Seat-of-the-Pants Sports Management

4 June 2009 at 9:49 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

The WSJ recently ran a sort of anti-Moneyball piece on the NBA’s Denver Nuggets that belongs in our “by the numbers” series. Love the title: “Textbook Management? Hardly. — Assembled Largely by Instinct, the Denver Nuggets Keep Winning; Mastering a ‘Curious Business.'” Here’s the central passage:

[The Nuggets] don’t describe their success as the inevitable result of a carefully designed strategy. Rather, in an era when sports executives like to play themselves off as masters of mathematical analysis and risk management — and in a year when most NBA teams chose fiscal prudence over expensive superstars — the Nuggets are an anomaly. They owe their success to a bizarre combination of luck, good health, opportunism and a management strategy that is more six-shooter than Six Sigma.

The story caught my eye partly because it profiles Nuggest owner Stan Kroenke, a real estate developer who lives here in Columbia, Missouri and whose son Josh was Mizzou’s starting shooting guard from 2000 to 2003. (Stan’s wife also happens to be Ann Walton Kroenke, one of Sam Walton’s two nieces; it’s nice to have connections!)

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ty Mackey  |  4 June 2009 at 10:08 am

    “I wish I could tell you we knew it was going to turn out this way, but we really didn’t,” says Rex Chapman the team’s vice president of player personnel.

    Two sources of competitive advantage–superior expectations about the value of resources, and,…um…, I forget what the other one was

    Go Lakers!

  • 2. REW  |  4 June 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Causal ambiguity?

  • 3. Dan Rascher  |  5 June 2009 at 1:57 am

    Peter, funny thing is that the Nuggets do have the top basketball stats guy, Dean Oliver, working for them…why wouldn’t they mention that.

    — Dan

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