From the FanPosts. Good Friday afternoon topic. -Joel
Having moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles four years ago, I have slowly started to become a Laker fan. As such I am starting to (almost grudgingly) follow the NBA. As a fan who no longer lives in Kansas City, sites like AP are a godsend, keeping people out of town abreast of what's going on with the team, nearly in real time.
I can't imagine what fandom of an out of town team would have been like prior to the internet.
So it's been interesting over the past couple of weeks to watch the train wreck involving LeBron James' decision to leave Cleveland and look at how starkly contrasting the way a lousy team like the Clipper operates with the way Scott Pioli is directing the Chiefs.
Pioli arrived in Kansas City with a blueprint for winning that had proved extremely successful in New England. And since his arrival in Kansas City 18 months ago, Pioli has gone about methodically implementing his plan. The element of the plan that has probably been most discussed on AP has been the concept of the "Right 53." Pioli believes to his core that championship teams are made of 53 guys who work hard and play the game the right way -- guys who want to win. Pioli has been very steadfast in that regard and his 2010 draft class is pretty much a carbon copy of that philosophy.
Time will soon tell us if he's right or not. Recent history tells us he is. I think the 2009 season was very hard for Pioli and Todd Haley to endure -- losing seasons suck. But they resisted the urge to be a flash in the pan, one season turnaround team and build for the future.
Which brings me to the Clippers, one of the worst organizations in the NBA. And the NBA is BizarroWorld. The Clips seem to want to do everything the opposite of what Lakers owner Jerry Buss would do.
The Clippers fired the head coach/GM Mike Dunleavy mid-season last year. The team had months to plan their future and hire a head coach. No coach was hired until a few days ago. They went into the draft selecting their future players without knowing who would be coaching them. Then they jumped into the LeBron derby, again not knowing who their coach would be.
How is that possible? How can you choose players if you don't know who's going to be coaching them? How can you pitch your organization to a player when you don't know who will be leading it?
One of the qualities Pioli has described about being one of the "Right 53" is responding to the way the coach coaches. Pioli hired Todd Haley and now must gather players who will respond to the way Haley coaches (ie no thin-skinned p----s). How in the hell can you possibly assemble your roster without knowing who's going to be coaching them? It's as if people feel coaching doesn't matter and after living through the Herm era I would imagine most Chiefs fans would argue that coaching is extremely important. It's as if people don't think an organization need to be, you know, organized -- to have a set philosophy for success that guides your decision-making.
This is my point: I've watched the LeBron derby over the past few days (it was embarrassing) and it really made me feel that much more strongly that the Chiefs are now in the best possible hands. Bad teams like the Clippers flop around like a fish out of water. They let the inmates run the asylum.
There is a feeling coming off the Chiefs organization now that is solid and organized. That Pioli has a plan and he is going to move forward with it. I really believe that in a couple of years (I don't think the Chiefs will be a playoff team in 2010 but will be a force in 2011) the Chiefs will be regarded as a model franchise in the NFL.