NBA owners need not repeat the same mistakes

January, 14, 2011
1/14/11
2:00
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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John Hollinger (Insider) has a great idea, at the end of a piece of analysis about how smart front offices work:
The NBA is a franchise business, but in many ways it operates more like 30 mom-and-pop stores that are each inventing their own version of the wheel.

Which strikes me as odd, in that no other franchise business would ever consider operating that way. McDonald's, for instance, sends all its managers to a place called Hamburger U. to learn about how to do things -- but I would argue the big thing they're really learning is how not to do things. By avoiding the most common screw-ups, they have a fighting chance at success.

Thus, I've often wondered if the NBA would benefit tremendously by offering a How Not To Screw Things Up course to its owners and GMs every spring, right before the teams embark on their annual quest to riddle their feet with bullets in the draft and free agency. The league could offer sessions with titles like, "The midlevel exception: Just say no," "You don't have to use all that cap space right now" and "Average 29-year-olds turn into awful 32-year-olds."

Those would be the staples, but additionally, every year they could offer timely breakout sessions about current events. For instance, this year's might be, "He's a great player, but he probably won't be a good GM," "Comic Sans: The joke's on you," and "I don't care how many point guards you have, you can play only one of them at a time."

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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