Firstly, I am not in favor of firing Kevin Pritchard. Seems to me he’s done a pretty good job as general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. But at the same time, I have to tell you I’m not as indignant about it as so many others.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. But having been around the Trail Blazers and the NBA for a long time, let me share a few reasons.
For one, I don’t know when I’ve seen an NBA general manager who has been the beneficiary so much hero worship. I mean, that whole “In KP we trust” and “KP doesn’t drive to work, he walks across the Willamette” stuff astounded me. I mean, universally through the NBA I have heard so many other front-office types make fun of all the positive strokes the guy gets. People think it’s kind of funny.
And I have been consistent in saying something you don’t really hear anywhere else: We really don’t know how good Pritchard is in that draft room. All we know is the team meets in that room and emerges united in whatever choice it makes. We really don’t know whose idea anything was.
Do we know for a fact that Greg Oden was Pritchard’s choice? Do we know if Paul Allen liked the pick? Do we know whose idea it was to select Nic Batum or Martell Webster? Really? How do we know this — because Pritchard leaked it to a media friend? The hardest part of evaluating the whole draft process with the Blazer organization is never knowing — for SURE — who made what picks. Come on, Paul Allen is so involved on draft day I’m not so sure he doesn’t make some of those picks himself.
Consequently, it’s very difficult to evaluate the general manager unless you’re right there in the middle of the chaos on draft day or whenever a major deal is going down. Unless you are, you’re a slave to someone else’s version of the truth about what went down. And when that person is involved, can you trust his version?
I’ll say one other thing: I’ve been around this organization for a long time. I covered the Blazers when they said goodbye to Jack Ramsay and Stu Inman — the men who made the Trail Blazers’ only championship possible. I saw Rick Adelman fired and Geoff Petrie resign in frustration.
And you think, with that in mind, I’m going to get all hot and bothered about Kevin Pritchard being dumped?