I don’t want to keep you here long. There is tons of masterful writing to be done about Kevin Pritchard. I just want people to see a different take on this. I’m not trying to defend anyone or anything. I’m just opening up a different perspective. Before and after the draft, all I heard was negative this and negative that. I’ve always thought to truly analyze a situation you have to think rationally. To properly take a look at someone else you can’t put demonize them or put them on a pedestal.
There is so much to this story we can never understand. First off, Kevin Pritchard did not get fired an hour before the Draft. All reports state that Allen had let him know that today would be his last day of work. Enough of that. Secondly, KP knew it was his last day and all signs point to the leak coming from him or somewhere near him. The timing of the leak is what made me lose respect for him. I understood why he might do it. The anger, the frustration after a reported argument with Allen over his future over dinner. I understand after he was humilated publicly. But after the leak, for the first time, I could see Paul Allen’s perspective. If character issues were the reason you got fired, leaking your firing an hour before the draft isn’t the smartest thing.
Make no mistake about it, KP did his job. He did an a great job of stockpiling talent, an even better job of taking this franchise to a new level. He introduced the Blazers to the advanced scouting and stats. I mean if anything he should be channeling Dr. Dre and singing “I started this gangsta ish, and this the motherfriggin’ thanks I get.” There is not a person on this earth who can argue against that. Think about this thought. In college basketball, programs who have had troubled times generally tend to hire a clean coach…solely based on the fact that he’s a clean coach. They give that coach about 3-4 years to clean the program up and then fire him. It happens time and time again and when they hire the coach they know he’s only a temporary fix. KP was kind of like that. He took a franchise at a low-point, cleaned it up, stocked the roster and got fired. You can even wonder if Paul Allen ever really had KP as his guy to run the team? He might have had him as his guy to clean it up.
My big problem with this whole situation is how high of a pedestal Blazer fans put KP on. Not to say the credit he earned was not deserved….it was just a bit excessive. If you want to be furious over KP getting fired for all the right reasons than do it. But ask yourself a question? KP is excellent in the draft as proven tonight…but that’s only one part of the process of being a GM. Is he a great trader? Not really, we’ve had about 100 rumors in the KP Era and they all came up dust. Can he woo free agents? Turkoglu left us at the altar (which would have turned out to be an awful move) and Andre Miller was essentially option #3. He was the “OMG we have cap space and have to use it” option. It worked out, but was it because of the talent involved or KP’s vision?
And exactly what was KP’s vision? He did a great job of stockpiling talent, but did he build a team? Did he build a group of guys who complimented each other and their coach? Look at Phoenix, they have a roster that is not as talented as Portland’s. But you want to know why it works? Because they compliment each other and the system. KP kind of dropped Andre Miller on Nate’s lap and said ‘make this work’. Look at the positions that have had logjams over the past couple years. Did he mold a clear rotation? No.
KP has had his chances to make this team right. He didn’t need another year to consolidate these assets into something. Year after year he had showed that he couldn’t turn all these trade assets into anything meaningful. Why not turn the job over to someone else? Why not let someone else guide this team? What more could KP have done?
Be thankful this whole mess is over. The worst part about all of this is not KP getting fired. He will bounce back. Blazer fans will be fine once Portland starts winning games, because winning is always the best elixir. It’s just a shame that Portland is left in such a vulnerable state at this time in the off-season. This is a team in the best trade market in a decade, with tons of assets, that has no GM to make any deals. It’s one thing to be unhappy because your GM isn’t making deals…but another to leave your team unable to make deals when they really need to.