Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pritchard's new challenge: succession planning

Kevin Pritchard can assemble one hell of a basketball team. He can roll in D.Miles' car. He can hang out with Obama. But can he hold on to his talented front office subordinates? As the Blazers achieve more success it will probably be an impossible task. The challenge then becomes finding the qualified talent to fill these roles and keep the good times rolling.

The first significant example of this is in the continuing rumor that Blazers Assistant GM Tom Penn will be hired as the general manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Don't think for a second that this is some inconsequential development. Every Pritch-slap has required excellent Pennmanship. (Sorry.) Penn is known as the salary-cap/CBA guru that can take a trade exception and turn it into a rocket ship carrying your franchise's biggest problem to the Moon. (Or to New York for that matter.) Nobody is irreplaceable, but some people are much harder to replace than others. Tom Penn is one of those people.

People talk about the mark of a good GM being a franchise that is competitive year after year. I agree, but its a tad more complicated. A good GM takes the franchise in a positive direction. Sometimes this means winnning in the present, sometimes it means taking losses with an eye towards the future.

A General Manager steers the franchise, and a major part of that is hiring decisions. RC Buford of the Spurs could be the highest esteemed GM in the League. The basis of his respect will always rightly be focused on the sustained excellence of his team on the court. But don't overlook his ability to reload his front office personnel. Danny Ferry worked for the Spurs before he put the right pieces around LeBron. Kevin Pritchard was a scout for Buford before becoming the mayor of Rip City.

Tom Penn getting his own team to run lifts Pritchard into another category of success. He will be a GM that produces not only wins but other general managers as well. We know Pritchard can do a great many things at an exceptional level. Now we will see if he has a knack for succession planning as well.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

kevin pritchard is a pompous dick. No one wants to deal with portland.

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