Here is an article I recently found on ESPN about how the Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish. Even though it is a baseball article there are some great comments from one of the owners, Bob Simpson. From Richard Durrett:
“I try to find the lowest risk available and the winning strategy. Does this fit? They had to convince me and Ray that it does. I believe and trust them. They’ve done a lot of work. It goes back to, are you going to support the organization or second-guess them? You’re much better off getting real people that know what they’re doing than trying to call plays behind them. If you think you can improve your management personally as an owner, you need to get somebody else and not do it yourself.”
I love this statement from Simpson. The best teams in the NBA are the ones that have strong ownership. But having strong ownership is not enough. The owners need to be smart about how they spend money on talent on floor but also in the front office. Having the right people in the front office that you can trust and support will lead to a better organization. It is better to have the most talented people you can doing the work. When you have strong ownership and a strong front office you can really build the team and product on the floor. The best example that I can see is the San Antonio Spurs. Many folks don’t like their brand of ball because it may be less flashy then others but they have the proof that matters – 4 championships in the last 14 years. That is tough to argue. Peter Holt has been consistent and he has supported the work of RC Buford who has been able to build strong teams year after year. Further proof can be seen in how the Spurs have been retooling their roster as their big three gets older and older. They have been creative to bring in the right talent to suit their team – like finding DeJuan Blair in the second round, making a 2011 draft day trade for Kawhi Leonard, and finally being able to bring Tiago Splitter from overseas.
It all comes back to the owner. Do they treat the team as a fun hobby, or are they really trying to win. Maybe some only focus on the profit and loss statements. Maybe some think they are the best evaluators of talent and like to trump the decision making of those they have hired to build the team. This makes it hard for teams to truly grow when the owner is not supporting the front office. The best teams are the ones that hire great management and allow them to do their job.