For those who have not been following the New York Knicks since “Linsanity” faded away, the team has come under hard times. They had lost six in a row (till last night) and looked totally out of sync on the basketball court. They lost their cohesion that had existed for two weeks.
This loosing streak started just about the time Carmelo Anthony, Knicks superstar guard/forward, came back from his groin injury. The team that looked cohesive suddenly started playing like a bunch of “pick-up” street players.
When Anthony was healthy, the offense flowed through him and his first option was to shoot, so the team’s success clearly rested on his ability to score a lot. He is a scorer and that’s the role he is comfortable with. If the opposing team shut him down, then the team really struggled. The team was not winning with this style of play.
With injury to Anthony and other players, Coach D’Antoni, left with no alternatives, inserted Jeremy Lin (guard brought up from their development league) into the starting lineup. When the offense flowed through Lin, his first option was to pass, so other players got open shots or easy short baskets as the opposing team converged on Lin from penetrating to the basket. This is the offense Coach D’Antoni liked to play. Unfortunately, Anthony does not like to play this style of game.
This difference in the coaching style led to Coach D’Antoni resigning yesterday, since Anthony is a superstar and the management had made a big investment in getting him to New York. In basketball, superstar is more important than a coach.
This highlights a very important lesson in the corporate world. If you are going to bring in a superstar, make sure he gets to select the manager, since that relationship is very important for productivity and exceeding company’s objectives. If that relationship does not work, then lot of time and resources will be wasted and the company will fail to capitalize on opportunities.
We are living in a superstar world today. You have a very small window of opportunity to capitalize on opportunities and without a superstar, it is hard to win.
Is this an anomaly or have we seen this before?
Very few people remember this today, but Michael Jordan, the great Chicago Bulls superstar, had lot to do with Phil Jackson becoming the coach of the Chicago Bulls. When Jordan first joined the Bulls, the coach was Doug Collins and was fired after the team was eliminated in playoffs in his first year. Jordan did not feel comfortable playing in Collins’ system where the offense did not flow through Jordan.
That changed when Phil Jackson became the coach. Jordan became the superstar and ended up winning six championships.
So next time when you bring in a superstar on your team, don’t make him work with a manager he did not select, otherwise you will pay a very steep price.