Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ren's Ten: Coaches & Execs' Cards

A few weeks back I did a Ren's Ten segment title "Cleaning out the Garage." I promised more editions featuring the collectibles I rescued from my parents disposal.

Today, I offer sports cards featuring players who ended up coaches or executives, and opine on whether or not their transition has been successful.

White-Collar Success

Player: Joe Dumars
Position: Pistons’ President of Basketball Operations.
Notes: 2002-03 NBA Executive of the Year; 2004 NBA World Championship
Card: 1994 Skybox "Showdown Series" #SS10

Player: Avery Johnson
Position: Mavs’ Head Coach
Notes: Fastest Coach to both 100 and 150 wins; 2006 NBA Coach of the Year; 2006-07 NBA Best Record (Playoff Upset by #8 Seed)
Card: 1993-94 Upper Deck #328

Player: Steve Largent
Position: President and CEO of the CTIA -The Wireless Association
Notes: While he failed in his bid at executive office, Governor of Oklahoma in 2002, it is hard to say that a former Hall of Fame athlete who went on to serve as a four-term Congressman and currently as president and CEO of a trade association could be billed as anything less than an successful executive.
Card: 1990 Score (Record Breakers) #592

Middle of the Road / TBD

Player: Mo Cheeks
Position: 76ers Head Coach
Notes: We will give him the benefit of the doubt considering he went from the Jailblazers to managing an ensemble constructed by the as-of-today unemployed Billy King. Not the two most envious NBA jobs in the world.
Card: 1992 NBA Hoops #2

Player: Joel Skinner
Position: Cleveland Indians' 3rd Base Coach
Notes: While it is easy to signal out Skinner as a failure due to his most recent gaffe in Game 7 of the 2007 American League Champion Series, Skinner looks to have a history as a minor league coaching stud:
  • 1995: New York-Penn League Manager of the Year
  • 1997: Carolina League Manager of the Year
  • 1998 : USA Today Baseball Weekly's Minor League Manager of the Year
  • 2000: Baseball America and The Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year; International League Manager of the Year honors
Let's do something in the Bigs can we?
Card: 1989 Fleer #270

Player: Ozzie Guillen
Position: Chicago White Sox Manager
Notes: As known for his mouth and erratic behavior as for his leadership qualities, Ozzie did lead his team to the 2005 World Series title. That is however, his squad's only playoff appearance with him at the helm.
Card: 1988 Donruss #137

Player: Glenn "Doc" Rivers
Position: Boston Celtics' Head Coach
Notes: The 2000 NBA Coach of the Year with the Orlando Magic, Doc never really had the pieces or chemistry or continuity to make a strong run deep into the playoffs. This year, of course, being a notable exception.
Card: 1990 SkyBox #7

Player: John Paxson
Position: Chicago Bulls General Manager
Notes: While I want to throw him in the following batch, Paxson has made as many great moves, particularly in the draft, as he has boneheaded ones, particularly via trade. The teams, while loaded with talent, have yet to crack the upper echelon of the NBA, despite being perennially poised to in recent years, especially in the Leastern Conference.
Card: 1989 NBA Hoops #89.

Laughing Stocks

No, I am not Fred Gwynne

Player: Kevin McHale
Position: Minnesota TWolves' Vice President of Basketball Operations
Notes: We made no bones about it here at HHR. It's been sometime since the NBA interested us. We could rip into McHale, but it would probably end up looking like some rehashed Sports Guy template. But because we recognize what a boob KMac is, BOOYAH! We asked good buddy and our goto guy for NBA insight and humor, Benjamin L. Pray over at Stu Scott's Lazy Eye, to give us his thoughts...
Kevin McHale is a terrible talent evaluator: from 1996-2005, exactly TWO of his picks (out of 15) remain in the NBA: Wally Sczerbiak and Rasho Nesterovic. Of course, that total would be higher if he hadn't brokered a secret deal with Joe Smith and robbed his team of FOUR first round picks. McHale actually drafted both Ray Allen and Brandon Roy, but then traded them both away on draft day for inferior players (Marbury and Foye). McHale is supposedly a vaunted teacher of footwork and post-play, but how many Timberwolves have benefited from his tutelage? Kevin Garnett is essentially a small forward, favoring fade-aways and jumpers over trips to the free-throw line. Can you name a single productive center from McHale's tenure? Who has he helped blossom into a good player, other than KG (note: not Mike Olowokandi or Eddie Griffin)? Free agency has also been a disaster for McHale. Last year's savior Mike James lasted one season. Troy Hudson wasn't quite worth the 37 million Kevin gave him. Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell both performed well for a year, but Sam was swapped for the more expensive and less productive Marko Jaric while Spree wasn't resigned.Kevin McHale traded for Mark Blount and Ricky Davis. Kevin McHale allowed his team to begin training camp with 8 small forwards, leaving the point to Sebastian Telfair and Marko Jaric. Kevin McHale's only good decisions have been to cover up for his bad ones: buying out Troy Hudson, re-trading Davis and Blount, trading Trenton Hassell, Buying out Juwan Howard etc. How bad is Kevin McHale? His worst contract has been forced into playing this year, as McHale's roster is so bad, there is simply no one better than Mark Madsen to play minutes at Center. Ouch.
Cool as the other side of the pillow.

Card: 1991 NBA Hoops (All-Star) #255

Player: Isaiah Thomas
Position: New York Knicks Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations
Notes: Of everyone on this list, Zeke has spent the most time in the news as of late and is, by far, the most polarizing and criticized. So, the only tidbit I will rehash here on his post-playing career is this: One of Isaiah's nicknames as a player is listed as the "Baby-Faced Assassin."
Raptors, CBA, Pacers, Knicks, female co-workers, white ticket holders. Still appropriate.
Card: 1992 NBA Hoops (All-Star) #303


Interesting list here: Best General Managers In Sports
Obviously, I know nothing.


Jarrett Carter said...

No Brad Lohaus find?

Not even a Bison Dele?

Hugging Harold Reynolds said...

Im forced to work with what I got.

D said...

What?? You don't have any Mitch Kupchak cards???

Ren McCormack said...

Ive only been through about 2 shoe boxes. Im sure some other goodies will pop up.

BTW, does anyone else use Mitch Kupchak in the same vein as the "What's the capital of Thailand" bit? ie "Who's the GM of the Lakers?" and then backhand someone in the beanbag when they say "Cup-Check"?

Good times.