Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kevin O'Connor... the Decision-Maker

With Larry H. Miller deceased and Jerry Sloan aging, Kevin O'Connor faces a challenge like no other summer. For the most part, the Jazz GM will have to deal with personnel decisions entirely by himself. Certainly, Greg Miller and Coach Sloan will be there in a supportive role, but... we all know and understand how involved Larry was in the past, and who knows how much longer Jerry Sloan will be coaching? KOC will have the pressure of personnel decisions squarely on his shoulders.

Gordon Monson of the SL Tribune writes a good column on the Jazz and analyzes KOC's performance over the last 10 years as GM. In my opinion, the article is a little harsh. But, it does give a pretty accurate assessment and history of the past personnel decisions for the Jazz and how it either helped or hurt our cause.

In my estimation, I've been rather supportive of Kevin O'Connor. If Monson calls O'Connor conservative, what would he call Scott Layden? Super-duper conservative? KOC has had some highs and lows, like any GM. But, I think his rebuilding job of the Jazz after the Stockton-Malone regime up until now has been very admirable.

Here's what I can assess (and many of KOC's mistakes were decisions that I was highly in favor of):

Drafting: 50-50. O'Connor has been hit and miss. DWill, Brewer, Millsap, Mo Williams, Koufos have been very good acquisitions. DeShawn, Raul Lopez (instead of Tony Parker), Borchardt, Humphries, & Snyder (who... I thought was an excellent pick at the time) have been terrible picks. Drafting is definitely an in-exact science, however, you'd expect better than a 50% rating.

Free Agency: 50-50. Alot of free agent acquistions were solely to fill out the roster. The ones of significance that were good... Boozer, Memo, Harpring and Raja Bell really made a difference. Although, keeping Arroyo (instead of Mo) & Giricek, signing Amaechi and giving AK47 a max contract (tough decision because AK was playing like an All-star then) all look like questionable to bad decisions. Yet, the Jazz have been in the playoffs over the last few years... so I believe he's doing a pretty good job.

For the most part, I believe that KOC will be able to get the job done. It'll be interesting to witness who he values most, going forward. Many decisions will be contingent on value-driven worth (both on the part of the organization and the market). How would you assess KOC's 10-year overall performance? Do you trust him to make the right decisions?


Orlando said...

Whatever you think of Kevin O (and I'm firmly in the lukewarm boat) you have to give the man credit for luring high quality free agents to Salt Lake. Boozer and Memo are the top two free agents ever signed by the Jazz, and I'm not sure who comes in third. John Amaechi?

Pasty Gangsta said...

Maggette (not his fault the Clippers matched).

I'm not sure you can fault O'Connor for moves that were "right" at the time, like drafting Snyder or re-signing AK. No man can predict the future.

And by now you all know my feelings on the NBA draft. Total crapshoot after about the 10th pick. KOC should be commended for getting Brewer and Millsap where he did; many other picks weren't great but show me a GM who consistently drafts well from the 15th pick on. Williams was a great grab too, although was pretty obvious to most folks outside of the Hawks organization.

Orlando said...

I think we actually lucked out on some free agent signings that never bore fruit: Maggette, Brad Miller, Jason Terry. I'm glad we're not overpaying those guys.