The Athletic conducted a poll of NBA insiders on the best and worst owners in the league, resulting in Sacramento Kings chairman Vivek RanadivÃ© being named the worst owner in the NBA. The full poll can be found here (subscription required).
First, a note on the methodology. The survey polled 31 people. 13 were executives, 10 were front office personnel, six were scouts, and two were coaches. It's a nice cross section of different roles, but hardly a big enough sample group to be difinitive, especially since the leading vote-getters for worst owner were all pretty tightly clumped in the voting (Vivek edged out Robert Sarver by half a vote).
The criticisms included with the votes are probably the more important take-away.
âTalk about a chaotic organization,â one agent said.
âHe seems like heâs trying too much to be Jerry Jones,â said one front office exec.
âHis intentions are good but in terms of hiring the basketball people and letting them do their work, he both hires bad basketball people and doesnât let them do their work,â an executive said. âThatâs a bad combination.â
None of these complaints seem out of line, and echo the complaints that some Kings fans have made.
Despite that, I take issue with Vivek being named the worst. On the basketball side, which this is clearly focused on, Vivek has been very unsuccessful. But beyond the on-court results, Vivek has been a fantastic owner. Vivek and his ownership group delivered a beautiful arena, have been active in the community, and have championed social change, and Vivek has been at the forefront of those things. That shouldn't be overlooked.
I'd much rather have Vivek than James Dolan, who clearly wasn't viewed as negatively by agents because of his willingness to overpay players on a constant basis. Fortunes have been made by agents convincing the Knicks to overpay middling stars for the past 20 years. But those off-court factors should matter.
I wasn't surprised to see Vivek on the list, and the criticisms are valid. Hopefully this sort of negative press can be a wake-up call for Vivek and the other meddling members of Kings ownership to finally get out of the way and allow Monte McNair the time, money, and autonomy to turn this franchise around.