The Trap that is the Playoff Hunt

A lot of us are excited now about possibly making the playoffs, but I'd like to present another view of it.

A lot of people are saying, "Oh, I'm tired of not making the playoffs" or "Trying your luck to land a superstar in the draft is road to nowhere"

Well I would respond to that with, is making the playoffs a road to somewhere?

New Jersey Nets, 2003-2007. AKA the Post-KMart, Pre-Harris Era.

We were a playoff team much like you guys wanted. 

Except we weren't good enough to be REAL contenders, but at the same time were not bad enough to get talent through the draft.

We had no cap space since we had the big contracts of Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson.

We were very possibly one piece away, but we never got that piece. Our best big man during that stretch was arguable Nenad Krstic, who at his peak, was still only a 16 ppg 7 rpg jump shooting big man. Yi plus, you could say. 

Since 2001, we don't even have a 50 win season to show for all of our playoff appearances. We don't even have a single conference finals appearance after KMart left. 

The rookies we drafted during that stretch? Marcus Williams is now overseas. Josh Boone still doesn't have a job. Antoine Wright is a bit player. Zoran Planinic is overseas. Nenad Krstic is averaging 8 pts and 5 rebs a game as a role player, Avwee Storey and Billy Thomas? Who knows. Hassan Adams? Overseas. Mile Ilic? Overseas. 


So you try and tell me how straddling the middle ground is good. 

I'm not advocating losing. I'm advocating taking things one step at a time. I'm advocating sustainability. 

Once you step onto that playoff picture, and you better be ready with your top tier talent, because you're likely getting role players from the draft from that day on.You better pray that you're able to swing a trade or sign an allstar that takes you over the top. But most importantly, you better have your superstar. You better have your guy who will be making plays at the end of games. You better have your number 1 guy on a championship team, because those guys only come from the draft.

Go ahead and make the playoffs, but just don't whine about it if you have to start the whole rebuilding process all over again in a few years because you apparently weren't ready. 

Philadelphia made the playoffs a few years back did they not? Didn't Indiana? Hasn't Chicago been the 8th seed and had a 41-41 record for the last two years? 

Just saying. Be careful what you wish for.

A little something to think about from How the Mighty Fall. Try and see how this slightly parallels the nba quick fix


As companies move into Stage 3, internal warning signs begin to mount, yet external results remain strong enough to “explain away” disturbing data or to suggest that the difficulties are “temporary” or “cyclic” or “not that bad,” and “nothing is fundamentally wrong.” In Stage 3, leaders discount negative data, amplify positive data, and put a positive spin on ambiguous data.

Those in power start to blame external factors for setbacks rather than accept responsibility. The vigorous, fact-based dialogue that characterizes high-performance teams dwindles or disappears altogether. When those in power begin to imperil the enterprise by taking outsize risks and acting in a way that denies the consequences of those risks, they are headed straight for Stage 4.



The cumulative peril and/or risks gone bad of Stage 3 assert themselves, throwing the enterprise into a sharp decline visible to all. The critical question is: How does its leadership respond? By lurching for a quick salvation or by getting back to the disciplines that brought about greatness in the first place? Those who grasp for salvation have fallen into Stage 4.

Common “saviors” include a charismatic visionary leader, a bold but untested strategy, a radical transformation, a dramatic cultural revolution, a hoped-for blockbuster product, a “game-changing” acquisition, or any number of other silver-bullet solutions. Initial results from taking dramatic action may appear positive, but they do not last.

The longer a company remains in Stage 4, repeatedly grasping for silver bullets, the more likely it will spiral downward. In Stage 5, accumulated setbacks and expensive false starts erode financial strength and individual spirit to such an extent that leaders abandon all hope of building a great future. In some cases the company’s leader just sells out; in other cases the institution atrophies into utter insignificance; and in the most extreme cases the enterprise simply dies outright

At the end of it all, what matters most is , we need to get back to what we were doing that made us successful before. We have to get back to playing good defense, and we need that guy again who is the best player at his position. Jason Kidd was a superstar. Jason Kidd was an MVP level player. We need that.

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