View Full Version : Jerry Krause Retrospective

11-19-2012, 04:54 PM
Obviously the Bulls, in the Michael Jordan era, had a lot of success, since drafting Rose have been on the upswing again. During the Jordan era, and for some years afterward, Jerry Krause was the man in change. He was responcible for a number of important moves. Though Jordan was already on the roster when Krause was hired, he was the man who brought in Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen, as well as BJ Armstrong a couple year later. He signed Ron Harper when Jordan retired, and managed to swing a deal that landed Dennis Rodman. The Bulls won 6 championships during his tenure, which is more championships tham any other GM of his generation.

For a glimpse at the moves he made throughout his career, follow this link: http://www.basketball-reference.com/executives/krausje99x.html

We could go through his draft history and nail him with hindsight on any number of occassions (I mean, in the same draft Detroit came away with John Salley and Dennis Rodman, Krause came away with Brad Sellers and Larry Krystkowiak, but the draft is always tricky and nobody gets it right all the time. He did pass up on several very talented European players, but ended up getting it right with Toni Kukoc This would be unfair as we have hindsight to back us up.

But there are other issues at hand. There are the trades. Moving Charles Oakley for one, was not a popular move that also lost the Bulls Rod Strickland. There were a great number of medicore signings. There was the Scottie Pippen trade, which netted nearly nothing for the Bulls, while the Rockets ended up trading Pippen after one season and got far more for him despite a decrease in production from him that season. Then during the re-building process there was the fact that he got rid of talented players like Brad Miller, Ron Artest and Chauncey Billups. And of course there was the Elton Brand trade, who he traded for Tyson Chandler even though he had already drafted a center in Eddy Curry.

But most disturbing of all was the strained relationship he created between management and players. This started of course with the Charles Oakley trade. Jordan was good friends with Oakley who was a talented player. And the Doug Collins firing made little sense to people on the outside (though in hindsight Phil Jackson was an excellent replacement for Collins, still, Collins could have very well had as much success or more with the Bulls than had Jackson). Jordan was very vocal about his displeasure with Krause. While players had in the past taken issue with management taking credit for team success (one is reminded of the Lakers, whose players felt Pat Riley took too much credit for the team's success). Krause likewise seemed to take a lot of credit for the Bull's success and made a comment about management winning championships. Jordon took issue with that and made it clear that it was the players who won the championships. When Jordan hit what would be his final shot as a member of the Bulls, his retirement was not a certainty. Neither was Phil's return, or Rodman's. Jordan and Jackson both recieved accolades for the 6 championships that the Bulls hoisted up, and Krause seemed to take issue with that, and already had a coach picked out to replace Jackson before Jackson had addressed a possible extension. In fact, he had told Jackson before his finals season as the Bulls coach: "I don't care if it's 82-and-0 this year, you're fawking gone." Jordan did not want to play for anybody but Jackson. Rodman didn't want to play if Jordan and Jackson were there, and Pippen (I believe) ultiamtely asked for a trade when he found out Jordan, Jackson and Rodman were all gone.

Had Krause had more humilty, the Bulls may have been together for one or two more years, and the rebuilding process may have taken an entirely different form than it ended up taking. Instead, a team whose talented core were more than good enough to continue for at least one more season was broken up, and the Bulls were sent into the basement. And Krause did not do much to forward the effort of the rebuilding process before leaving the team.

Jordan ended up finishing his career in Washington, which is one of the biggest travesties in sports. Pippen ended his career on the bench in chi-town, but never got the chance he wanted to coach the team, and Jackson went on to help the Lakers hoist up 5 more banners.

All in all, the teams Krause was the GM of accomplished a lot. But Krause was perhaps blessed in that he was handed a man who many consider to be the greatest basketball player on the planet, and that he cannot take credit for. In fact, he may be the one responcible for souring the relationship between Jordan and the Bulls and prematurely ending one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.

So the question now is: Did Michael Jordan and the Bulls succeed because of Jerry Krause? Or despite him? And does Krause deserve the HOF status that is usually automatically attributed to GMs who have seen the kind of success he has?