Since the two GM candidates seem to be Sam Presti and Tommy Sheppard, I thought we ought to take a look at their draft records. Now, it’s not entirely fair to either guy to do this, in that neither Presti nor Sheppard had the final say in who their franchise selected, but it is interesting to see who they’ve pulled out of the draft while they’ve been employed.
SHEPPARD: Jarvis Hayes, Steve Blake, Peter John Ramos, Andray Blatche, and Oleksiy Pecherov.
PRESTI: Tony Parker, Robertas Javtokas, Bryan Bracey, Johan Salmons, Luis Scola, Randy Holcomb, Leandro Barbosa, Sergei Karaulov, Romain Sato, Beno Udrih, Ian Mahinmi, Damir Markota.
Just from that brief glimpse, you have to give Presti a huge advantage. Sheppard’s big “find” has been Jarvis Hayes, and that’s not exactly something you post on your resume. (Note to those that will mention the Wizards’ drafting Devin Harris; the Mavericks actually drafted Harris, they just had the Wiz do it for them). Presti, meanwhile has produced Udrih, Parker, and Barbosa – all from the bad end of the rounds.
We’ll take a look tomorrow at the trades the two candidates have been involved in, just to shed some more light on the guy responsible for the future of the Sonics.
But before I quit for the day, I’d like to throw my two cents in that a GM’s drafting skills are what sets him apart. In today’s league, the best way to improve your team for the long-term is through the draft. Because of salary issues, it’s almost impossible to continue adding free agents to fill holes, you have to find guys in the draft. As much as we skewer Rick Sund and the Sonics, finding Collison and Ridnour in one draft is an exceptional example. There’s no way the Sonics could have gotten players like that through free agency at the salaries they were being paid.
On the flip side, piling up “projects” like Petro and Sene have the opposite effect, especially when you’re paying those projects close to $4 million a year to sit on the bench.
Really, Presti's only claim to fame is Tony Parker. Throw him out, and what do you have left? Beno Udrih? Elson? Those guys are nice on the Spurs but how would they be if they were on the Bucks or the Sonics?
I agree. Parker fell to the Spurs, he wasn't some great discovery since he was projected to go earlier... even the Sonics were trying to find a way to trade for a pick so they could draft him.
Barbosa was a player picked for the Suns. Not exactly a great discovery there, either.
I'm not at all buying into the Presti hype.
Not to sound like an old geezer, but just because somebody is young doesn't mean he's talented or the best qualified.
Sometimes I think individuals get overhyped because of the "emperor's new clothes" mentality of the media. Because everyone says Sam Presti is a genius, he is a genius. Personally, I'd rather not hand the reins over to someone with such little experience.
The draft is not the way GM's set themselves apart. Case in point Isaih Thomas is arguably the best drafter in the league. David Lee, Renaldo balkman, Damon Staudamire,Jermaine O neal, Al Harrington. Meanwhile he is obviously terrible at assembling winning teams. Youre right though about the difference in Presti and Sheppard. Presti has found players at the back end of round one that Washington has been taking further towards the middle. Hayes, Blache and Blake is not bad thoguh.
I agree, Anonymous. Aside from Barbosa and Parker, Presti hasn't done much of anything.
Just like without Pippen and Jordan, the Bulls would have been fairly mediocre in the 90's. Not to mention, the Bulls shouldn't get any credit for drafting Jordan, since he just fell to them at #3.
Sarcasm aside, as to the geezer issue, I think there's some truth to the 'experience' card. Good example was the Dodgers a couple years back with wunderkind Paul DePodesta. He had a couple terrific drafts and made a number of excellent trades and free agent signings.
Unfortunately, he didn't have the experience to realize that unless you communicate well and develop a rapport with your local newspaper/media, the public will turn against you at the drop of a hat, and you'll be canned in two years.
Presti shouldn't get credit for Barbosa; as I understand, they drafted Barbosa for Phoenix. If anyone gets credit, it is Colangelo in Phoenix.
I disagree about the draft area; it's not the ONLY way of grading a GM, but it is the most important. Most important free agents get re-signed by their own teams, and it's not that often that a superstar changes teams.
Interesting take on Isaiah, although Jermaine O'Neal (Portland '96) was not a draft pick he was involved with, and he was not really responsible for Al Harrington either (Donnie Walsh was handling player-personnel decisions in Indy during Thomas' tenure as coach there). However, Thomas did draft T-Mac and Marcus Camby in Toronto. Those two probably don't hurt your argument (even with the great players taken after Camby in '96).
As for Presti, his biggest accomplishments seem to lie in creating and implementing a great system by which to better search for talent, and then introducing ways and measures that make it easier for the final decision makers (supposedly Buford and Pop) to evaluate and make the best selection possible.
That could still be different from making that decision yourself - That'll be interesting to see. But with the #2 pick, he's got at least 1 freebie: As long as he takes Oden or Durant, he'll never be second-guessed on this one. Even if the pick ends up being a bust, there isn't a soul out there claiming to like any other entry more than these two. So, if it goes wrong, he won't so much have made a "selection", but rather just accepted what was "left" him. "C'est la vie." Kevin Pritchard should be so lucky. If whoever he takes at #1 ends up being signifigantly less a superstar than the other (of Oden and Durant), revisionist historians probably will not play nice with his legacy.
As for Presti, I think his bigger rookie challenges will be the coaching decision, and what he does with Rashard's situation.
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