Some of what it takes to be a Top Notch GM in the NBA

Came across this old article earlier today … which just happens to speak to this issue while profiling an individual like Carroll Dawson who fits nicely into this category of executive in the history of this league. Thought others who may not have seen it yet might enjoy reading it for themselves.

[once you click on the link below scroll down to page 10]

Dawson winding down memorable career
“Everyone knew you trade Steve Francis for Tracy McGrady, because you’re trying to get a star,” said Van Gundy. “It’s how you surround those guys. Team building is much more difficult.”

“We’ve always been risk takers,” said Dawson. “We got criticized highly for (drafting Yao Ming). We got killed for taking Robert Horry (over USC’s Harold Miner).”

Van Gundy appreciated working with someone who had sat in his position. “Having coached, he has an idea how emotionally challenging it is,” Van Gundy said. “You may come in the office and want to blow off steam and get rid of everybody. He’s very even keeled.”

The switch from working with Rudy T. to JVG meant a major change for Dawson. He and Tomjanovich were extremely close. “During the season, I’m down here, he’s up there,” said Van Gundy, who has an office inside the Rockets locker room. “During the season he doesn’t pester you and I don’t go up there every day with a wild trade idea. I’m harder to communicate with because I get more tunnel vision.”

There was a rumor that Dawson and Van Gundy weren’t talking. Van Gundy said that wasn’t true. It was simply a matter of them being more business associates than friends. “There’s a big age difference,” said the 45-year-old Van Gundy. “I think the wives are closer. I’ve never had any communication problem with him because he’s an expert at the art.”

With Yao Ming sidelined, Van Gundy told Dawson the Rockets needed more size. Dawson traded shooting forward Scott Padgett to Memphis for 7-2 Jake Tsakalidis. “I tell him basically what I think we need,” said Van Gundy. “He and his staff do all the heavy lifting. You’re not going to agree on everything. He can disagree with you without being disagreeable. He’s got a great way of diffusing anger and situations.”

Dawson never sought the spotlight. “Everybody likes credit, but he doesn’t seek it,” said Van Gundy. “It’s not about playing guys he traded for, or he signed.”

Dawson considers himself a lucky man. “I’ve had three great jobs in my life and I didn’t have enough sense to apply for any of them,” he said. “I get 10-20 resumes a week from people trying to get a job in the league.” He collected several championship rings, two with the Rockets, four with the Comets, even one from the Dallas Cowboys 1977 Super Bowl champs. He doesn’t wear any of them.

“If I wore a ring, it would be ’94,” he said. “I said, ‘Lord, if we can win it one time, I’ll never ask for anything again.’ “That’s the biggest lie in the world. You want to win it every year.”

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Lots of important lessons there for those who would truly like to learn more about what’s involved with this type of position/individual in the NBA. 

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25 Responses to “Some of what it takes to be a Top Notch GM in the NBA”

  1. khandor Says:

    “Marc” is someone who has left a comment on this blog, in the past, and a frequent comment contributor at RaptorsRepublic.com. In this instance, he has asked me to answer 3 specific questions for him:

    #1. What were Marbury’s choices, besides toeing the company line in Boston?

    #2. Why didn’t Joe Dumars step in earlier and tell Iverson to come off the bench?

    #3. How do you account for Jermaine O’Neal increasing his minutes in Miami?

    In Marc’s case, I’ve agreed to provide these answers for his benefit in this space.

    Enjoy!

    ===============================

    Marc,

    Here you go:

    1. According to published reports teams in Euroleague, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs were all interested in Starbury.

    2. Joe D. is smart enough to know that the way to handle a player like Allen Iverson best is not to try and make him do something which is going to make him uncomfortable right off the bat. REAL Players like Joe D., based on their experience, know that earning the trust and respect of a player like A.I. comes from first giving that player the respect he feels he deserves, and then navigating the travails which occur moving forward from there. Attempts at bullying a player like A.I. are not sound and will get a GM and/or a Head Coach nowhere fast.

    3. The amount of minutes Jermaine O’Neal is getting with the Heat, in comparison with the PT he got in Toronto is irrelevant, in terms his willingness to accept his role in Miami, which is essentially different than his role was with the Raptors. A player’s role is defined by more things and in more ways than just the # of minutes which he gets with a specific team, including where those minutes fall in a specific game, which teammates he actually plays with, shot selection, defensive coverages, rebounding assignments, and the plays which are run for him on offense, amongst other things.

    Jermaine O’Neal is getting more minutes per game with the Heat than he got with the Raptors because he is a better fit with their team, overall, and specifically because Miami does not have 2 other Centers on their roster already who are both better players than O’Neal, at the Center position.

    i.e. While the Raptors have both Chris Bosh [C] and Andrea Bargnani [C], the other Centers for the Heat are Jamaal Magloire and Mark Blount, neither of whom is better than Jermaine O’Neal.

    Th role adjustment which JO is having to make this season with the Heat is not one which is based on:

    * Starting, or not
    * Playing fewer minutes than he’s accustomed to getting

    … instead, it’s based on:

    * What his specific role is within the confines of Miami’s offensive, defensive and rebounding systems

    when playing beside a CENTRIFUGAL FORCE like Dwyane Wade.

    Hopefully these different aspects of role definition are now easier for you to understand.

    ——————————————————–

    Part of the job of a Top Notch NBA head coach is to devise and then get each of the players on his team to accept their designated roles.

    IMO, this also part of the job of a Top Notch GM in this league … which is certainly player driven … especially, in support of the Basketball Philosophy that is held by the head coach of his team.

  2. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    re: your 2nd comment on this topic

    ——————————————————-
    Update:

    This is Iverson’s reaction to playing 18 minutes off the bench last night in Cleveland:

    “How many minutes did I play? It seemed way, way, way less than that. Eighteen minutes? Come on, man. I can play 18 minutes with my eyes closed, with a 100-pound truck on my back. It’s a bad feeling, man. I’m wondering what they rushed me to get back for? For that? It’s a bad time for me mentally. I am just trying to get through it without starting a whole bunch of nonsense. I’m looking at the big picture. If I vent my frustration then it’s like, given who I am, I’ll be the one everybody points the finger at. I am just going to try to laugh to stop from crying.

    Does that sound like a happy camper? I don’t think so. – by Marc
    ——————————————————–

    Whether Iverson is a “happy” camper, or not, is irrelevant.

    What matters is whether or not Allen Iverson actuallly “plays” within the role that’s in the process of being carved out for him with the Detroit Pistons.

    If he does … then Michael Curry and Joe Dumars have successfully completed that specific part of their jobs.

    If he doesn’t … then those two individuals would be seen by me to have come up somewhere short of succeeding, in this regard, with the Pistons this season.

    PS. They have already succeeded once in getting Rip Hamilton to accept a different role for himself earlier this season, in the aftermath of A.I.’s acquisition … and, it will be most interesting to see if they can turn the trick a 2nd time, now that they’ve gone back to Rip as their Starting #2/OG, re: getting A.I. to perform in an adequate way coming off the bench for them. Although I didn’t see last night’s game vs Cleveland, accoring to the reports I’ve read today, the Pistons actually played quite well with both Rasheed and The Answer available for service off the bench.

  3. Marc Says:

    Detriot did in fact play well last night, keeping it close until the final five minutes or so, and Iverson had a productive game off the bench (11 points off of 5 for 8 shooting in the 18 minutes). I included that quote because it smacks of a guy who does not enjoy coming off the bench and if he continues in that role he will start causing problems. Lucky for Detriot he is only with them until the end of the season.

    That leads us to Detriot’s medicore season this year. For perennial Eastern conference contenders, it has to be considered a failure (unless of course they were to make some noise in the playoffs, which is unlikely but I would never discount the Pistons). If Joe D is as “Top Notch” as you say, and if a “Top Notch GM” truly can get his players to accept any role for the good of the team, why did he not have Iverson coming off the bench right from the beginning? Why test out a new lineup with a couple weeks left in the season?

    You say it is because they had to earn AI’s trust and show him the respect that he feels he deserves. Rip, as you know, is a consummate professional and will accept any role that he is given. My argument was that Allen Iverson is NOT that type of player and will only accept the role he has had for years. No matter how “Top Notch” the GM/coach happens to be. Unfortunately this hypothesis will be difficult to test because there is so little time left in the season and I highly doubt AI will be back with Detriot next season.

    So, is it possible that Joe D’s plan all along was to prevent AI from causing problems in the locker room by giving him plenty of minutes/shots all season long, only to do a complete 180 in the final month of the season?

    This seems like an extremely risky strategy. More than likely, he was forced to put AI in the starting line up even though he knew it was bad for the team over the long haul. Joe D was forced by AI’s selfish me-first personality to basically mortgage this season in the hopes that he can rebuild with all his cap space next season.

    My point is that, even though both you and I agree that Joe D fits the bill for a “Top Notch” GM, he was unable to get AI to accept the role that was best for the team for a majority of the season.

    Okay, how bout this? If the Pistons make it past the first round, I will admit that Joe D’s plan worked out pretty well all along and he did successfully manipulate AI, and if they are forced into an early exit, you admit that there are some players that cannot be controlled no matter how great the GM is.

    To your other points:

    The Starbury saga is not over yet, but he has limited effect on the future of the Celtics as long as Rondo stays healthy. I imagine he learned a few things from his year off (I know that I’d hate to sit on the bench as well) and he will do whatever Ainge and Rivers want him to do.

    As for Jermaine, your right, he gets a lot more minutes on the Heat because they have barely anything to back him up. Whether or not he would accept a bench role for a long period of time (and this is where the argument began) still remains to be seen.

  4. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Are you familiar with a book titled, “The Horsewhisperer.” It’s a book about the life of Monty Roberts, and explains his philosophy concerning the concept of “Joining Up”. I strongly suggest that you pick it up. If you have an interest in human nature you should enjoy it immensely.

    IMO, what a Top Notch NBA GM does in this regard follows along the lines of how Joe Dumars has conducted himself in this situation for the Pistons. Bully tactics are for the unsophisticated. Neither Joe D. nor Monty Roberts fits into this category, in my book.

    Whether the Pistons make it to the 2nd Rd this season, or not, is irrelevant, as far as this situation is concerned. What’s relevant is how Mr. Iverson actually plays for the Pistons in the new role which is being carved out for him right now.

    If he does his job properly/well and is not disruptive to the Pistons’ cause, each of Michael C., Joe. D. and A.I., himself, will have succeeded, IMO.

    Depending on which opponent the Pistons draw in the 1st Rd of the Playoffs, IMO, they will be a very dangerous team that might well be expected to advance to the EC semi-finals, at least, this season.

    Until I do my playoff preview/evaluation, however … I will reserve judgment about what I think their actual chances are of reaching the EC Finals & the NBA Finals, once again.

    ===============================

    Playing for a coach like Doc Rivers alongside teammates like Garnett, Pierce, Allen-R, Perkins, and Rondo, etc., in a play like Boston, where the collective commitment is to a simple concept like Ubuntu! … is the best possible fit for a mercurial player like Starbury.

    Good players enjoy playing within highly defined roles. Time will tell if Stephon is capable of showing himself to be a good player or not.

    ===============================

    IMO, if someone like Pat Riley or Larry Bird or Jerry West or Danny Ainge or Mitch Kupchak, etc., is the GM of his team … Jermaine O’Neal would indeed accept the specific role which his coach and his GM clearly outline for him, in the best interests of the team.

    At one time, JO was a very good player in this league … and good-to-great players make a habit of being coachable and amendable to the instructions which they’re given from an individual whom they R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

  5. Marc Says:

    I haven’t read the Horse Whisperer, and with all due respect I don’t ever intend to. If you want to know anything about human nature, I would suggest Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus.

    I wouldn’t suggest that anyone try to bully Iverson into anything. Isiah tried that with Starbury and it bit him in the ass. What I am suggesting is that Joe D, your Top Notch GM, threw this season away in order to obtain cap space next year. I’m not saying it’s a bad move, it’s just not something that I would personally do to my fan base if I were a GM. That being said, if Detriot meets Orlando in the first round, look out.

    JO was a good (maybe even great) player, yes. But ask a Pacers fan what they think of JO and you will probably not get a favourable response.

  6. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    1. According to you, what life lessons does The Myth of Sisyphus have to teach about the process of “joining up” with a team?

    [I'm sincerely interested in hearing your take. :-) ]

    2. What goals Joe D. had in mind when he made the Billups/Iverson trade is not what we’re talking about here.

    IMO, if the Pistons would have made that trade and then immediately tried to shift The Answer to the bench … the results would have been disasterous in Detroit, and I’m not talking about the team’s W-L record. IMO, what a Top Notch GM doesn’t do is make a deal like that AND then shift the player he acquired in return for a player like Chauncey Billups [given his specific role with the Pistons] to the bench. A player of Iverson’s ilk would have been extremely upset at that type of manouevre.

    In contrast, although Allen is certainly not a happy camper right now … it’s my bet that he does not cause any major disruption in the Pistons’ plans the rest of the way this season and come this summer signs on with another team as an UFA … leaving Joe Dumars with the Salary Cap room he was looking for in the first place when he made the decision to trade Mr. Big Shot this season.

    ————————————————————————————-
    NOTE: Whether or not a Top Notch GM should ever make the decision Joe D. made this season to trade his best player [albeit with a fine understudy waiting in the wings, in the form of Mr. Stuckey] in exchange for this sort of Salary Cap flexibility this summer instead of next … when the rest of the league is gearing up for James, Wade and Bosh, etc. … while attempting to remain competitive in that same season, relative to a playoff position and potential success in the post-season, while continuing to re-tool his overall roster at the same time … is a different topic altogether.
    ————————————————————————————-

    3. What a Pacer fan thinks about Jermaine O’Neal is irrelevant to the topic at-hand.

    The topic is whether a Top Notch GM would be able to convince a player of JO’s ilk …

    who I believe was once a very good player in this league, and shares certain common characteristics with the other good players in the league, two of which are coachability and a certain amendableness to follow the clear instructions they receive from individuals who they R.E.S.P.E.C.T. …

    to play within the confines of a specific role which is outlined for him by his coach.

    IMO, a Top Notch GM would indeed be able to convince O’Neal to do this.

  7. Marc Says:

    1. You were talking about human nature, but I think I can make some observations about Camus’ take on “joining up”.

    Basically, he says that the basic human condition is absurdity because as living beings we try our hardest to survive with the distinct knowledge that death is inevitable. The only sane thing to do, therefore, is to attempt to enjoy life no matter how difficult it might seem to do so. Camus, being French, was actually a huge soccer fan and suggested that team sports is a great way to connect with our fellow man and to forget about the absurdity of life (at least for the duration of the match). Editorial note: it also helps to get drunk.

    2. I agree that if Detriot tried to put AI on the bench right away it would have been a huge mess, even though it was the only sane thing to (absurd much?). Joe D would never admit it, but that trade was done primarily for cap space so he could partially rebuild next year (Detriot was getting stagnant). While this was probably a smart move in the long run, if I were a Detriot fan I would be pretty pissed off about it. Colangelo did the same thing in the Marion trade but he waited until the season was pretty much over anyway.

    3. I think that what the Pacers fans think is very important. The issue was Jermaine’s character and no one knows their players better than hardcore fans (especially hoosiers). Don’t forget, without us, they would not exist.

  8. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    1. Did you read this paragraph above?

    Are you familiar with a book titled, “The Horsewhisperer.” It’s a book about the life of Monty Roberts, and explains his philosophy concerning the concept of “Joining Up”. I strongly suggest that you pick it up. If you have an interest in human nature you should enjoy it immensely.

    Do you SEE how the concepts of “Joining Up” and “human nature” are linked together in the structure of that paragraph?

    Hopefully you do.

    The topic in question here … as it relates to Allen Iverson “joining up” with the Pistons following their trade of Chauncey Billups … is how exactly their head coach [Michael Curry] and General Manager [Joe Dumars] chose to handle this situation and whether or not they did it in a way which should be considered as consistent with the work of a Top Notch practicioner in the field.

    IMO, Monty Roberts is an expert in the inter-related fields of [i] horse nature, [ii] human nature, and [iii] “joining up”.

    As a result, I will ask you again …

    If possible, please outline your perspective on what the The Myth of Sisyphus might have to teach about the concept and the process of “joining up”?

    2. IMO, putting Iverson on the bench “right away” would not have been a “sane” thing to do at all. Doing THAT would have been an “insane” thing to do … especially, as relates to the concept of “joining up” properly with an individual of Iverson’s ilk.

    IMO, Joe D. would readily admit that the Billups for Iverson trade was done for three reasons:

    i. To change the make-up of the current roster.
    ii. To maintain a competitive playoff team with this changed roster.
    iii. To create Salary Cap space moving forward this coming summer.

    The trade Joe D. made accomplished all three of these goals.

    3. What Pacers fan think is very important … just not as relates to this specific topic.

    This specific topic deals with the ability of a Top Notch GM in the NBA to convince good-to-great players on his roster to play within the specific role outlined for them by the team’s head coach.

    What Pacers fans think about Jermaine O’Neal’s character is irrelevant to that specific topic.

    IMO the history of the Top Notch GM’s in this league demostrates that these individuals do IN FACT have this specific skill set … while the less-than Top Notch GM’s, unfortunately, do not.

    [e.g. It's the less-than Top Notch GM's in this league who repeatedly trade a high end player on their team that has difficulty playing within the specific role which the head coach has outlined for him ... instead of successfully working through that situation.]

  9. Marc Says:

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “joining up” because I have not read the book, but I am taking it to mean sacrificing and cooperating for the good of the team. As far as sports are concerned, Camus would agree with that. As far as society at large is concerned, Camus probably would not agree with that. He is, after all, an individualist. I believe he would say that we need to do what is best for ourselves first, and what is best for the rest of society second. I’m no expert tho.

    Actually, there was no sane thing to do once the Iverson trade occured. If they benched him, Iverson would cause problems. If they started him, the team would suffer this season (which is exactly what happened). Why can’t you just admit it was a good trade for the future, but a terrible trade for the present?

  10. Marc Says:

    Update: Iverson shot 1-8 in 17 minutes in a loss to NJ last night. The Pistons are now only two games up on the Bobcats.

  11. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Because you don’t know what “joining up” means … at least, in this specific context … is the reason I suggested you should read Monty Roberts’ book. :-)

    My “best guess” was that you had not read the book before … based on the comments you were making, re: the specific topic in question.

    In this context, “joining up” does not refer to what you think it does … i.e. “I am taking it to mean sacrificing and cooperating for the good of the team.”

    “Joining up” refers to the process by which two or more individuals establish mutual respect for one another from the point of their first encounter … and the different ways which this specific process can occur, or not.

    The life story of The Horse Whisperer is a fascinating one, and I would encourage you [and others] to read it … if you enjoy learning about human nature and, specifically, the process of “joining up” with another.

    [NOTE: Monty has different published books in his name and has had a movie made about his life.]

    Although Monty first learned the techniques he uses from his intense and thorough study/work with horses while growing up he [and countless others around the world] has ssuccessfully aplied the same principles to his dealings with human beings and is now considered to be an expert in the field.

    Monty’s specialty involves “the breaking-in of wild horses [you know what the Pistons' one-time logo referred to don't you?] in a way which is mutually beneficial to all parties concerned” … i.e. the wild horse, the breaker-inner, the stable of horses the new addition is about to join, and the owner/rider of the new mount.

    Specifically, Monty’s Way … is revolutionary, and involves out-of-the-box thinking … something which I specialize in, as well … and stands in opposition to the ancient, tried and true methods which have been used by “horse trainers” for hundreds of years, to the detriment of all concerned, according to Monty Roberts … and most/many? [child] leading psychologists today … as it chooses NOT to bully the wild stallion and seeks to bring him into the fold in a more SANE and productive way than THAT.

    It’s too long to go into detail here … which is the reason others should read the book themselves … but, IMO, what Joe Dumars chose to do in the handling of the Allen Iverson situation is completely in line with the processes that Monty advances in his concepts of learning and respect as relates to “joining up”.

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is what comes first … and, the remainder is negotiated moving forward [and/or in some cases BACKWARDS and sideways, physically as well as figuratively] from there.

    While Camus is an absurdist thinker … Monty Roberts is decidely NOT … although he is MOST DEFINITELY an Individualist. :-)

    =================================

    What Joe Dumars chose to do is completely sane … if you understand the concepts associated with “joining up”. I suggest you read the book for a proper explanation.

    An experienced, Top Notch basketball head coach and/or general manager knows that the way to deal best with a Man like Mr. Iverson … if what you want is to get him to cooperate with your plans for him … is to show him the respect he believes is warranted, first and foremost. Once you do THAT properly, all other positive outcomes then become possible and, indded, more likely.

    The Pistons season has not been a disaster.
    The Pistons will make the playoffs … with a legitimate NBA roster and a solid chance to win their 1st Rd playoff series.

    In the midst of their re-tooling efforts … that’s a Win-Win scenario, in my book … and it should be viewed from that perspective by Pistons fans, as well.

    Name another High End Team in the History of the NBA that has qualfied for the Conference Finals 7 consecutive seasons, won 1 League Title during that span, then traded their best/cornerstone player … while STILL making the playoffs that 8th season … AND quite conceivably advanced to at least the 2nd Rd of the post-season tournament to boot? … while simultaneously creating Salary Cap space prior to the Free Agent Bonanza expected to occur during the summer of 2010?

    IMO … If Joe D. pulls this off … he will have done one of the best GM jobs in the history of the NBA.

    [not to mention that the Pistons also changed head coaches last summer and are working with a rookie at the helm, in Michael Curry :-) ]

    There’s a very good reason I choose not to admit to certain things … WHICH ARE NOT TRUE, in the first place. :-)

  12. Marc Says:

    We will see what happens. Personally I am rooting for the Raps to overtake the Pistons for that 8th seed :)

  13. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Here’s today’s Iverson update for you. Disregard the inflammatory headline and, instead, pay close attention to what The Answer actually says in the quotes contained in this article, and what the words he’s using really mean and what they reveal about the growing maturity of this young man … who is going through something which he has never had to endure at any point in his life to-date:

    =================================

    Allen Iverson says he would rather retire from the NBA than be a reserve

    Looking into the future, Detroit Pistons guard Allen Iverson would rather retire than be a full-time reserve.

    Iverson returned to action this past weekend after missing 16 games with a back injury, and coach Michael Curry has used him off the bench the last three games. Iverson complained about his minutes on Tuesday after playing 18 against Cleveland. He admitted that he doesn’t like the new role after playing 17 in a 111-98 loss to the Nets on Wednesday.

    “I’m in a position now that I’ve never been in my whole life,” Iverson said. “It’s harder than I thought it would be. With the back injury, I have to sit out at the start, then go in, then sit again.

    “It’s tough to really get going. I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It’s tough for me. I’m struggling with it.”

    Iverson, who was acquired from Denver for Chauncey Billups in an early season trade, said he wouldn’t accept being a reserve next season.

    “I’d rather retire before I do this again,” Iverson said. “I can’t be effective playing this way. I’m not used to it. It’s tough for me both mentally and physically.

    “If I’m able to go out there, I should be able to get it done and I can’t right now. It’s my fault. I have to be able to overcome the adversity and do what I have to do.

    “I just have to find a way to get it done.”

    =================================

    As I said before … if this works out eventually for the Pistons, their fans, Allen Iverson, Rip Hamilton, Michael Curry, etc., it will be because of how the Ultimate Stallion was in fact treated with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in the “joining up” process by one of the NBA’s Top Notch GM’s, Joe “The Horsewhisperer” Dumars. :-)

  14. Marc Says:

    I don’t see a whole lot of maturity or growth there. All I see the same selfish player who felt as though practice would not improve his game or his team in any way.

    At least he takes responsibility, but once again we’ll have to see what happens. I think it’s a pretty safe bet he will not be in Detriot next year.

  15. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    When a person of Iverson’s stature in the history of this league says,

    ————————————————————————————-
    “It’s harder than I thought it would be.”
    ————————————————————————————-

    and admits something like,

    ————————————————————————————-
    “I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It’s tough for me. I’m struggling with it.”
    ————————————————————————————-

    and takes personal responsibility for his own performance level, no matter what situation he finds himself in at the time, in this sort of way,

    ————————————————————————————-
    “It’s my fault. I have to be able to overcome the adversity and do what I have to do.

    I just have to find a way to get it done.”
    ————————————————————————————-

    in my book, this person is showing that he is definitely maturing.

    You are free to interpret these words differently, if you wish.

    ===========

    IMO, the prospect of Iverson retuning to the Pistons next season was never part of the picture in the first place. ;-)

  16. Marc Says:

    Update: AI is out for the season due to “discomfort”.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4040510

    Although both parties would deny it, I am pretty sure his only discomfort stems from sitting on the bench.

  17. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    If you read what Allen Iverson said in his comments after each of the games he’s played recently … he’s made specific reference to the fact that he was far from 100% healthy at this time.

    Read the words of Leon Rose [Iverson's agent] in the article you referenced.

    The cold, harsh, fact is that … Allen Iverson is an injured player right now … with a back injury at that, and if you’ve ever tried to play elite level basketball with an injury to your back would know that it is physically impossible to do that … whose level of performance cannot help the Pistons in the role which he needs to play, according to his coach and GM.

    The way Joe Dumars has handled this situation … even now … indicates the level of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. he has for The Answer.

    IMO, Iverson is reciprocating that, in this instance, and will not cause any further disruption to the Pistons this season.

    Hopefully he gets healthy, again … and is able to resume his career with another team in the NBA, next season, while the Pistons continue to accomplish their goals, on and off the court, short and long term.

    In the long run … it’s a Win-Win scenario for all parties concerned, including the Pistons’ fanbase.

  18. Marc Says:

    Sounds like someone doesn’t want to admit he’s wrong…

  19. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Who exactly are you suggesting has been wrong about something in this thread?

    What exactly are you suggesting that person has been wrong about?

    LOL, :-)

  20. Marc Says:

    Either Joe D is not a “Top Notch” manager or Allen Iverson is not manageable.

    Take your pick.

  21. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    LOL, :-) .

    Let me ask you those two specific questions again, as it seems you answered neither, thus far.

    Q1. Who exactly are you suggesting has been wrong about something in this thread?

    [YOU need to give a name here, in response. ;-) ]

    Q2. What exactly are you suggesting that person has been wrong about?

    [YOU need to specify:

    i. What that person said initially;
    ii. What you think is not true/accurate involved with those initial words. ;-) ]

    It’s not difficult when you really think about it … as opposed to speaking in generalities, offerring vagueness and “just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks to the wall”, so-to-speak. :-)

    Hopefully you’re up to that challenge?

    LOL, :-)

  22. Marc Says:

    You, The Great Khan, said that a Top Notch GM is capable of motivating anyone, even the most selfish single-minded players alive, into accepting ANY role that is best for the team.

    Again, either Joe D is NOT a top notch GM or Allen Iverson is NOT manageable.

    Allen Iverson did NOT accept the role that was best for the Pistons and don’t try to tell me otherwise.

  23. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Part of what is fascinating about dealing with individuals like YOU, on-line, is just how important it seems for YOU to try and point out how “what khandor said is actually WRONG” … by failing to reference the words I actually used and, instead, attempting to substitute YOUR own interpretation of what MY words mean to YOU [i.e. in their place].

    ROTFLOLWKAS, :-)

    These are the words that I’ve actually written in this thread concerning the Allen Iverson situation in Detroit.

    Now, if YOU CAN, please feel free to point out something which I said in these words that is not a correct interpretation of what’s happened thus far with the Pistons, Joe Dumars, Michael Curry, Allen Iverson, and their fans … this season and heading towards this summer?

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #1

    Part I

    2. Joe D. is smart enough to know that the way to handle a player like Allen Iverson best is not to try and make him do something which is going to make him uncomfortable right off the bat. REAL Players like Joe D., based on their experience, know that earning the trust and respect of a player like A.I. comes from first giving that player the respect he feels he deserves, and then navigating the travails which occur moving forward from there. Attempts at bullying a player like A.I. are not sound and will get a GM and/or a Head Coach nowhere fast.

    —————

    Part II

    Part of the job of a Top Notch NBA head coach is to devise and then get each of the players on his team to accept their designated roles.

    IMO, this also part of the job of a Top Notch GM in this league … which is certainly player driven … especially, in support of the Basketball Philosophy that is held by the head coach of his team.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #2

    Whether Iverson is a “happy” camper, or not, is irrelevant.

    What matters is whether or not Allen Iverson actuallly “plays” within the role that’s in the process of being carved out for him with the Detroit Pistons.

    If he does … then Michael Curry and Joe Dumars have successfully completed that specific part of their jobs.

    If he doesn’t … then those two individuals would be seen by me to have come up somewhere short of succeeding, in this regard, with the Pistons this season.

    PS. They have already succeeded once in getting Rip Hamilton to accept a different role for himself earlier this season, in the aftermath of A.I.’s acquisition … and, it will be most interesting to see if they can turn the trick a 2nd time, now that they’ve gone back to Rip as their Starting #2/OG, re: getting A.I. to perform in an adequate way coming off the bench for them. Although I didn’t see last night’s game vs Cleveland, accoring to the reports I’ve read today, the Pistons actually played quite well with both Rasheed and The Answer available for service off the bench.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #3

    IMO, what a Top Notch NBA GM does in this regard follows along the lines of how Joe Dumars has conducted himself in this situation for the Pistons. Bully tactics are for the unsophisticated. Neither Joe D. nor Monty Roberts fits into this category, in my book.

    Whether the Pistons make it to the 2nd Rd this season, or not, is irrelevant, as far as this situation is concerned. What’s relevant is how Mr. Iverson actually plays for the Pistons in the new role which is being carved out for him right now.

    If he does his job properly/well and is not disruptive to the Pistons’ cause, each of Michael C., Joe. D. and A.I., himself, will have succeeded, IMO.

    Depending on which opponent the Pistons draw in the 1st Rd of the Playoffs, IMO, they will be a very dangerous team that might well be expected to advance to the EC semi-finals, at least, this season.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #4

    2. What goals Joe D. had in mind when he made the Billups/Iverson trade is not what we’re talking about here.

    IMO, if the Pistons would have made that trade and then immediately tried to shift The Answer to the bench … the results would have been disasterous in Detroit, and I’m not talking about the team’s W-L record. IMO, what a Top Notch GM doesn’t do is make a deal like that AND then shift the player he acquired in return for a player like Chauncey Billups [given his specific role with the Pistons] to the bench. A player of Iverson’s ilk would have been extremely upset at that type of manouevre.

    In contrast, although Allen is certainly not a happy camper right now … it’s my bet that he does not cause any major disruption in the Pistons’ plans the rest of the way this season and come this summer signs on with another team as an UFA … leaving Joe Dumars with the Salary Cap room he was looking for in the first place when he made the decision to trade Mr. Big Shot this season.

    ————————————————————————————-
    NOTE: Whether or not a Top Notch GM should ever make the decision Joe D. made this season to trade his best player [albeit with a fine understudy waiting in the wings, in the form of Mr. Stuckey] in exchange for this sort of Salary Cap flexibility this summer instead of next … when the rest of the league is gearing up for James, Wade and Bosh, etc. … while attempting to remain competitive in that same season, relative to a playoff position and potential success in the post-season, while continuing to re-tool his overall roster at the same time … is a different topic altogether.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #5

    Part I

    The topic in question here … as it relates to Allen Iverson “joining up” with the Pistons following their trade of Chauncey Billups … is how exactly their head coach [Michael Curry] and General Manager [Joe Dumars] chose to handle this situation and whether or not they did it in a way which should be considered as consistent with the work of a Top Notch practicioner in the field.

    —————

    Part II

    2. IMO, putting Iverson on the bench “right away” would not have been a “sane” thing to do at all. Doing THAT would have been an “insane” thing to do … especially, as relates to the concept of “joining up” properly with an individual of Iverson’s ilk.

    IMO, Joe D. would readily admit that the Billups for Iverson trade was done for three reasons:

    i. To change the make-up of the current roster.
    ii. To maintain a competitive playoff team with this changed roster.
    iii. To create Salary Cap space moving forward this coming summer.

    The trade Joe D. made accomplished all three of these goals.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #6

    What Joe Dumars chose to do is completely sane … if you understand the concepts associated with “joining up”. I suggest you read the book for a proper explanation.

    An experienced, Top Notch basketball head coach and/or general manager knows that the way to deal best with a Man like Mr. Iverson … if what you want is to get him to cooperate with your plans for him … is to show him the respect he believes is warranted, first and foremost. Once you do THAT properly, all other positive outcomes then become possible and, indded, more likely.

    The Pistons season has not been a disaster.
    The Pistons will make the playoffs … with a legitimate NBA roster and a solid chance to win their 1st Rd playoff series.

    In the midst of their re-tooling efforts … that’s a Win-Win scenario, in my book … and it should be viewed from that perspective by Pistons fans, as well.

    Name another High End Team in the History of the NBA that has qualfied for the Conference Finals 7 consecutive seasons, won 1 League Title during that span, then traded their best/cornerstone player … while STILL making the playoffs that 8th season … AND quite conceivably advanced to at least the 2nd Rd of the post-season tournament to boot? … while simultaneously creating Salary Cap space prior to the Free Agent Bonanza expected to occur during the summer of 2010?

    IMO … If Joe D. pulls this off … he will have done one of the best GM jobs in the history of the NBA.

    [not to mention that the Pistons also changed head coaches last summer and are working with a rookie at the helm, in Michael Curry ]

    There’s a very good reason I choose not to admit to certain things … WHICH ARE NOT TRUE, in the first place.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #7

    Here’s today’s Iverson update for you. Disregard the inflammatory headline and, instead, pay close attention to what The Answer actually says in the quotes contained in this article, and what the words he’s using really mean and what they reveal about the growing maturity of this young man … who is going through something which he has never had to endure at any point in his life to-date:

    =================================

    Allen Iverson says he would rather retire from the NBA than be a reserve

    Looking into the future, Detroit Pistons guard Allen Iverson would rather retire than be a full-time reserve.

    Iverson returned to action this past weekend after missing 16 games with a back injury, and coach Michael Curry has used him off the bench the last three games. Iverson complained about his minutes on Tuesday after playing 18 against Cleveland. He admitted that he doesn’t like the new role after playing 17 in a 111-98 loss to the Nets on Wednesday.

    “I’m in a position now that I’ve never been in my whole life,” Iverson said. “It’s harder than I thought it would be. With the back injury, I have to sit out at the start, then go in, then sit again.

    “It’s tough to really get going. I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It’s tough for me. I’m struggling with it.”

    Iverson, who was acquired from Denver for Chauncey Billups in an early season trade, said he wouldn’t accept being a reserve next season.

    “I’d rather retire before I do this again,” Iverson said. “I can’t be effective playing this way. I’m not used to it. It’s tough for me both mentally and physically.

    “If I’m able to go out there, I should be able to get it done and I can’t right now. It’s my fault. I have to be able to overcome the adversity and do what I have to do.

    “I just have to find a way to get it done.”

    =================================

    As I said before … if this works out eventually for the Pistons, their fans, Allen Iverson, Rip Hamilton, Michael Curry, etc., it will be because of how the Ultimate Stallion was in fact treated with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in the “joining up” process by one of the NBA’s Top Notch GM’s, Joe “The Horsewhisperer” Dumars.

    ——————————————————–

    Comment #8

    If you read what Allen Iverson said in his comments after each of the games he’s played recently … he’s made specific reference to the fact that he was far from 100% healthy at this time.

    Read the words of Leon Rose [Iverson's agent] in the article you referenced.

    The cold, harsh, fact is that … Allen Iverson is an injured player right now … with a back injury at that, and if you’ve ever tried to play elite level basketball with an injury to your back would know that it is physically impossible to do that … whose level of performance cannot help the Pistons in the role which he needs to play, according to his coach and GM.

    The way Joe Dumars has handled this situation … even now … indicates the level of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. he has for The Answer.

    IMO, Iverson is reciprocating that, in this instance, and will not cause any further disruption to the Pistons this season.

    Hopefully he gets healthy, again … and is able to resume his career with another team in the NBA, next season, while the Pistons continue to accomplish their goals, on and off the court, short and long term.

    In the long run … it’s a Win-Win scenario for all parties concerned, including the Pistons’ fanbase.

    ==========================================
    ==========================================

    Here’s what I think:

    1. “The Great Khan, said that a Top Notch GM is capable of motivating anyone, even the most selfish single-minded players alive, into accepting ANY role that is best for the team.” – by Marc

    * At no time did I say those words.
    * A person who tries to suggest that I did, in fact, say those words is simply a Liar.

    2. YOU won’t be able to find anything in the words that I’ve written in this thread thus far which have been wrong about something connected to the Allen Iverson situation in Detroit.

    3. Joe Dumars has handled this situation like a Top Notch NBA GM.

    4. Allen Iverson has handled this situation like an Ultimate Stallion … who, no doubt, has made great strides over the last few years, as he continues to mature, but still has a ways to go in this specific department. One thing which he has learned, however, is how NOT to become a further distraction for his team, as it heads into the post-season, if/when he has a back injury and is incapable of playing at a high level. Nothing which The Answer has said or done since first sustaining his back injury this season has indicated that he is a player who is “NOT managable”.

    Given his physical size and the way in which he’s always played the game … it’s simply amazing that Allen Iverson has been able to last as long as he has in the NBA, performing at an incredibly high level, on an individual basis.

    Hopefully he can recover from his current injury … which is somewhat doubtful, given that it’s his back, at his age, and the way he NEEDS to play in order to be an effective player … and can resume his career with a different team next season.

    If not, it’s certainly been a wonderful carnival ride for Tha Man they call The Answer. :-)

  24. Marc Says:

    You must be delusional.

    We all know how tough Iverson is. Tough enough to play thru “discomfort” when his team’s playoff hopes are on the line. He quit on the Pistons, plain and simple. Which is especially egregious because the Piston’s brass went thru such great lengths to accomodate him over the course of the season. Personally, I have faith in the managing abilities of Joe Dumars. He is what you would call “Top Notch”. But he could not contain the Answer.

    You really think AI is out because of a back injury? After all that talk about not wanting to come off the bench? You can’t believe everything you hear, you know.

  25. khandor Says:

    Marc,

    Trust that what I am is NOT delusional. :-)

    Have you ever tried to play basketball at an elite level with an injured back?

    “Toughness” goes out the window when the injury a player has sustained is to his back.

    Larry Johnson was a tough player. Grandmama was eventually forced from the game on account of his back injury.

    Larry Bird was a tough player. Larry Legend was eventually forced from the game on account of his back injury.

    Marvin Williams is a solid young player in today’s game who, in all likelihood, is going to miss the remainder of this season on account of the injury he sustained recently to “his back”.

    If you’ve ever tried to play basketball at an elite level in the midst of an injury to your back you would already know that it is simply NOT possible to do … and “toughness” has nothing to do with it [or not].

    Whether that exact injury is actually a ruptured disc, or a degenerating disc, or a slipped disc, or a partially slipped disc, or a more generic “back discomfort”, etc., is immaterial.

    The only people who would suggest otherwise are individuals who have never tried to play basketball at an elite level with an injury sustained to their back. That YOU can take to the bank.

    Re-read the words which Allen Iverson actually chose to use in those quotes above.

    There is nothing there about him “refusing” to play in the role that was being carved out for him this season with the Pistons.

    What the man actually said was that:

    1. It was really difficult for him to play well in this role GIVEN the state of his injury/healthy.

    2. Others should be able to see for themselves that he was far from healthy just yet.

    3. He now understood much better just how difficult it is to play within a role of coming off the bench in the NBA for a high end team … which he didn’t really appreciate before.

    4. He was going to do his best to do what was being asked of him by the Detroit Pistons … because there was no other choice but to try to do that.

    5. In his future plans … he would rather retire than have to come off the bench, as a limited minutes role player … given the reality of what he has been in this League since the start of his career.

    I see nothing there which is disruptive to their team. The man is sitting out the remainder of the season rather than become a distraction to the Pistons.

    IMO, this is not a decision which A.I. has made on his own but, a decision that was made in concert with Joe Dumars & Michael Curry.

    I see nothing there that is “NOT managable” in any way, shape or form … at least, certainly not for an individual of Joe Dumars’ character, ability and overall basketball acumen.

    * The Pistons are about to make the playoffs for the gazilienth time in a row.

    * The Pistons might actually win a series or two this season, relying on a line-up that looks like this:

    STARTERS: Stuckey, Hamilton, Prince, McDyess & Wallace
    KEY SUBS: Bynum, Afflalo, Herrmann, Brown & Maxiell
    EXTRAS: Sharpe & Johnson

    * Joe Dumars will then have a tonne of Salary Cap space at his disposal moving forward this summer with which to continue the re-construction of his team … that has actually been a HIGH END outfit in the EC for the last 10 years [or so], winning 1 NBA Title along the way, during which time he has never been forced to trade a specific good-great player that was deemed “NOT manageable” while playing for the Pistons.

    In my book, that makes Joe D. one of the few Top Notch GM’s in the NBA.