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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Micro Management; A Magic Killer?

Micro management has been synonymous to bad management in recent management studies. The fact is some of the best managers of our time have been micro managers. These, however, are extremely talented and charismatic individuals who have unique leadership qualities, and in order to expand their influence to the lowest layers of the establishment’s structure, need to be micro managers. Other than those exceptions, micro management discourages innovation and restricts flexibility, and in the long run, suppreses the establishment’s progress.

We have over 2½ months till the start of the season, and before a few victories blinds our judgment to the point of making it a sin to criticize constructively, I would like to state for the record that Brian Hill is a micro manager without the talent or the leadership qualities. The success of the team towards the end of the season was mainly due to the fact that Hill turned the players loose, and with Jameer pushing the ball and getting into fastbreak situations, the Magic outgunned many high caliber teams. Coming next season with a healthy Grant in the mix, Magic could be an outstanding fastbreak team. That goes against Hill’s structured/low paced system (that is if we could call it a system).

Additionally, excellent micro managers are leaders who are attentive to the needs and sensitivities of their subordinates to the lowest levels. Hill is incapable of connecting and maintaining a relationship with the key players, let alone going down the ladder to the basic role players.

Watch him early in the season, and do not let victories, here and there, fool you. If he continues to micro manage, he could suppress the development of the Magic to become a bona fide powerhouse in the east, and potential elevation to a championship caliber team. Also, let’s note that Magic’s leverage in the next summer’s free agency market is directly related to the team’s success in the 2006-2007 season.

14 Comments:

  • At 4:05 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Coming off the success of the last 22 games of last season, the expectations are high for the Magic this season. Brian Hill will certainly play a big part if the Magic are a success or a big disappointment.

    Matt, you're right when you say that last year's success in the final 22 games was mainly due to BHill turning the players loose and letting them play, instead of his usual structured, low-pace system.

    The Magic could indeed continue to be an outstanding fast-break team in the upcoming season if BHill will let them, and yes, I'm sure all Magic fans will watch BHill to see that he doesn't do anything to suppress the development of the team.

    One advantage that the Magic have this season over last is that all the key parts of the team will be in training camp, and that will give them time to further develop the chemistry that we saw at the end of last season, and also incorporate the new players like Bogans and Redick.

    Matt, I'm sure you're referring to Hill's problems with Steve Francis when you say Hill is incapable of connecting and maintaining a relationship with players. Yes, Hill does deserve some of the blame for the Francis situation last season. But it was a blessing in disguise that Francis got traded and was no longer able to hurt the Magic with his selfish tendencies.

    This just may be the most important season in BHill's coaching career, to see if he could take the Magic to the next level or if he will impose his iron fist and possibly hurt the team.

     
  • At 8:46 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Management challenges? What management challenges?

    Howard wants to play like Garnett instead of Howard next year.

    Nelson has a permanent chip on his shoulder.

    Turkoglu needs to start.

    If Hill is healthy he'll think he needs to start.

    Battie started last year and may come off the bench next year.

    There is no starting SG currently.

    Darko has a reputation for not trying that needs to be shed, but didn't show up in Orlando this summer.

    Arroyo is currently THE MAN on Team Puerto Rico; wants to start; has an entire U.S. territory clamoring for him to start; and will be asked to come off the bench for the Magic.

    Ariza spent summer free agency receiving no offers from 29 other teams.

    Dooling wants minutes.

    Grant Hill time as an all-NBA player is done and he doesn't know it.

    JJ Reddick is an NCAA stud who is now an NBA rookie.

    And Hill is always tempted to play Pat Garrity "meaningful" minutes.

    Not to mention that now Diener thinks he can play in the NBA too.

    Nah, no management challenges here at all.

     
  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    WeRDevos, I was not ready to get into details of management challenges, and was hoping that we could slide into that phase. You came out firing, and brought up a legitimate list of challenges. Interesting enough, you only connected the Garrity issue with Hill, directly (Let's not forget Hill's statement on mentioning Garrity as the best defender on the team). All other issues on the list are mainly Hill's responsibility to address by himself or in collaboration with Smith. The question that I ask again from the forum is:

    IS HILL TALENTED ENOUGH WITH LEADERSHIP QUALITIES TO BE ALLOWED TO MICRO MANAGE?

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I recall the quote from Hill as saying Garrity was the most fundamentally sound player on the team. Whatever he said it frightens me. If he says it again I hope Otis slaps him.

    I'll continue to not address your topic by saying that last summer I was extremely pessimistic about the entire franchise including ownership, management and players. The team plays in a dump, Kansas City was wooing, I figured Otis was dumb (and cheap), hated the B.Hill rehire and disliked Francis mental instability and Grant Hills injuries.

    By comparison I am pretty damn optimistic this summer. Much of it based on how last years trades created a winning atmosphere. Also there is more than a glimmer of hope for a new building, the cap has been magically fixed, and the personnel are a much better TEAM with an infusion of young talent in the last 6 months.

    The last time Hill had this much young talent in training camp was 93-94 when he was promoted and the team went from 41-41 to 50-32. No, I am definitely NOT saying that Dwight, Darko & Jameer = Shaq, Penny & Nick but there is a lot of promise for huge growth there.

    I am intrigued to find out if Hill learned anything spending a week in Vegas with Dwight and Team USA. They are practicing to build a D'Antonio offense coupled with Duke's tenacious defense. If Dwight likes the style will he push for a change? It could still fit Hill's style because it stresses defense. And the Magic have players and depth suitable to the style with Howard, Darko, Turk, Jameer, Arroyo, Ariza, and Dooling (maybe Battie)especially suited for it, Dookies Hill & Riddick lived it already. And it is similar to the loose offense they played during the great last quarter of the season.

    If Hill pushes for the static offense he got away with when Shaq was here and tries to get more than a couple of minutes a week out of Garrity it could be a disaster.

    But like I said, I'm very optimistic right now and am betting ticket money that this is going to be a fun and winning team next year.

     
  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    There is no question that Magic has a lot to be optimistic about, as we all are pointing to. Yet, whether or not we are willing to address the defiecencies, early on, decides the future prospect of the team. Let me put it in simple terms; Hill is an average coach that they say has attention to details, meaning that he puts his nose into every little details with the rigidity of claiming "my way or highway". Granted, his emphasis on defense is a positive point, but his slow-pace offense goes against the talents on hand. Remember how far we had to cry out for giving Darko and Ariza more minutes at the expense of Garrity, and yet it did not happen until Garrity got injured.

    So if anybody pays any attention to this blog and others for that matter, I say this is the time to air it out. Let's put Hill and others envolved in Magic's decision making on notice not to repeat the blunders of last season.

     
  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    O.K. I'll play the devils advocate. The team Hill started with last year was going to start Cato, Howard, Hill, Stevenson and Steve "turnover" Francis. At that time I was pissing people off on the Sentinel site guessing that the over/under for that team was 32 wins. And yes, that team did suck. So what would any coach to do, but slow down the offense, hope to keep it close and steal a few games.

    Without looking it up, the team was on about a 25 win pace when the February trades blew it up and gave us hope. Jameer didn't return until around March and everything kind of fell into place after that. The team that replaced the 2005 Magic is tall, athletic, young, motivated and cocky. Whatever his limitations, Hill didn't screw it up in March and April and we had a lot of fun.

    I am convinced that Arroyo and Darko brought a style of play with them that permeated throughout the team. It sure as hell didn't hurt that cancers Francis and Cato were gone. Darko showed two extraordinary traits -- moving without the ball and blocking shots. Arroyo is a pass first, drive the paint second true point guard. Suddenly Howard was blocking shots too and Jameer's game went up another notch -- less ball pounding and more sharing of the ball. Guys like Turk and Dooling stopped taking every bad shot and giving the ball up with the understanding they'd get it back when in better position. Ariza could catch and drive on anyone in his limited minutes. Stevenson and Battie still kind of sucked, but not as bad as Cato or Francis.

    This offseason, Otis hasn't messed with the chemistry and it may continue.

    I think Matt is right when he puts Hill as a middling coach. Then again, times have been tough here since he was fired. Daley quickly gave up everything but his check, Doc Rivers is a massive fraud (check out Celtic blogs sometime) Davis/Jennings were in over their heads. However, Hill did bring Orlando within four foul shots of competing for the grand prize. (Hi Nick, welcome back!) He may never be a genius like Riley who can adjust against Chicago/Detroit/Dallas and win it all, but he is probably capable of growing this team to the Eastern championship series.

    So maybe with a little luck he knocks on the door in a couple years, similar to Rick Carlisle in Detroit, and Otis then passes the baton to another coach to take this team over the top.

    That's a future that excites me a lot more than Cato, Hill, Stevenson and Francis ever could.

     
  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous David said…

    Matt,

    I think you're right about Hill's middling coaching abilities, though they may not be so bad as to sink the team. Hill is, as you note, excessively detail-oriented and he also does not work well with tempremental players (see Francis, P. Hardaway).

    Fortunately, the current Magic squad may be receptive to micromanagement and lacks divisive personalities. It's a young, "nice" team. The players are less likely than most to tune out his constant advice, and they may even benefit defensively.

    The danger is that Hill does not adapt his coaching strategy to the team's strengths. In the short-term, the Magic should become a "Suns East" style team, given its fast-break ability at PF and outside shooting presence at SG and SF. As Howard and maybe Darko develop and we acquire free-agent talent, this offense may need to change. But, for now, I think a fast-break style offense could lead to 45 (maybe 50) wins and give the Magic contender-style confidence going into the 2007-08 season.

    The problem is that a Suns East style offense goes against Hill's rather dull coaching philosophy. If Hill does not adapt, he could become a problem. Hopefully Otis-- who does seem to have the right vision for this team-- would step in, if necessary, to make sure that the problem does tear apart this team's promising future.

     
  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    For the time-being, I tend to share your optimism and I hope you are right that Hill may not hurt the team's prospects to the extent that I expanded on. We will know by early season where we are standing, and by golly, all Magic fans are watching that nobody messes up their high hopes, this time around.

     
  • At 10:55 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    WeRDevos, your 8:54 PM post was very well-written. I basically agree with every point that you brought out. The second paragraph you wrote I especially agree with.

    David brings out a couple interesting points too; the first one about the Magic players being receptive to Hill's coaching because they are a young "nice" team with no divisive personalities; and the second about Otis Smith getting involved in case BHill doesn't adapt his coaching strategy to the team's strengths. I would think Otis would set BHill straight if Hill tries to impose his "dull" offensive strategy.

    I agree with WeRDevos and David when they put that Hill is a middling coach, but I am optimistic enough that Hill's micro-managing won't hurt the team this coming season.

    I'm already looking forward to my Christmas vacation in Orlando when the Magic play 5 home games between Dec. 27th and Jan. 7th... I plan to attend at least 4 of those games.

     
  • At 3:46 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    Lots of interesting points brought up here. I said it last season and I'll say it again now before the season even starts. BSHill isn't qualified to coach a middle school team.
    Yes, this is a young "nice" team at the moment, who may actually listen to Hill, for a while. But how long do you think that will last? You can't blame Hill for the Francis shenanigans last year. But he sure didn't do anything spectacular to aleve any of it either. Some coaches command respect by the way they treat and communicate with their players. Some coaches command respect with their winning records and longevity in the business. But BSHill will always be that "froggy" sounding little man that just gets on everyones nerves with his inability make adjustments with the ebbs and flows that occur during every game.
    As for his assinign comment about Garrity being a defensive monster, well, that was just a slap in the face to everyone on the team. BSHill and Garrity aren't qualified to even carry Dwights or Jameers jockstrap. Otis has put together a nice young base that could last for years and bring pride back to Orlando basketball. My question is, how long before BSHill hangs himself with his relentless pursuit fo find Garrity as many minutes as he can, and alienates himself from the team?

     
  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Nice comments everybody. There is a flaw to one major assumption stated repeatedly, and that is Smith will straighten Hill out, if need be. Unless you know something that I don't, I am not sure that Smith has that kind of clout in the organization. Remember that Hill was brought back with a lot of hoopla from the top of Magic's organization, and the late rally of the last season for which, deservedly or not, Hill takes some credit, has given him a better standing in the organization, as well.

    Regardless, early in the season, or even in pre-season, we will know from Hill's rotation where he is heading to.

     
  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    You're right Matt... we don't know for sure if Otis would be allowed to straighten out BHill if need be.

    However, I would think that Otis is highly thought of in the organization, in addition to BHill, after all his slick trades and acquisitions since the Fran Vasquez disaster.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Jury is still out on Otis' power in the organization but there is some evidence to look at.

    1. His promotion this summer.
    2. He was the one who announced the coach was not going to play Augmon anymore and concentrate on playing the kids. We don't know whose responsible for that decision, but he made it appear to be his.
    3. He took and responded to heat about Darko & Ariza not playing immediately.

    And Garrity was shelved even after his leg was better.

     
  • At 1:13 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    You guys have a great discussion going on here. All points are interesting, solid, and still up for debate.

    Myself, I've never been a Brian Hill fan, but I don't hate the guy either. I like his attention to detail, as long as it's not too excessive. His substitution patterns have always rubbed me the wrong way, although he wasn't too bad at the end of last season. I know he turned the team lose at the end of this season, and that had a lot to do with the teams success. The reason I think that will continue, no matter what, is Jameer and Carlos. They are both solid smart basketball players. They both know how to win. They both make wise decisions on the court. While I think they'll respect what Brian Hill has to say, I feel there will be some kind of mutual understanding that they are the coaches on the floor. One of them will be out there most of the time, and they will be the floor coach so to speak, making the decisions, and running the show. Both have shown that they are capable of making smart choices, and understand how to win. I feel, because of our PGs, hell, you can even include Dooling, and a wise vet in G Hill, and because of that this team will be fine with B Hill coaching.

    Brian Hill might not be any "Pat Riley", but I'm sure a lot of coaches out there could be like Riley if they coached a dream team like the Lakers. And I'm not even going to get into what happened this last post season.

    Anyway, my point, I'm excited and content going into next season. After the conclusion of last season, there is no reason Hill shouldn't get a shot. If it's not going to work, it should stand out. But as for now, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and see what happens with this Orlando Magic team.

     

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