uptempo wrote:Gotta love revisionist history...
How many times during the Mullin tenure did the Warriors make the playoffs?
Revisionist history, indeed. I'm not so sure I'm the one instigating it, but nevertheless lets get started:
Chris Mullin - as the Vice President of Basketball Operations - fielded a playoff team once in a four year span of time. The team he inherited had mortgaged away many of their draft picks through dud trades, was saddled with bad long-term contracts, and was handicapped by a reputation that had been established 15 years prior to his hiring - this reputation is relevant because it effected the way premiere coaches and players viewed coming to this franchise; we've already seen what a good reputation can get you in terms of a bargain contract with Andre Iguodala... this was not the same environment gifted to Chris Mullin.
I'm sure these are all things you'll brush under the rug via a "business as usual" approach, but I believe understanding the chaotic state the Golden State franchise was in is essential in evaluating how Chris Mullin handled his job. He did not start at square one, like most GMs; Mullin had to field a team from square negative-30, so to speak. In that sense, Mullin accomplished a great deal simply by making the Warrior franchise relevant again.
To put your question into context, there have been 2 men in upper management that have gotten the Warriors to the playoffs in the past 20+ years: Chris Mullin was the first and Bob Myers is the second. Both did well with what they were given.
uptempo wrote:Was Mulling given free reign to fire and hire coaches when he came aboard (Musselman, Monty, Nelson)?
He was; the key part of your statement being "when he came aboard
." His reach was substantially lessened in his later years at the helm and I do not place nearly as much blame for Don Nelson's laughable resign on Mullin as I do then-team president, Robert Rowell - whom, as you'll recall, had to give the OK on any moves Chris Mullin made.
While hindsight bias tells us that Mike Montgomery was a poor choice for head coach who ultimately looked in-over-his-head, his hiring was not unlike Jim Harbaugh's recent stint with the 49ers. Montgomery seemed like a local coaching prospect who was primed to make it in the big time. At the moment of his hiring, Monty's resume read as such:
- He was 303 games over .500 in 18 seasons at Stanford and 8 seasons at Montana (547-244).
- 25 of his 26 head coaching seasons resulted in a winning record.
- In 1998, Monty broke a 56-year drought by coaching Stanford to the Final Four.
- By 2002, he had been on Team USA's coaching staff 3 times.
- He was awarded the Pac-10 Coach of the Year 4 times.
- In 2000, he was the Naismith and Basketball Times Head Coach of the Year.
- Upon leaving Stanford for Golden State, Montgomery was awarded the John Wooden Lifetime Achievement Award.
While I'm perfectly amenable in calling Montgomery's stint as Warriors head coach a failure, it certainly was not a bone-headed move for Chris Mullin to sign him to a meager 4-year deal in the bottom 3rd of coach's pay per season. All indications pointed toward Montgomery being a stand-out coach, based on his resume at the collegiate level.
To parade around the hiring of Montgomery as an obvious failure from the start is spin doctor history. Most of us looked forward to seeing what Montgomery could do on a pro stage at the time. It's easy to call a spade a spade in hindsight. Based on his merits, it was reasonable for Mullin to hire him at the time.
I'm also not offended by the firing of Eric Musselman to accommodate Montgomery. What exactly has Musselman accomplished since then that's made his firing such a mistake?
uptempo wrote:Did Mullin have free reign to re-sign free agents (Foyle)?
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the Warriors came with a stigma in those days. Marquee players were not going to come to this franchise. It was looked upon as a doormat and no amount of money Mullin threw around could change that.
You have to overpay someone to break the cycle. We saw such in giving David Lee $80 million. The Knicks did the same with Amar'e. Both teams have since become marquee free agent destinations because those players changed the culture of basketball in their markets and created an atmosphere of winning.
Mullin tried to acquire players that would create a winning culture. Derek Fisher was certainly one.
Mullin also tried to sign players with hard work ethics who could be model citizens for his draft picks to emulate. Corey Maggette was that guy.
But, again, Robert Rowell oversaw anything that began in a dollar sign.
Mullin may have had better players on call for more cash, but we'll never know because Rowell was known to veto many of Mullin's moves.
uptempo wrote:Did Mullin have the authority to make trades (Davis, Jackson, Harrington (really good moves, btw))?
He did, but again, Rowell had the final say in any trade.
Why did Rowell okay the Indiana-Golden State deal? Because we cut salary.
At the time, Ike Diogu was coveted by Indiana's GM (Larry Bird) and the Pacers were willing to part with immediate talent on cheaper deals (Jackson, Harrington) for worse contracts (Dunleavy, Murphy) and - what they believed to be - a stud prospect in Diogu. Keith McLeod, Josh Powell, and Cabbage were mere stocking stuffers in this deal.
Why did Rowell okay the Baron Davis for Dale Davis deal? Because it cost them less money on an immediate basis. The Warriors were by no means over the cap, but teams have a minimum salary that must be met and acquiring Davis for Dale and Speedy's expiring contracts ensured the Warriors had more than merely rookie contracts on their roster the following season.
The bottom line is this: Chris Mullin turned a laughable doormat into the league's most exciting playoff team before he was removed from power. That deserves praise.