Scoop Jackson recently wrote a brief column on how the Kevin Garnett to Boston trade has lifted Danny Ainge out of the bad GM pile.
Okay. So who’s in that pile you ask?
So Danny Ainge has removed himself from the Jerry Krause list. The idiot has left the Garden. Congrats. The imbecilic role he had mastered over the last four years as Executive Director of Basketball Operations all makes sense now and can all be excused (and can all be worth it) once the KG era begins.
Jerry Krause, former GM of the Chicago Bulls. Now it’s well documented that Krause did not draft Michael Jordan, but he put together the core of the championship teams, including digging Phil Jackson out of the CBA. Krause did an exceptional job with the Bulls, for a very long time. They won 6 championships under his watch. The biggest reason was Michael Jordan, of course, but he needed some good players to help out with.
Krause made bad picks, of course. All GMs do. He also did this:
- 1987 draft: Traded Olden Polynice for Scottie Pippen. Drafted Horace Grant in the same draft.
- Traded Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, a move that was needed for them to make a championship run. He saw Grant’s ability before Jordan, who killed him for this trade but later admitted it was needed to take the Bulls to the next level.
- Drafted Toni Kukoc in the second round of the 1990 draft. This was well before the explosion of foreign players into the league. Kukoc was a solid contributor and won a 6th man award with the Bulls.
- Traded Will Purdue to San Antonio for Dennis Rodman before the ’95-96 season.
- Gave Phil Jackson his shot.
Krause’s problem is that his ego got big and he wanted more of the credit for the Bulls success. He’s famous for the “organizations with championships” quote, which was implied to downplay the impact that Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson had on the team. He made some poor trades towards the tail end of his tenure (Brand, Artest/Miller, etc.), although he did draft pretty well. For all his faults, he did a real good job for 10 years of making sure that team had solid players around Jordan, while typically having such a low first round pick that it was not useful. He did it by finding guys like Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Ron Harper and other role players who worked in the system perfectly.
Not my first choice for the list of terrible GMs, never mind naming the F’ing list after him.