How many NBA GM’s can you name? How many would you recognize? Whatever your number is, you should add +1 and remember Lawrence Frank (the man on the cover photo).
Since Magic left a lot has been written about the difference in the management of the Clippers and the Lakers. One team was run with a lot of talking (and not so much working), loud and all about the brand. The other quietly did it’s work, didn’t seek the spotlight and grabbed opportunities to speed up a long term vision. The quiet ones are in the playoffs giving the Warriors a run for their money.
Williams and Harrell are one of the deadliest pick-and-roll combos in the league and for sure the most lethal bench combo in a long time. Yep, these two are both bench players, under contract, playing crucial playoff minutes. They will make a combined 14 million this and next year (Williams $8 million and Harrell $6 million, per season) and the team acquired them in a trade for Chris Paul (Beverly was a part of that trade too). The Lakers gave Caldwell-Pope $12 million.
The man with the final say is Clippers President of Basketball Operations, Lawrence Frank. He worked as an assistant coach (Grizzlies, Nets, Celtics) and head coach (Nets, Pistons) before coming to the Clippers with Doc Rivers. Everyone is quick to praise Jerry West for the Clippers success, while truth be told, it is Frank that should get the most praise.
Here is the kicker – he doesn’t care. The same way Bob Meyers didn’t mind when the media praised West for the Warriors strategic decisions. This is one of the most important paradigm changes the Lakers need. Someone who not just doesn’t crave the spotlight, but has no problem when others get a lot of the credit.
The Laker brand is about Showtime and Hollywood, so they may not want to switch to “we are roaches” the Clippers have embraced. But even the flashiest movies have a calm producer who does all the tedious work so the artists could shine. That’s what the Lakers need, and the Clippers already have.
Imagine Williams and Harrell scoring as the second team leaders when Kawhi rests. It is very likely soon you won’t have to imagine.