By: Gary M. Ayd
Since his hiring by the Lakers last week as the team's president of basketball operations, there has been a lot of talk about the ability of the Laker legend, and former minority owner to lead the front office.
Johnson who since his playing career has amassed an impressive business empire and has been a visible NBA broadcaster, will now for the first time be responsible for day-to-day basketball decisions with little no no prior experience or grooming for the job.
Many experts have been skeptical of his ability to handle his new job given the minimal success met by other first time/no experience presidents like Phil Jackson and Vlade Divac in recent years. The question is are these people right will Magic fail in his new job?
We believe we have a good feel for the answer to that question.
We believe Magic will have much greater success as the head of the Lakers than Jackson has had with the Knicks, or Divac with the Kings. There are several reasons we feel this way and here are the top-5.
1. Better Organization
The first advantage Johnson has over the others is simple, the Lakers historically have been much better run than either the Knicks or Kings. It remains to be seen if that's still the case, but from everything coming out of those close to the situation, the firing of Jim Buss is going to go a long way to getting the team back into this competitive grove. While Jeanie Buss hasn't had great success as the head of the organization, she does appears to be a much more able owner than Dolan or Ranadive, which should give Magic an edge.
2. Better Starting Point
Despite the dismal record of 19-40, the Lakers roster is much further along in it's rebuild than the Kings or Knicks. There is a lot to like about the young core of Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson and Deangelo Russell. Couple that with some stable veterans like Luol Deng and Nick Young and this team seems to be headed in the right direction. It will now be up to Magic and those he ultimately surrounds himself with to develop this young core and add to it to turn things around.
3. Cares More
This is not to say that Divac and Phil Jackson don't care about their jobs or teams, but Magic Johnson in many ways is the Lakers; and has been since being drafted #1 overall by the club in 1979. So other than the normal evaluation of his performance on the job, because it's with the Lakers he is in some ways not only managing the future of the franchise but also his own brand and image which is no small thing for a person of his stature. Because of this added factor Magic is likely to be much more involved and spend many more hours than Jackson or Divac have in their respective positions.
4. Understands the Town
Because of the blurred line between who Magic is and who the Lakers franchise is discussed in the last point, Magic has an intrinsic understanding of the team he is taken over that perhaps no other individual has with any other franchise in all the NBA or even sports. Because it's not simply enough with the Lakers to win, that's the baseline, but you have to win with style. This is showtime, tinseltown and hollywood style counts for as much as substance here. No one understands that better than Magic and expect this knowledge to pepper all personnel decisions he and his team make going forward.
5. Magic Does Have Some Experience
Maybe not as a team executive, but as an executive making personnel decisions, hiring, firing, recruiting, training and generally running his myriad business interests over the last 20+ years. Because of this he simply will need to apply those skills to his knowledge of basketball, the team and the city and then rely on those around him to make the numbers and metrics work relative to cap restrictions and the other rules that govern personnel maneuvering in the NBA.
What do you think? Will Magic make a good executive yes/no and why/why not? Comment below.
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This is the members only blog of the NBAyd show. All our correspondents you hear on the show post here, as well as show host Gary Ayd. This blog gives you all access to every piece of content generated by the NBAyd show team.