Nothing of any actual basketball significance has happened in the NBA since July 1. In four-and-a-half months, we’ve been told ad nauseum, that the NBA system is broken, and the only way to give all teams a chance to succeed, the system needs to be changed radically. Today, player representatives are in New York to try to decide whether to approve those radical changes.
Last night the NBA opened up their Twitter account to questions for David Stern and Adam Silver, and both men answered a select group of questions. And among their answers was this nugget:
It sticks out like a sore thumb, because the rest of the page was all about “competitive balance” and making things fair. But that simple, 13 word Tweet seems to take a huge swipe at the rest rest of the NBA narrative.
The system doesn’t matter if you’re not making smart decisions.
And that’s what we’ve been saying from the beginning. The system needed some tweeking, that much we can all accept. But the only thing that needed this level of overhaul was the front office of every perennial loser in the NBA.
Take the Minnesota Timberwolves, for example. They are among the “small market” hard-line teams in this lockout. But they also have been run by David Kahn, who has done more to keep Minnesota in the basement than anything else. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves play in the 15th largest TV market in the US (out of 210). It’s a market with 1.7 million people, which is more than twice the size of Oklahoma City. Minneapolis is NOT a small TV market.
Oklahoma City is, but the Thunder have been run by Sam Presti, who is at or near the top of everyone’s “best GM” list. Yes, Kevin Durant helps, but the pieces around him and the ability to retain Durant are all Presti’s doing.
This Tweet may get swept under the rug given everything that is going on today, but it shouldn’t. Because this is an admission that there is a vital intangible that can’t be negotiated. Money isn’t everything. The poorly run, mega-money spending New York Knicks haven’t won a thing while the cost-conscious, smartly run, 4th-smallest market team in the league San Antonio Spurs are multiple champions and perennial contenders.
You can’t create equality with some re-vamped system. You, can, however, create it with better decisions. The NBA admits it knows that. It has just chosen to ignore it during the lockout.