Magic Johnson has been named the president of basketball operations. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have been relieved of their duties. Magic is coming with a great deal of positivity for the Lakes Franchise which may be short-lived. Although Magic is a legendary Laker he does not have the experience of running an entire team on such a macro scale.
Magic Johnson Lacks General Management Experience
The Lakers are hoping Magic Johnsons shows up like Joe Dumars rather than Phil Jackson. Joe Dumars was the general manager of the Detroit Pistons. Dumars made excellent trades and brought the pistons to prominence back in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Johnson is looking more and more like he will turn out like Phil Jackson in New York. Magic is a beloved former player and Phil was a beloved former coach. The similarities are striking where people thought Phil’s business experience and coaching experience would transfer into the operations realm. Phil Jackson never brought those zen master skills to the front office.
Magic Johnson seems to be in the same boat. Magic is a great business man, but Los Angeles is a different animal. As a result the minute he makes a mistake people will be calling for his head.
Magic Does Not Have Time For the Small Stuff
Johnson is a very busy man. Magic Johnson becoming the president of basketball operations is a 24 hour job. Magic still has multiple businesses to attend to and other commitments. Steve Kerr once a GM of the Phoenix Suns cited how he hated the long hours and grind of the everyday decisions.
Presidents and GM’s have to decide on the smallest things for a team. Presidents have to determine ticket prices, price of hot dogs and even make decisions regarding fan nights. Magic Johnson does not have enough time to be entrenched in the minutia of the small details.
Magic will not sit at home and watch 12 hours of film and go through overseas tape to understand the scouting report on a potential draft pick. Lakers need someone who is more than a figure head and more of a Bill Bellicheck on the grind daily.
Too Much Cache Can Be A Bad Thing
Magic Johnson comes into the organization with too much gravitas. Hence, there will rarely be a checks and balances scheme because people will naturally defer to Magic. Jeannie Buss will always side with Magic because she will trust his instincts over her own.
An organization does not have the ability to be successful if there is not checks and balances. Johnson just has too much juice for anyone else in the organization to dare question his decisions. Magic even had a short stint as a head coach in LA and that failed miserably because people were not willing to go against Johnson’s ideals.
Magic is going to be allowed to run amuck without strong peers to make certain he is making great decisions. The Lakers Organization would have faired better making Johnson a consultant. Lakers could have brought in some proven guys like a Sam Presti who would turn the organization around with subtle moves. Johnson comes in with a big personality and people expect big moves. Sometimes the smallest move proves to go the furthest.