“Munsdays”: A JBL GM Diary: Week 3
- By Jeremy Munson, Day 1, 2025
In an effort to keep the series going with some halfway decent content, I switched up the format a bit this week. While we are all patiently waiting (some much better than others) for the commish to finish up some upgrades that he wants to do on the engine, I reached out to the newer GM’s in the league (3 years and under) to get their thoughts and perspectives on what it was like for them when they first started in the JBL.
I asked each GM the same five questions, and then one specific team question with the intention that their answers would provide some more things a new GM might think about when first starting out. Thanks to Billy, Bisbo, DG, Austin, Michael, JComey, Dunkem, Kyle and Homer for taking time out and participating.
1. Thinking back to your first season, what was the biggest lesson you learned, and what advice would you give to a new guy trying to avoid that lesson?
Billy- Blizzards- The biggest mistake I made in the first season was to not really delve into the world of scouting. I don't know whether I was overwhelmed just trying to put the league all together in my head at the time, but I remember really have a slack effort into my first real draft. We ended up with pick number 3, and we ended up with Donovan Mobley. In hindsight now, I definitely made the right call but at the time I doubted my decision and that was due to the fact I didn't study the college players enough.
Bisbo- Colonels- Limit your moves, I think I made too many of them my first season.
DG- Charlotte- I think like most new GM’s, I just tried to jump in and see how things panned out. I wouldn’t necessarily say I learned a key lesson but I would think the #1 priority needs to be centered around understanding your team first and foremost. From there you can start to make decisions on how you want to align future moves to your personal preferences on how to construct a team. A little bit of this will depend on when you joined as well. For instance, I joined in the offseason and had to judge everything based on what stats I could see without knowing how the team played, how players were utilized etc. Had I joined during the season where games were being played, I likely would have made some different maneuvers.
Austin- JailBirds- I really don’t think I’ve learned a lesson the hard way so to speak. But to give some general advice: The best advice I could give to a new GM is to take a very close look at the landscape of the league, and your team, and determine your path before you do anything. I took over a Jailbirds team that was 51-31, that lost in the 1st round of the playoffs as a 5 seed. I had a much better Keydren Carter, Jason Cheaney, and Dameon Clarke as a big three, but not much else outside of a young, raw Rasheed Stone. Many teams approached me about my top players and said I should “blow it up” and I “would have the assets for a great rebuild if I dealt …”The Jailbirds had one of the worst benches out of any playoff team, but I felt our star power and a few changes would allow us to compete. So, I decided my path and drafted Antoine Willis and signed Myree Billings on the MLE. We finished with an unexpected 60 wins, and have continued to build on our first season success.
Michael - LV Scorpions- The biggest lesson learned is that there is a reason you are the new GM for whatever team you get. Something is wrong there. You need to identify what that reason is and come up with a plan on how to solve it.
Jcomey-KC- You need to figure out who you are, what you want to be, and what the road is to get there...and that you won’t get there right away. When I took over the Knights, I saw that I have a generational piece, and another piece that was an All-Star who was becoming an All-JBL talent. I also had some okay complimentary pieces. After a first-round playoff exit in a season where we won almost sixty games, I knew we were not going to win a title with this current group. But how did I want to build? What did I need? What decisions did I have to make? What were my limitations? I had to answer these questions. I answered the first one, building around the generational piece. But the rest? Well, I had one plan for that. And I collected a lot of assets. But the first domino of that rebuild was taken off the board before I could build, and I didn’t exactly recover. So, I needed to have a plan, but also contingency plans. I wandered aimlessly for a season or two while I figured it out. My current plan isn’t complete, either. But it does jive with my overall idea of my organization and how it should be structured.
dunkem – Tritons- Just as there's a fog of war with ratings now, there's a fog of war as a newbie. You have theories on how things should work, but it becomes a trial and error. Veterans have an advantage in that aspect since they've already picked up on those things. Trying to avoid the lesson? I guess, identify potential blind spots and maybe get a feel for it beforehand. Ask questions and anticipate. Things are vastly different now from when I first game in. We didn’t have ratings to evaluate. Everything was by the subjective description. I relied on stats, but later realized key words tipped off particular strengths. There were other aspects that I flew completely blind at likely determining a player’s defensive ability. With no ratings and the descriptors, it was difficult to figure out if the descriptors meant that the player was good at D or bad at it. Now with a bunch of ratings, it’s much easier to determine if someone is a decent defender or not.
For example, Karacic was signed to a minimum my first year. He had no defensive descriptors, but had the physical attributes. He did well for me offensively, but my results started to show that when he was in the game, my defense seemed to suffer. I suspected it, but I couldn’t determine if it was his ability and to what extent. Only in the following year when ratings came out did I confirm that his defense was truly crap. Trial and error can sometimes be your friend.
My first draft was also trial and error. I drafted three decent players in the second round. Later, I found out that height and wingspan played a factor and that those guys were undersized at those positions. I signed Nikica Jankovic as an athletic defensive point guard. He was even described as a 3 and D guy at one point. Now he’s still a talented undersized point guard with an E defensive rating due to his size and wingspan. Sometimes what you don’t know, you don’t know. So, try to ask questions and figure things out before possibly making a wrong assumption like I did.
Kyle – Lightning- Biggest lesson I learned was that it's hard to get a good grasp of what the ratings tell you. I have had players with B ratings or higher in scoring and been unable to score effectively, where I've had scorers with ratings of C who have been much better scoring. In most games, we've been beholden to ratings being the only measure. This is only part of the total picture. It would be best to wait out a season before doing anything drastic, but that's not ideal with the league progressing all the time.
Homer - OKC Barons- The biggest lesson I learned is one that our esteemed commish tried to relay to me when I first joined in the midst of free agency. And that advice was "Go big or go home". If you have someone targeted in free agency and you really want them, get aggressive on the offers and get them in early. Don't get cute and try to save a few bucks - there will be opportunities to find deals and bargains later.
2. Being new what did you see/ feel were your biggest obstacle coming into the league?
Billy- Blizzards- The biggest obstacle coming in was just learning everything and trying not to be annoying by asking lots of questions. I really did ask a lot of questions, and probably am annoying but the community in the JBL is the friendliest I've encountered. It really took me a long while just to get around the basics, finding the right pages, how to draft, trying to scout etc. It all took a while for it to feel normal.
Bisbo- Colonels- Just trying to get up to speed. So much to learn - the FA, salary cap and trade rules, how the game simulation works, who the players and GMs are, etc. It really was quite overwhelming for me. Keeping up with the Slack channel is very important as a good way to get immersed in the league, but if you miss a day or two, it will take you forever to catch up. However, the Commish and many GMs were very helpful in the process.
DG- Charlotte- The amount of data available to analyze. There is just a lot to dive into which isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually one of the things I like most about the JBL but there is a lot of it.
Austin- JailBirds- The largest obstacle was understanding the intricacies of the league. There was a lot of information, but I loved diving in. There’s also a massive player universe that you need to understand and much as you need to understand your team, it’s important to understand your opponents and how they play. Another obstacle was learning player trade value, which obviously comes with learning the players and teams. Look at previous trades and be active in Slack to see how GM’s respond to current trades. Listen to our podcasts and see how league veterans view the moves; soon you’ll know what good value is.
Michael - LV Scorpions- The biggest obstacle coming into the league is just not being able to grasp everything at once. It's hard to pick up on every nuance of the league. I think each new GM has their own unique situation. I inherited a team that was 3-6 and shouldn't have been with the talent they had. So, I had to figure out how to win before having to figure out how to solve other problems I saw coming down the road.
Jcomey-KC- Data overload, easily. It still intimidates me. I gain a lot of enjoyment in my leagues by writing and producing things for people to enjoy. I like providing a bit of a fourth wall. I was able to write in my first season, when I was able to more immerse myself into things. But this last season, when some things changed in my life, and I didn’t have as much time, I barely wrote. I couldn’t sift through all the data and attempt to make sense of it in a while that I felt would live up to my standards.
dunkem – Tritons- The biggest obstacle was that I was unfamiliar with the players. I had to rely on stats and then formulate a theory on their game style and strengths based on the descriptions. Veterans had the edge because they were familiar with these players over the years. I don’t have a great memory nor did I have the historical comfort with the players so to me, they were just names and stats. These days, there are more ratings to give you a better idea of what a player’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Kyle – Lightning- You learn by trying. That's not bad, but there are experienced GMs in the league that also know this and one mistake can take seasons to rectify. It's not like a sim that you play at home, where you can go at your own pace and take time off as needed. The game is always moving, day by day. You need to learn to swim fast.
Homer - OKC Barons- Convincing my wife that spending 4 hours a day on JBL wasn't "a giant waste of time". if/when pBp logs or the ability to "watch" a game comes down the pipe, I'm screwed. In all seriousness, probably the hardest part for me has been (and still is) determining a player's trade value. I've had conversations with other GM's where it feels like we're speaking Sputnik. I'm guessing that ability to more accurately gauge that value comes with time.
3. Within your time as a GM what was your “I wish I knew then what I know now moment?”
Billy- Blizzards- That's a tough one and I really don't think I've had any of those moments so far. I inherited a team that was young and not performing and not much has changed in terms of results but we haven't gone backwards. I would have taken mentorship for players more seriously in my original seasons though.
Bisbo- Colonels- Probably just how all the pieces of a team fit together. You really can’t formulate an effective plan for the future until you have a good grasp of your players, of the different offensive schemes, of the trade market, and the financial angles. But that’s part of the learning process, and it was fun to figure things out and see how things work.
DG- Charlotte- Good question. The only “I wish I had that back” moment thus far was when I traded away Carst in 2023. I totally overlooked the fact that the salary floor was calculated at the end of the season and not at the end of FA. Now this didn’t ultimately hurt me as the loss in cap space was not an impact going into the 2024 FA; however, it was certainly an oops moment.
Austin- JailBirds- I wish I knew I wasn’t going to win championships so I could have had a better yield on trading guys. I’ve always felt we were close but have fallen short. I’m not completely sure I would do it differently but trading future firsts then losing kind of stings and maximizing the timeline on trading guys like Dameon Clarke and Keydren Carter would have helped my team more in the long run. My focus has always been on being competitive. We’ve averaged 60 wins over the last 3 seasons so I guess I can’t complain.
Michael - LV Scorpions- I wish I knew just how many free agents would be interested in my team. I wouldn't have offered out the team extensions. As I saw it, we were a team on the way down. Our record was worse than the year before. We are listed as being in a small market size with low fan loyalty. I figured it would be smart to keep the guys I had on the roster because no one would want to join that situation. I was horrifically wrong according to the free agency list with regards to how players felt about us.
Jcomey-KC- In all honesty, I’m not sure I can answer that question. I would say anything financial, but I still ask Jason about that stuff, because I feel clueless. I have some creative ways of coaching and building a roster, and have managed to be creative in some trades. I guess, if I could say one thing, it would be how quickly the league turns over, in terms of how teams rise and fall, and how you can roll with the times. There are still some theories I’m testing out, but those will take time. Things did change with the advent of offensive systems, which were introduced in my third season. That totally changed how to build a roster and make things fit (in my opinion). So, anything I feel like I could have learned didn’t exactly get thrown out the window, but the game totally changed. OH! I do know what I wish I realized then. I wish I realized the breakdown of drafts, and how difficult it is to build that way if you have picks in the second half of the first round. If you need to find difference makers, you need to figure out ways to get the best pick you can. You can be a great judge of talent, but a lot of guys in the league are. You can’t hope, let alone expect, someone to fall through the cracks. If you want someone, go get them.
dunkem – Tritons- I wish I knew the general extent of deterioration and transition for players at different stages in their career. I signed a guy Zeke Boreczky to a long-term deal with a player option when he was 31. At 32, during his first training camp with me, he regressed significantly. I expected regression, but not significantly at 32. Had I known that some players fall of the chart at 32, it would have changed my approach with general starter/role players. Star players can maintain their levels, but role players, not so much. Likewise, I did not know that college ratings would not translate as significantly. During this season, the ratings hit was softer so players seem to maintain their rating similarity, but prior to this, full grade decreases in multiple areas were not uncommon.
Kyle – Lightning- In trading, swapping seconds aren't necessarily a wash. Looking back, I helped GM's get rid of a player to save money and swapped my second rounder. My second ended up being a high one and the one I received ended up being 20 spots lower. So not only did I help someone out, I lost out on draft position. Sure, a second rounder isn't that important, but there is usually more playable depth in the 30's than there are in the 50s.
Homer - OKC Barons- As an IT professional (loose term wording), it emasculates me daily to see what the commish accomplishes. And what other GMs are able to do with graphs, charts, etc. To know that I am this replicable in the workforce, I should have gone into the sports apparel business.
4. If you could go back in time, and get a do-over on anything you have done league wise, what would it be and why?
Billy- Blizzards- There hasn't been anything major, but one thing I have learned is probably to keep my cards closer to my chest come draft time. I've been pretty open and honest about my targets and it probably wouldn't have changed much, but it's possible Minneapolis would have one or two different players on the roster.
Bisbo- Colonels- First, I think I would not have extended Uman Akele’s contract for 2 years at $20 million/year. I think he was a restricted free agent coming off his rookie contract, so the better play probably would have been to see what other teams offered him and then matched the offer. Probably would have saved me some money, but not all that much. Second, I probably wouldn’t have traded Randall Dozier for Keemar Campbell and the Lumberjacks 2027 1st round pick. I had two solid forwards in Benjamin and Akele, and was looking to acquire some future assets, so I thought it made sense. But Dozier has great potential, and the Jacks’ pick likely will be late first round. Campbell doesn’t really fit the offensive system I decided works best for the team, so he’s gone.
DG- Charlotte- Find out about the JBL earlier. If I had to do anything over with, I might have gone with my gut and selected Zion Jeffries over RW II, but I was brand new and went with the status quo pick based on all the mock drafts and podcasts I had a chance to listen to up until that point.
Austin- JailBirds- This is the easiest question but it’s not something I did, rather something I didn’t. Jevon Novak. Jevon went for a future 1st and I had thought it was a steal. I had wished I had gotten in on that trade. Novak and Cheaney wouldn’t be the best of fit, but it’s a duo I dreamed about for a little.
Michael - LV Scorpions- I'm unsure on this one but I might have waited until this season to experiment with offenses/lineups. We were going to be the 6 seed when I decided to play around too much down the stretch and we fell to the 8th seed. I don't think we would have won the Western Conference title but at the same time, it may have been our last shot at going deep in the playoffs for a few seasons.
Jcomey-KC- Unsure. I didn’t handle the draft where I partially blew it all up entirely well. I took quantity over potential quality. That works in photography, but not necessarily in drafts. I also leaned too heavily on the workouts, which is fine as a piece of the puzzle. But I drafted kind of out of need, but more so with Best Player Available. There are at least two picks I wish I had back as a result of that.
dunkem – Tritons- For me, I’d have gotten more out of the Simon Hartford trade in 2022 by waiting until the trade deadline. People tend to lose their minds at the trade deadline and I didn’t know that in my first year. I was so fixated on getting rid of Hartford’s 25 million salary that I settled and even threw in a first rounder for Jack Donlon, Rahsaan Hayes, and Aaron Gayle and two second rounders. At that time, ratings were not available so I based the decision on stats and the qualitative descriptors. Hayes never really meshed, Gayle, I didn’t want to sign to a large contract and let him go in free agency, and Donlon has been doing okay. Even turning down Hayes’ option was a mistake since I could’ve flipped him for something, but I didn’t want to risk another 7.2 million for him with mediocre results.
Kyle – Lightning- I wish I would have been a little less reactive to things. I should have retooled my team around Clarkson and not gone into a total rebuild with what I had. Once things went south, I just rebuilt everything. I love the draft, but having a terrible team for any sort of period isn't very interesting and the season can stretch out and get dull.
Homer - OKC Barons- Stopped pulling weeds considerably sooner than I actually did on the day of the 2025 JBL Draft so I would have been able to participate in it live. Like I laid out in my" target="_blank" title="http://jblfl.com/articles?id=1185">my">http://jblfl.com/articles?id=1185">my article, me being back broke and drunk had some considerable repercussions for the OKC franchise.
5. What would be your biggest tip that you would offer to new Gm’s based off your own recent experience of being a new gm?
Billy- Blizzards- The biggest tip I could give would be to get active on slack. There is so much banter, the commish is always active. Sometime you can blink and miss stuff in this league it moves so fast it helps to be up to date. Also asking questions on slack, even asking them out loud in the group channel you will get some good feedback most times unless everyone is distracted by something else!
Bisbo- Colonels- Take your time and limit your moves in your first season. You learn so much playing through your first year. It’s best to resist the temptation to “do something” and hold your fire for a season. You’ll avoid some mistakes and be better prepared in Year 2.
DG- Charlotte- I’d look into the shot locations tab for each player on your roster to make sure their shot % breakdown is where you want it to be and you don’t have a 20% 3PT shooter launching 50% of their shots from downtown as an example.
Austin- JailBirds- I think it seems silly to say but invest in your idea of “Insert Team” basketball. Develop your system / philosophy and build one piece at a time whether that’s through the draft or via trade. When I joined the league, I decided from Point Guard to Center the skills I wanted in those players and how I wanted them to play in a system. Sure, you can start by taking your best player available and molding the team around them but I think it’s more fun to build something that you like from top to bottom. Don’t be afraid to be bold and go after what you want to build. I think RKG in Pittsburgh has gotten some flak for trading a billion first round picks for a guy who would have likely been available one spot lower, but that was his guy and who he envisions in his team’s uniform for a very long time.
Michael - LV Scorpions- Have a plan and try to stick to it. Also have a backup plan to that original plan because odds are that original plan is going to be wrong.
Jcomey-KC- Let your team show you who they are. And let the steps come as they may, and how you should place your focus once you broaden yourself from your team towards the rest of the league. Also, don’t let the scope of the league intimidate you.
dunkem – Tritons- Don’t just rely on opinions from guys in the channel, on podcasts, or articles. Listen as a fan, not as a GM. I love all the content and for the most part, people are giving honest opinions, however, in the end, they are not totally impartial. A lot of information is straight and informative, while others may be trying to push an ulterior motive. It may be to deflect, spotlight, overvalue, or devalue players. Some guys are great salesmen and some guys convince people for a living. Stuff may be 80% an honest opinion and 20% planting seeds for future moves. It’s a matter of taking it all with a grain of salt and determining which is which so that you can make an informed decision regarding what you might be looking to do.
Kyle – Lightning- I didn't concern myself with trying to learn everything about each team. The podcasts helped, but I feel more secure with the younger players via the draft scouting. I know a lot of the superstars but a lot of them I couldn't tell you what team they played for or vice versa. It'll come as you stay in the league.
Homer - OKC Barons- Get loaded up into the Slack channel and just learn. About the history, the players, the GMs - all of it. It's an amazing world.
6. This past free agency period you inked star PF Donovan Galloway to a 17 million 3-year deal. Can you walk us through your thought process on how you played this, and how nerve racking was it for you to watch it all play out?
Billy- Blizzards- Even though Galloway was RFA from what I've learned in free agency it's better to go hard early and that's what we did. I was lucky that there were a few other UFA's around but I still wanted to give Galloway what he was asking for, but we did add an extra year. It was still pretty nervous watching others sign earlier, even though we had the rights to match. In the end we are pretty happy with the deal and hopefully he continues his good form in our system.
6. You have had an aging veteran on your team in Tyson Kuberka that commands a hefty salary. Can you walk us through your thought process on keeping him vs. trading him, and how difficult was trying to offload him if you tried?
Bisbo- Colonels- When I took over the team, Kuberka had been suspended for bringing a gun into the locker room. While very talented, he’s also disruptive and a ‘me first’ point guard. Also, Uman Akele, one of the guys I’m building around, doesn’t get along with him. I definitely wanted to trade him, and made that fact well known. But he’s old, carries $47 million in salary exposure, and could destroy a team’s locker room. So, there weren’t a lot of folks who wanted him. I ended up playing him after the suspension was lifted, and he led the team in scoring, so he’s still got plenty of gas left in the tank. Still more than willing to trade him, but there’s been no interest. He definitely could help a contender over the top. I think some GMs are hoping I’ll cut him so they can sign him for an amount well below his current salary. They can all go to hell. He’ll remain a Colonel until the end of the year, and then he’s gone.
6. You were a new GM and landed the overall number 1 pick in a draft. Walk us through your thought process on trading down from that spot and would you do it all over again? Or would you do something different?
DG- Charlotte- The Drones had won 21 and 15 games total the previous two seasons and had a rookie PG who basically sat on the bench to waste behind Joe Layton. Getting the #1 pick was not going to help us in the long-term as we had a lot of holes to fill so it was all about asset attainment. If I had to do it over again, I should have traded for more future picks as the amount of scouting I had available to me for 2023 was minimal compared to the last two drafts I’ve been around for.
6. You recently just traded away All Star Keydren Carter to Pittsburgh. You are on record as saying “continuity and chemistry of the organization was more important” in the past. Can you explain why you thought chemistry and continuity was so important, and why now was the time to change your thought process?
Austin- JailBirds- One of the intricacies of the league that I buy into is team chemistry. I was fortunate enough to have some really solid chemistry when I became the GM of the Jailbirds. There is value in keeping players together, especially if they have positive relationships as mine did. To explain why I changed my mind on trading Carter you almost need to understand a little of my history in basketball simulations. Early on in my NBA2K MyGM career I had a downside of falling in love with players and keeping them longer than I should out of loyalty. This generally hurt my team’s chances of winning. I always loved having a player retire with my team, especially if they were a star. I’m a loyal GM, but there always going to be business decisions. The Carter trade was one that I could not walk away from. I loved having him and Cheaney as a dynamic duo for almost a decade, but after losing in back-to-back game 7’s in the conference finals an aging Carter wasn’t going to help me get over the hump. The value of getting a likely lottery pick for an aging Carter was too sweet to pass, even if it was bittersweet.
6. You took over a team that had salary/cap problems and then started to address said problems on the trade market. Walk us through what you did, and what advice might you give for a new guy looking to make deals based on your experience?
Michael - LV Scorpions- I believe when I took over, we were at 105-106 in salaries on the books for the season. We also had no draft picks. Not having an MLE to worry about should have had me concerned about just getting below 100k but 95 was the goal I set for myself as I didn't want to "blow it up". So, I identified 2 players that had to stay (Franchise and Grant) and the goal was to lower salary with every trade and get a pick if possible, by giving a little. So, every trade had me looking at what I was losing in pts/defense but gaining in salary relief/picks. Time will tell if I made the right decisions but I felt good about most of the moves with a running calculator to have a 13 man roster below 95 million to start the season.
6. This offseason was certainly a process for you. With the free agents you wanted to bring back, on top of the trade you made last season. Walk us through your thoughts and why you went the route you ended up going.
Jcomey-KC- I identified one player (Derrick Griffin) as the perfect complement for Kelvin Hawes and Matt Mueller. Once Mueller showed himself as worthy of being the current and future point guard, and Ari Ajayi (a player who projects as a great two-way guard) fell in my lap, I knew I would go after Griffin in the offseason.
Then I saw that Murray was looking to move Griffin (when we had talked, he was going to hold onto him; something shifted. And I realized I could go get him, which I had to do. I identified Griffin as the guy who I need to have next to Hawes, as I build a team that is defense first (and if you see my team, you’ll see that identify shine through). So, we got Griffin, using the assets we compiled from moving Aaron Honeycutt. It was necessary, because while I felt like we could build a winner the way I was going, I also felt like Hawes would be 29-30 by then. I needed to capitalize on Hawes’ prime, which is now. And Griffin does that. I do believe that Mueller and Ajayi fit into that window, because they are going to be good sooner than later, and are already good defenders. And Juan Maurice is the perfect post complement for this team (something that I think he’s proven over his career). Then came the Black trade, which came out of nowhere. That made sense for the team construct, though it did present another problem that we would tie ourselves to him.
Still, he was an improvement for our team over what Shandon James was bringing overall. As a result, it made sense to go get him. This team is built in the image of Hawes. We are deliberate, defense-first, and inside-out on offense. The key here is that we found some shooters to put around Hawes. Mueller, Ajayi, and Griffin can all shoot. (Griffin has allegedly gotten much better in the offseason, so we’ll see). Maurice doesn’t need the ball. Black can do his thing. Dujmovic (who will likely rise to the starting five this year) can shoot from the outside.
So, I’m not worried about the spacing. We have depth, more than most teams. The biggest thing about all of this is...we know who we are for the next two seasons. Every single piece of this team is under team control through 2026. That provides us with surprising flexibility. We have the ability to provide cohesion and chemistry, and let this team grow. If they don’t, we have very attractive expiring contracts. Hawes has four years of team control, and if it does become necessary to blow it up, his contract is coveted. We have certainty, and we have the ability to get out. So, from that standpoint, I am very pleased.
This isn’t the perfect team, of course. But we do have the right makeup and right blend of what I want. It is built, for the most part, how I want it. And it started with, quite honestly, the Ajayi deal. Being able to get him (someone I wanted from the outset), and the ability to get Griffin, put things into motion. Without Ajayi, the Blackdeal doesn’t happen, and our post rotation is not as complete. The Griffin deal does not check out as well for us. So, that somewhat small move really put everything together.
6. The past 3 seasons has been met with varying degrees of success for you. A playoff appearance, and then back to back fifth place finishes within the division. As noted, you are in a rough division but are holding your own hovering right around 500. How do you get your team over that hump and back into playoff contention?
dunkem – Tritons- My approach this year is to establish a baseline. Last year, I had new players, a new coach, a new engine, and a new philosophy (post centric vs. pace/space). I also came off a huge trade of Antoine Peeler who I had just signed as a franchise player because he had a conflict with Kai Navigato. It was enough of a conflict that it appeared as a public conflict so I decided one of them had to go. My leader couldn’t get along with another player. What kind of franchise player was that? Since my franchise player couldn’t get his shit together and lead, I traded him for a bunch of picks, a declining hall of famer in Demetric Vaughn and a solid defender in Reggie Burke.
This year, I sought to keep my lineup more or less in tact to see how the players performed with cohesion and familiarity with the philosophy. I would say that the teams with the most success last year had a bit more continuity and cohesion with their lineup and may not have diverted from their coach and philosophy drastically. This year, hopefully everything is on a more even playing field and I’ll be able to determine how effective my team truly is with the current personnel. Once that is established, I can possibly make appropriate changes to address our weaknesses. I felt we had a fairly good second half of the season so I’m hoping that we can continue that with improvements over the season and training camp.
6. You might have had one of the toughest choices to make in recent years with the trading of all everything and future hall of famer Dontay Sowder. Can you walk us through your thought process and where the team was when you were deciding on what and how you were going to make this trade?
Kyle – Lightning- I got the impression that Sowder wasn't going to stick around and nobody was really interested in him other than the Thunder. It wasn't a hard decision to make. I wish I could have gotten the second overall though. Hall and Tarver were talented for sure, but I had no idea if they fit or what to do with them. And I chose Hood over Tarver and Tarver is much better, so that was wrong too.
6. You recently signed Isiah Harris in free agency to a 12.5 million, 2+1-year deal. Can you walk us through your thoughts as the price kept going up, and why you chose to stay in the bidding war that eventually led him back to you?
Homer - OKC Barons- I think Harris is a rare gem that the rest of the idiotic JBL GM's don't fully appreciate because he isn't a beautifully cut diamond. He's more like a nice-looking ruby, or at worst a premium sapphire. Honestly, I was afraid that someone would look at his productivity and offer him early. Yes, he has some defensive limitations, but his advanced stats showed that he was a little better individually than we are as a collective unit. So, when no one bid early and I was the only one on him, I was thrilled. But apparently Harris has Scott Boras as his agent and he waited the FA process out. I was prepared to show Harris the money and lock him for a few years, but $12.5M is admittedly at the tip-top of the range I wanted to be at. But with Roy Ellington's return to the team a question mark next year, I wanted, at the minimum, to have a solid backup plan and Harris is it.
7. How do you feel about 3 of your players having deep Arkansas connections with two of them attending Arkansas, and then your first-round draft choice Adam Vanderberg being born there?
Homer - OKC Barons- It honestly troubles me deeply. Our offseason team building spelling contests rarely went past Round 2.
As you can see there are plenty of opinions on what a new GM should be looking at based off their own experiences. This isn’t meant to be an end all be all in what you should or shouldn’t do, but as a place to look, learn, and evaluate before pulling the trigger on something you might be thinking about doing. As always, this is meant to be a fun but the JBL is a competitive place.
If you aren’t sure about something, just ask, and if you are unsure about the advice hit up the commish as he has an unbiased opinion and can be a new GM’s best friend when starting out.
Thanks again to all nine of the newer GM’s for taking the time out of their days to answer some questions and don't worry vets, we have some ideas rolling around in the head to get your input on soon. I hope to see you back again next week!