whole puzzle right now is, it’s too much. It’s too much change, it’s too much drastic reaction to failure and I think the pendulum will swing back to more realistic opinion of it all.”



Leadership, in a business context, requires the support of the executive leaders (team owner's supporting their coach) towards a united philosophy and goal. In today's NBA, coaches are not valued and are instead placed in a position of fear - make your star angry and he'll get you fired. Be successful and you might still get fired.

Compare this with Coach Pop - 18 seasons in the league, full 100% support from owner Peter Holt and GM RC Buford. He yells at Tim Duncan as much as Kawhi Leonard. Tony Parker speaks fondly, now, of being brought to tears in his early years in the league. Same GM, same coach, same Big 3 surrounded by discarded players and end-of-the-draft foreign nobodies. Yet they keep winning.

So why is every team around the league chasing the get-rich-quick scheme rather than examining what San Antonio has proven works?
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon May 12, 2014 1:15 pm

Well…..for one thing that's not a real fair comparison as Pop is an all time great and you just don't make a change with him when he brings you the record he has averaged seasons after seasons. They're smart guys and know they are lucky to have him. But certainly you have a good point.

Karl, hard to say what the thinking was. With Jackson we now know what it was as he stepped on the third rail of political incorrectness by being honest about his religious beliefs with regards to gays. Especially when it's one of your executive bosses that is gay. Mama that man should have kept his mouth shut.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby therealdeal on Mon May 12, 2014 1:18 pm

Well there's a lot of reasons why people don't or can't follow the San Antonio model.

For one thing, they've had Tim Duncan who will go down as one of the All-Time great big men of the League. Parker and Ginobili aren't anything to scoff at either. Legitimate players to build around are a huge reason for their success. When Duncan retires, they're going to be a lot worse than they are now.

For another thing, it takes tremendous executives like Buford and Holt. Most teams don't have powerful, reliable pieces at those two spots.

And then of course Popovich will go down as maybe the 2nd or 3rd greatest coach of All-Time as well. The man is just good at his job. He as an individual isn't credited enough with the success of that franchise. He's had high level assistants leave San Antonio and not do nearly as well because they just aren't him. He is a huge reason for their success.

As for why coaches are hired and fired so often these days it's because of the instant gratification society that we've become. The Internet has ruined patience and it's becoming harder and harder to have confidence in a long-term plan. Then you get into the fact that a lot of these coaches aren't just hired and fired quickly, but they're the SAME coaches. D'Antoni, Larry Brown, the Van Gundys, Mike Brown, Mike Woodson... These guys all keep getting jobs even though they're incredibly average coaches, maybe below average.

That's why it's so important for the Lakers to find their Popovich right now. The coach they hire this summer should be their coach 6-7-8 years from now. Maybe more. That should be their goal.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby Kasumi on Mon May 12, 2014 1:20 pm

LTLakerFan wrote:Well…..for one thing that's not a real fair comparison as Pop is an all time great and you just don't make a change with him when he brings you the record he has averaged seasons after seasons.

Yes, but would anyone have known how great he was if he had been shuffled from team to team, never in one place for more than a year or two? If he hadn't had the support of Holt and Buford?

How many of the coaches out there just need to get settled for a few years without living in constant fear of losing their job in order for them to be the next Coach Pop?
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon May 12, 2014 1:27 pm

True. But still, Pop had that military aura of strength and leadership about him from the outset and the ability I'm sure to get his point across very strongly to players as to what he wanted done and what he would not accept on his teams. Holt and Buford recognized this early on, and like a good company you recognize for what it is bringing and make the decision to hold on to its stock long term through ups and downs. Just guessing of course but that seems reasonable.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby Rooscooter on Mon May 12, 2014 2:44 pm

It's an instant gratification world. If for a minute you think Pop would still be there had he not been winning or had the confidence of his players your mistaken IMO.

The players focus has changed and when you have a league where the top of each draft is dominated guys a year out of high school with large contracts and league marketing deals they have leverage with coaches and even owners like never before. So for never before coaching and leadership changes to occur in the face of that reality should be expected.

Young players, and even fans expectations are focused on things like fantasy basketball and stats over winning..... The players demand playing time and their endorsers doas well.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon May 12, 2014 10:07 pm

When did he get there and when did the Admiral arrive? What kinds of seasons were they having in those first few years? I was getting the impression from Kasumi they weren't winning right away? But I was saying similar to you that his leadership abilities, both to his players and the FO, were probably very evident.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby lakerzkb8 on Sun May 18, 2014 7:49 pm

Kasumi wrote:ame Big 3 surrounded by discarded players and end-of-the-draft foreign nobodies. Yet they keep winning.

So why is every team around the league chasing the get-rich-quick scheme rather than examining what San Antonio has proven works?


San Antonio won championships under Popovich very early and early in his star players careers. You can't use that to measure the two. That's a unique and very fortunate situation. Once a team wins a SINGLE championship then you have a model for success in your organization and you continue to use that as your foundation. A lot of those teams/coaches getting dismissed were not producing championships or have their star players who generate the income leave the organization. Popovich is one of those guys once Duncan and co retires

I personally think when a team decides to rebuild, you have to clean house top to bottom. The organization needs to adapt to what the trend is in the NBA for success. Then you hire a coach who excels in coaching the basketball philisophy the owners want. And then you build a team. Then you have to have the patience to develop your players and system. You can't just bring a coach in and try to make him fit in with the players he has like D'Antoni. Or you can't bring in a Mike Brown and discard everything Phil did for the team. You need to EVOLVE and keep it going otherwise you start from scratch from the top down.

I think the Lakers right now are in a good position to choose their basketball philisophy for the future. To wait and see what draft pick they'll get. Figure out who they want to draft. Then get a coach. Then sign free agents/make trends. Then BUILD on that with training camp into the future.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby lakerzkb8 on Sun May 18, 2014 7:49 pm

Kasumi wrote:ame Big 3 surrounded by discarded players and end-of-the-draft foreign nobodies. Yet they keep winning.

So why is every team around the league chasing the get-rich-quick scheme rather than examining what San Antonio has proven works?


San Antonio won championships under Popovich very early and early in his star players careers. You can't use that to measure the two. That's a unique and very fortunate situation. Once a team wins a SINGLE championship then you have a model for success in your organization and you continue to use that as your foundation which they have for over a decade. A lot of those teams/coaches getting dismissed were not producing championships or pushing the organization forward. Their star players saw that. They are the ones who generate the income for the organization, but the potential on making money themselves is based on how well they themselves can perform in the system in place. Say Lebron stays in Cleveland and doesn't win a championship. He doesn't make as much money in his lifetime. Period. Winning = money. Not in bball contracts but just overall net worth from all source. If you're simply not winning, or not satisified with 2nd place and so on you need to continue to make those changes.

I personally think when a team decides to rebuild, you have to clean house top to bottom. The organization needs to adapt to what the trend is in the NBA for success. Then you hire a coach who excels in coaching the basketball philisophy the owners want. And then you build a team. Then you have to have the patience to develop your players and system. You can't just bring a coach in and try to make him fit in with the players he has like D'Antoni. Or you can't bring in a Mike Brown and discard everything Phil did for the team. You need to EVOLVE and keep it going otherwise you start from scratch from the top down.

I think the Lakers right now are in a good position to choose their basketball philisophy for the future. To wait and see what draft pick they'll get. Figure out who they want to draft. Then get a coach. Then sign free agents/make trends. Then BUILD on that with training camp into the future.
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Re: Leadership carousel vs. stability

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Sun May 18, 2014 9:17 pm

Pop came into SA as an assistant to Larry Brown, and was already highly regarded as an asst. coach. He later became the GM of the team, and then fired the head coach a year later to become GM / Head Coach. He had David Robinson's endorsement, partly because they were both military guys, so David was comfortable with the disciplined approach. The team went downhill due to injuries to Robinson, and I think Chuck Person and Vinnie Del Negro were all injured on that team too. The season was shot so they decided to tank for the top pick, who was obviously going to be a franchise player. The 1999 championship came together quickly with a healthy Admiral, a young TD, and a cerebral Avery Johnson on the floor.

I think it's due to Pop's previous assistants / mentees success like Avery, Chuck, and Vinnie that have paved the way for the infamous assistants like MB and former players like perhaps Steve Kerr. His success as a coach and his success in mentoring assisstants has given the perception that everything coming out of SA is golden. Despite his dry sense of humor with media, it seems like he's much more personable than Phil who seems to be prickly as a coach and mentor. In all fairness though, I think Phil's just a difficult read. He is helping out his fomrer players, like Kerr (at least potentially) and lamar and maybe Pippen.

While I agree that it would be nice to find the next generation coach who will work wonders in this new league, I'm afraid to hand over the reigns prematurely to a rookie coach. Now is the time to bring in a well-respected coach who can mentor the young up-and-coming coaches.
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