Remember when the small market owners were trying to strong-arm the players into taking a lesser deal? Remember when those same small market owners were bitching over stars joining forces on teams in major media markets?
And here’s my favorite: remember that “woe is me” bullshit that Cleveland Cavaliers owner and noted dipstick Dan “Danny Boy” Gilbert spewed during the lockout, mainly because LeBron James spurned his ass for the Miami Heat?
Now let’s fast forward to the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
The Western Conference finals has two small market teams vying for a spot in the NBA Finals. So why have the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder been so successful you ask?
Three words: good basketball business.
The Spurs and Thunder do things the right way. Both draft well, both scout well, and make wise investments in free agents. Those are testaments to how the basketball operations are run in both organizations. Both have smart general managers who invest time in scouting and work in concert with their head coaches to decide what types of players fit in their program.
More importantly, ownership in both franchises let the basketball folks make the basketball decisions no matter what.
It’s not just limited to the Spurs and Thunder. The Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets have shown what it takes to be a winner in today’s NBA. All of those teams exhibited the traits the Spurs and Thunder share.
Meanwhile, teams like the Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and Charlotte Bobcats (yuck!) show us all why some teams – small market or otherwise – have a hard time fielding a winner in the NBA. All those teams run things ass-backwards.
You have one team with an owner who cannot STFU (the Cavs’ Gilbert), another who willingly waves the white flag in selling its best players just to reduce payroll (the Warriors’ group), and an absentee owner who doesn’t put the work in and therefore doesn’t know what the hell he is doing (Bobcats’ Michael Jordan).
Speaking of Jordan, it’s no wonder that he is considered the worst owner in all of pro sports. Not only does he spend more time on the golf course than in the meeting rooms breaking down film on potential players, he overrules his basketball people and surrounds himself with “yes” men. Not shocking to see his Bobcats finish with the worst winning percentage in NBA history this past season.
Now I may not be a Republican, but I will vouch for one of the GOP’s principles here: as long as you work hard enough, you will be successful. If the Spurs, Thunder, Pacers, Jazz and Nuggets can do it, then the Bobcats, Cavaliers and Warriors can do it.