You would think it is guard, forward, or center right wrong. I don’t think I can stress the value of a good front office in the NBA. It seems like we get to see the greatness of a good front office every year but the best one in the NBA is in Oklahoma. The Thunder have yet again brought in another pick in this year’s draft with another trade. Every superstar they have brought in has lead them to even more draft capital in their rebuilding process. This year Kemba Walker has been brought to the OKC Thunder with the Celtics giving OKC their first-round pick this year. Once again Sam Presti and the OKC organization have gotten picks from a trade. This time. they didn’t have to give up much and the move from the Celtics perspective is very interesting. Brad Steven’s first move has raised a lot of eyebrows on whether this was really a great trade for the Celtics and whether they should have gone in another direction inside of promoting their head coach. Stevens is a popular character in Boston but he is going to definitely be under the microscope in this upcoming season. The NBA is a players league and there is no doubt about that. So how valuable is the front office really. Let’s Rewind That Tape.
Let’s start with the NBA being a players league. There is no other league in which a player opinion has as much value as it does in the National Basketball Association. The NBA lets the players do what they want primarily with fines and suspensions mainly coming from in-game play. The only reason the numbers from outside play have continued this year is due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Fine regarding safety during this time period has given players numerous fines over the range of the season this year. This still doesn’t really enforce anything as the players make so much money that it really doesn’t matter. They can easily pay the fine making the whole process pretty useless when trying to bring some authority over the players. Not to mention that the NBAPA has been consistently on top of things forcing the league to cooperate with them on most subject matters. I am not saying the NBA players can do anything they want and get away with it. I am simply just saying the players in the NBA seem to have more power than any other sport. For example, James Harden wanted a trade and played poorly on purpose until he got said trade. In the NFL Deshaun. Watson asked for a trade which was denied by the organization and he still continues to stay on the same team. Now I know there is an investigation going on within the team but still, there was a lot of time before then.
That brings back to the question of whether the NBA from the office really has value. I think OKC is a prime example of how it has to be the most important position in the NBA. The Thunder are in a rebuilding process yet they have the brightest future of any other team. They have the potential to grab two top 5 picks this year alone. The stress on this year’s draft lottery will be so important for them. While they don’t have any real stress to go out and win, they could have a good year this year. They have a few solid players on their squad and another potential trade for Kemba Walker. While I like the idea of Kemba Walker helping the team in OKC his contract is way too big. He will be a role player if he stayed with the Thunder with his job primarily bringing the young guards up. OKC has plenty of those and they will all need valuable minutes to get better. This year if the Thunder could potentially have a pick at number 1 and the number 5 overall pick. It would be a dream scenario to grab Cunningham not only for OKC but for Cade as well. OKC will just need 2 picks to go right out of the potential of 3. Two of those guys are solid this year and OKC could be looking at a play-in with the two picks and Shai and Lu Dort. A very dangerous, very young team. OKC is the biggest proof that a front office can turn your franchise from nothing to something in a quick blink.
Look at the Hawks. They will now be playing for a chance in the NBA Finals after being at the top of last year’s draft. The Hawks have 4 of their five starters gained from the front office. 3 of the starters being draft picks while Capela getting traded to Atlanta. Gallinari was also traded to the roster in a sign and trade. This is not to mention the players they have moved around this year including Rondo. The Atlanta front office only was given Bogdan who has turned out to be a great player on this roster for Atlanta. The Hawks are fighting for a conference finals so they have to be doing something right. Trae, Kevin, and Collins were all draft picks. Not to mention Cam Reddish and Onyeka Okongwu who both got hurt this year but are great defenders when they are fully healthy. No players on this team where all starts but they have played with each other and have a chemistry that you can clearly see. The Philly win would not have worked if this team did not play as a group. Every single player that we have mentioned has stepped up throughout the season this year which is the reason they are in the position they are in right now.
Lastly, let’s took a look at a failure of a front office in the last decade. We don’t have to look too far geographically to look at a team that has tried to rebuild but has ultimately failed. Both OKC and Atlanta have built their teams around the draft. The Thunder starting it with Russ and KD and now with the army of draft picks in the upcoming years. The Hawks as we mentioned with their picks leading them deep into the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks are the mystery team that just had a disappointing front office in the past years. The thing that stood out after they won the championship was they kept attempting to sign other free agents. They continued to sign old veteran players instead of rebuilding this team through the draft. This includes Chandler Parsons, Amar’e Stoudemire, and the resigning of Tyson Chandler. The Mavericks continued to do this for a few years before ultimately having no choice but to revert back to the draft. In the Draft they would pick up Luka Donic but ultimately they would give away a first rounder in the following year. Luka and Brunson were signs the Mavs were moving in the right direction. Afterwards KP and Hardaway were signed and the Mavs now have to deal with huge contracts. The Mavs looks like they might be heading towards a rebuilding phase. I think they will try to get KP out of Dallas but THJ will ultimately stay. The Mavs front office and team could look a lot different right now if they went to the draft earlier before Luka. Could the Mavs be champions right now, showing the true power of the NBA’s most valuable position.
Top Picture by Getty Images.