An Idea Whose Time has Come...
With that prelude, I would like to submit the following questions for discussion:
1. Assuming that Brian Hill’s approach to coaching has been unacceptable by many facets of it, is there something that could be done to bring about the desirable changes?
2. What is the role of a general manager, and in particular, could we discount Otis Smith’s role, or lack thereof, in allowing the so-called coach to continue with his tyrannical approach?
My answer to the first question is a clear and emphatic YES.
a) The first and foremost element is the fan support, who fill the arena and bring revenue to the ownership. As we all know the fan, all over the nation with minor exceptions, have a short memory. It may take quite a bit to get them excited, but they may quickly lose interest if there is nothing interesting to look forward to. Therefore, the box office revenue is at the center of what the ownership is mindful of.
b) The power of repetition and persuasion go hand in hand on the way to consensus, and eventual change. I refer you back to the quote from Victor Hugo. We have many forums where our views could be reflected, individually as well as collectively. Persistence and perseverance are essential and despair is not an option.
In answering the second question, please note the following:
a) The extent of general manager’s involvement varies on case-by-case basis. It simply depends on the profile of the GM and the coach. Average GMs dealing with a high profile coach, would typically stay away from intervening in coach’s decision making with regard to many issues related to what happens on the court. On the contrary, high profile GMs dealing with average coaches, may intervene in many aspects of decision making that would typically fall in the realm of coach’s authority.
b) The situation in the case of Hill and Smith is not clear to me. Hill was rehired on an emotional basis by the ownership, supposedly making a wrong right. That by definitions means allowing a reasonable authority to Hill, extent of which could not be marked by any degree of certainty. Smith has been very successful in putting together a winning team, for which he should have earned some capital to spend. It seems that he is relatively involved with the decision making as it relates to personnel. For instance, we hear from Grant saying that Otis didn’t want me to play on back-to-back games, from time to time. Based on Smith’s personality, I do not expect him to impose the typical authority afforded to GMs over Hill unless the situation becomes drastically dire. In my view, Smith would not impose his own approach of on-court issues over Hill, most often than not, fearing it may backfire. I don’t think that despite his success he has a solid place in the organization to allow him to challenge Hill, if need be. That could change, however, if Hill becomes weaker as a result of losses piling up, or the box-office revenues dwindling. For what’s going on right now, I hold Smith accountable as much as I do Hill. For a while I was hesitant to do so, but I am willing no longer to hold on to this illusion that Smith may intervene to rectify Hill’s shortcomings. If one chooses to ignore the fact that these two should be held equally accountable, then one is missing a major element of bringing the desirable changes about. If Smith is left out of the loop for what ills the Magic, he may not feel compelled to intervene whereas he could get hurt himself. Remember the old say about “Doing nothing is the best way not to get hurt.”
There you have it. I honestly believe the time has come to ask questions with no hesitation. Like for example, why there was an offer on the table for Darko that was withdrawn? What was Smith and/or Hill's role in that? Or the team's struggles to beat the teams who can shoot 3-pointers; we lost to CHA and GS based on our deficiency to match their 3-point shooting, and almost lost to NO on the same basis; What is the Smith's view to change the rotation, as we know Hill has failed to address the issue?