Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov penned an open letter, sharing eight tough lessons he’s learned since buying the team in 2010.
The Russian billionaire admits that his plan to buy his way towards an NBA title has failed, but promises the Nets’ fanbase that winning big remains the ultimate goal in BK.
Prokhorov says the franchise will be a lot more strategic and tactful going forward.
Lesson 1: Some Things Money Can’t Buy
In 2012, the Nets relocated from New Jersey to a sparkling new arena in the heart of Brooklyn, and we wanted to make that move as splashy and fun as possible. So we went with the idea that no money was to be spared. Get high-value star players, whatever it takes. Bet on the quick win and throw everything we’ve got at it. This got us to the playoffs three years consecutively, but not far enough. And, as the person who signed the checks, lemme tell you, it cost a boatload. We had been told that you can’t buy a championship. Truer words were never spoken.
Lesson 2: Strategy Beats Opportunity
The problem for the Nets has been lack of concept. Instead of being opportunistic, working all the angles and trades, we must have a strategy about the team’s identity. Do we want to be choosy and wait for a star player to build around, maybe sacrificing a season to get him? Do we want to focus on the power of the whole by choosing young players with specific talents to work together? Will we choose mettle, commitment and heart over pure stats? Are we offense-based or defense-based? What are the core capabilities we will focus on to win in the long term? These are the questions that must be answered before any other decisions are made, and these are the questions at the top of the agenda for the new management team.
Lesson 3: Culture Trumps Talent
Getting everyone pulling in the same direction, working toward a single goal is not easy. I’ve seen over these years that personalities can strongly affect results. There can be differences of vision and opinion, and everyone should be heard, but, once we have a strategy, we all need to work together to fulfill it and put our individual issues behind us. It also means we need to have the courage to say, “We’ll not go for that player because, as much as he’s talented, he doesn’t fit into the culture we are building.” It takes guts to say “no” as much as it does to say “yes.”