Some of you are aware - some painfully aware - that fellow HR bloggers of note - Steve Boese, Lance Haun and Matt Stollak and I take an annual pilgrimage to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas every year. Our destination has a nerd quality to it, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players that play in the best hoops league in the world.
I always do a review via Instagram and give my opinion in July about what's going to happen, so I thought it would make sense to do a year-end performance review on 3 players, executives and organizations in the NBA that I featured earlier this year. View my original writing in July as a mid-year check in, and my additional comments as the formal performance review. You'll see I was wrong more than I was right, which is alarming, but also sounds about right.
Ready? Let's do this. (email subscribers click through for Instagram Photos)
Earlier Performance Check-In from Vegas in July - G-Rondo Was Last Year's Dante Exum, and It Doesn't Feel As Great This Year
What I Said Then- Pictured above is Dennis Schroder, a 20 year old drafted in 2013 by the Atlanta Hawks. Dennis is from Germany and was drafted in the first round by the Hawks based largely on a single positive performance in a US tourney/camp. He never played college basketball in the USA. We saw him last year and nicknamed him "G-Rondo" because he's a minuture version of Rajon Rondo of the Celtics.
G-Rondo is what Dante Exum looks like in year two when you're not sure the pick (or hire in your case) is going to work out. He was in the Hawks playing rotation last season until he famously punched a Kings player named Boogie Cousins in the nuts coming off a screen. The new Hawks management, which is basically a bunch of hires from the Spurs and professional in nature, froze him on the bench for the rest of the season.
I love the way he plays, but the Hawks have figured out he can't shoot, which is a problem in the NBA. He's got 2 years to figure it out (length of rookie contract).
Today's Performance Review - MEETS EXPECTATIONS - Dennis, you have recovered nicely. You've worked your way into the Hawks rotation, learned to move the ball, acted like your normal cat-like self and have controlled yourself - you haven't punched a single guy in the nuts all year long. Well done. You're so hot that you even got featured by Grantland, a rare accomplishment for someone coming off the bench.
Earlier Performance Check-In from Vegas in July - It's 8pm on a Friday Night in Vegas - Where Are You? (Danny Ferry)
What I Said Then - It's 8pm in Vegas on a Friday night, last loser's bracket game of NBA summer league. Guess who the guy at the top of the gym is? Danny Ferry, Hawks GM, Duke legend, former 1st overall pick. Grinding. Looking for a nugget...
I like Ferry. I work in Atlanta a lot, and he's basically trying to create a version of the Spurs organization in the ATL. The NBA Summer League is a huge social scene for the executives and people who work for the teams, and you can tell some things about the way people carry themselves. The Hawks didn't even play on Friday, yet here he is, trying to be alone and watch some meaningless game to see if there's a nugget/undervalued asset he can steal from someone.
Ferry drafted Dennis Schroder, by the way. So it's good to see him looking for value.
Performance Review - DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS - Danny, Danny, Danny. You built this team that's sitting in 2nd or 3rd place in their conference without a superstar. Well done. But it matters how you got the results. You famously got caught on tape making comments that could easily be viewed as racist, and as a result, you're on paid leave. Where are you? I haven't seen you around the office for a bit. We love what you did, but there's no way you an meet expectations given the circumstances. Sad. Are you on a beach or watching high school games to feed your basketball jones? I hope the latter.
Earlier Performance Check-In from Vegas in July - Four Years in College? That Guy Has to Suck (Adrian Payne)
What I Said Then - This picture above is Adrian Payne, recently drafted rookie of the Atlanta Hawks we watched a couple of times at the NBA Summer League.
He stayed at Michigan State for 4 years and saw his draft stock stall or fall because that's what the talent system in the NBA does. If he stays healthy, he'll have a better career than at least half of those drafted before him, most of whom played 1 year in college.
He can shoot the 3, has size (6'10") and seems to get it in all aspects. He was drafted in basically the same position as G-Rondo. Hmmm. Maybe that's Ferry creating a learning organization.
Performance Review - DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS - Dude, our team is built for you - we love to space the floor and jack up 3's. Yet you haven't seen the court yet this season. I'm still high on you, but you've got work to do.
That's it. Be sure to include "jack up 3's" in at least one performance review you do this month.