I loved this quote from Bill Simmons’ recent 2012 NBA Trade Value column:
On TV a few weeks ago, Chris Webber said something that made me say, “I wish I had thought of that first.”They were talking about trades, and C-Webb pointed out that championship teams are always stubborn. In other words, instead of caving to the whims of their fans, the pressure of the media, the ebbs and flows of a season (or even someone’s career) or especially conventional wisdom, they say to themselves, “Screw this, I know what I have, I’m sticking with it.”
So, Jazz fans, you want a GM with a championship mentality, or one who wavers and waffles?
I know you hate Kevin O’Connor’s strategy: get very young, develop talent, suffer through a few seasons in the lower half of the conference, then emerge with a core that can contend for a top spot in out west. You want to win now. If you could trade Paul Millsap or Derrick Favors for a wing who can shoot, you would do it in a heartbeat, even though it would only make the Jazz a seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs, right? It’s almost like you expect not to be alive in two or three years, and all you want to do before the heart attack comes is see one more Jazz playoff series, at any cost.
You’re being ridiculous. Here are two people who are on record saying that they see O’Connor’s vision and they like it: John Hollinger and Chad Ford. It’s cute that you have 1,300 Twitter followers, but you don’t know the NBA as well as those two men do. I’m sorry, but you don’t. (I certainly don’t, either.) When they want to understand what the Jazz are trying to do, they can actually pick up the phone and call people around the league to discuss. Or they use (or invent!) advanced statistical measures that give us more an accurate, data-driven sense of what is really going on. In most ways, we can’t compete with that. We see C.J. Miles jacking up threes early in the shot clock and we cannot understand why that guy is on the Jazz roster, without bothering to understand that C.J. has actually been a more efficient offensive player this season than Kyle Korver. (I’m not defending wasted possessions, just pointing out that our view of the world is heavily skewed sometimes. It’s confirmation bias: we tend to see evidence that supports our position. We see the worst in C.J. because we’ve already decided that we dislike him.) This is all that Hollinger and Ford do. (Well, Ford also teaches at BYU-Hawaii, actually.) This is their life! They’re certainly not always right, but are any of us? I’ll take my chances with two smart, accomplished, respected NBA analysts, and they’re taking their chances with a stubborn Kevin O’Connor.
Look, if we were talking about a perennial bottom-dweller then I would say sure, let’s talk about firing KOC. You’re so used to winning that you have no idea how weird life could be under David Kahn or Bryan Colangelo. Growing up in Boston during the M.L. Carr and Rick Pitino eras, let me tell you: I know what a franchise devoid of direction looks like. Stubbornness is most definitely a positive trait.
You’re welcome to hate this team, hate the coach, hate the GM. But by ignoring your persistent whining and demands that KOC mortgage the farm for Rajon Rondo (who, by the way, is a HORRIFIC outside shooter) or Wesley Matthews (he’s not coming through that door, to borrow a line from the aforementioned Pitino era in Boston), O’Connor is actually displaying a trait that demonstrates one reason why he is general manager and we work elsewhere.
So here’s hoping that KOC ignores us all and sticks to the plan.
(I will now record a YouTube video in the style Chris Crocker called “LEAVE KEVIN O’CONNOR ALONE!” Where did I put my blonde wig?)