I might as well share it with you guys.
For those who haven't read it, Mike Prada for SB Nation wrote a post ranking all the General Managers in the NBA. Like every list attempting to rank things ever, it's an absolute crock of shit that offends me personally and makes me want to punch puppies. In the face.
So, since it's a Friday night and I A) have a rare day off tomorrow after working the past week and B) have no social life, I spent way too much time trying to analyze his decisions and make a comment. Since the post involves the Lakers and my views on basketball in general, I figured I'd post it here at SSR. I invite comments/criticism/discussion of how I myself am full of shit.
Kupchak and Ainge, the two orchestrators of the greatest swindles in league history, and the combined winners of the past 3 championships (and 5 of 6 spots in those 3 finals) fall at 13, and 8?
Meanwhile, Pritchard, Warkentien, Preseti, Morey, and O’Connor have combined for a grand combination of jack shit and a pile of chips. Sure, they all have made smart moves. They make intelligent picks and utilize money well for the most part. But what on EARTH?
The point of being a GM is to put your team in place to win a championship. Let’s go down your top 10 and see who qualifies.
- Pat Riley – He deserves to be in the top 10, but 1? He’s been the GM for 15 years, and won a single championship. That is commendable, he did win. But he also had 07-08. You know, the time his team won a total of 15 games? Besides his championship, the Heat have had a reasonable chance of the Finals/winning a ‘ship once in the past 10 years, 04-05. That doesn’t cut it for the "best GM in basketball" status.
PS – Come on, you cannot put him at 1 because Wade convinced LeBron to come over. They haven’t even played a single game together yet!
- O’Connor – The Jazz have been solid. Sure. They don’t spend too much, great. None of this changes the fact that they haven’t made the Finals since 97-98 and made the semis in 06/07. They’ve been a team that has been basically the same the past few years – good, very good even, but not great. That’s commendable in a GM, but not #2.
- Morey – Wooo he’s a stat genius. Yay he bilks teams with smart trades. Doesn’t change the fact that A) he inherited Yao (a fact you seem to hold against other GMs in this list) and B) ummmm he hasn’t won ANYTHING. They’ve won games, made the playoffs, left early, and been optimistic for next year. I consider him a top-rate GM, but not #3.
- Presti – I’m okay-ish with him being here. His team is new, he’s building a strong team with a great plan, and is primed to compete for the future. 4 or 5 is okay. How do you have Morey ahead (inheriting Yao) and knock him for inheriting Durant? Ummm come again? He still made the decision to draft Westbrook, which is looking more and more one of the best draft decisions of the past 3 years.
- Warkentien – WHAT? How is he anything more than slightly above average? He put together a solid team, but again inherited a star (Carmelo) and has not managed to parlay that into even a Finals appearance. The team is in limbo – good enough to make it past the first round, but not good enough to make the Finals. He’s got a pissed off star waiting to bolt and no way to rectify this mess. Great, he got rid of AI. He still traded for him in the first place. This is the least defended and most inexplicable placement right here. Wark is maybe what, 10? 15? Certainly not one of the 5 best GMs in the game.
- Pritchard – Let’s run with some of your myriad detractions from good GMs that you fail to apply here. Lucked into picks (2 2006 top 6 picks)? Check. Owner willing to spend boatloads of money? Check.
He picked Oden, but has built a solid playoff team through smart drafting and some good FA signs. Your ranking isn’t that far off what I’d put, but since you flubbed the top 5 I have problems.
- Buford – Here we have our first mistake. The Spurs have been a 50-win team his entire tenure! Yes, he has Duncan. Doesn’t mean shit. He kept him, didn’t he? He built around him. He consistently made smart decision, and built a lasting team. Most importantly, <HE WON THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS. The RJ signing was a mistake, sure. So that drops him to what, the 3rd best GM?
- Ainge – Ainge has had bad years. The Celtics were terrible for a while. But you know, I don’t really care. He rebuilt. Made the best draft pick of the past 5 years in Rondo at #21. Swing the two outrageous trades that netted the Big 3. Put the Celtics onto the short list of legitimate championship contenders for the past 3 years, and won a title. There’s no way he’s not top 5. Even if we’re putting a heavy emphasis on the future (which you seem to be doing), team is a true contender this year (one of what, 5? 6 teams?) and has Rondo and Perkins to build around.
- Petrie – This again is a spot that isn’t too bad as a raw number, but weird in context of who he’s above. Yes, they’re in a good spot for the future with Evans and Cousins. They had past success as contenders in the early part of last decade and would have won a title or two if not for the Lakers. That’s fine. But they were terrible, awful, tragic for the past 4 seasons.
- Nelson – You know what? He should be higher. He’s held on to Dirk, made reasonably sound decisions, worked in conjunction with Cuban, and fielded teams that were championship contenders (or in the case of 06, should have won the ‘ship) and consistently made the playoffs/won 50+. That’s higher than #10 in my book.
Obviously my main beef is having Kupchak at 13. No justification here makes sense.Nobody, and I mean nobody, has as many built-in advantages as Kupchak.
Umm great, doesn’t change the fact his team just won back-to-back titles (one of the most difficult tasks in sports).He has Kobe Bryant,
He also managed to keep Kobe, which is a feat of itself.
again, kept/brought him backThere’s also the Pau Gasol trade, which was certainly a bit lucky, but also a hell of a coup.
This is the most dismissive praise I’ve ever read.
So let’s recap. He didn’t kowtow to an ego-maniacal star who would’ve sunk the team in the future (Shaq), successfully kept the game’s best player for arguably the past 5/6 seasons (and at least 3 of them) despite a rebuilding process, signed the best coach the game has ever seen back from retirement, brought in Pau Gasol for parts the Lakers had no use for (and he just so happens to be one of the keys for this next bit), and, oh, won the past two titles and was runner-up the year before.
Add on to that the fact that the Lakers are in position to be the first team in 23 years to make 4 straight Finals and the favorite to three-peat (a task almost impossible in the modern era) and you get the 13th best GM?
Dumars should be higher (he won a ‘ship, gotta get some love), Thorn/Walsh/Wallace should be lower, and I’ve spent too much time on this.