Tuesday, September 21, 2004

How To....Pt. 2

Kevin Pelton (of Page23 fame, and now employed by the (super)Sonics) had the following to say[see what happens when you leave comments? -ed.] regarding my last post concerning the hoops community's fixation on Jerry Krause:

The "championship or bust" mentality is one of my least favorite things about American sports and just not a good way to think in my opinion. Only one team a year is going to win it all, so if you position anything else as not enough, you're setting yourself up for failure. There is a substantial difference between being a playoff team and being a 20-win team.

What I meant by highlighting Krause's singular aspirations for a championship was not necessarily 'championship or bust'. I'm assuming what Kevin is referring to is the attitude similar to that the New York Yankees have entering each season. In a team like that with an owner like that, not winning the championship every year is followed by roster overhauls that seem like the transactional equivalent of a temper tantrum. What Krause meant (and I'm guessing, of course) by trying to building a champion was not without a corollary knowing that it couldn't be done in a day. When evaluating your team, whether it is a 20-win or a playoff one, its not enough to question where the team is, but also look where it is going. And for that second question,  Krause's target was a championship. I don't think he necessarily believed in that to the point that he lost sense of the intermediate goals (as in, say, making the playoffs for once) along the way.

Kevin offers up his usual superior (superior to me at least) writing in the Krause epitaph he wrote following Krause's resignation in spring 2003. One point in the article that I neglected prior was Krause's track record hiring coaches. It does serve Krause's legacy well that he hired Phil Jackson, but unfortunately I think he tried to use that same hiring philosophy (taking a chance on an unproven) to mangle his next hires: Tim Floyd and Bill Cartwright. I can't believe I forgot to mention Floyd as one of Krause's blunders, but that's probably because I've been trying my damndest to purge him from memory.

I didn't want my previous post to be a similar retrospective on Krause's career, which is why I didn't delve into the Jalen Rose trade. What I wanted instead was the opposite, for national coverage to focus on where this team is going, instead of picking on the surly, slouchy, fat man who was on the receiving end of ridicule even when the team he ran was winning 6 championships. Although I guess by devoting all these words lately to Krause, I have gotten sucked in to the same thing I was trying to stop :-) .