Obviously things are slow around town so we wanted to spend a lot of time this week on Red Line Radio getting to know the Bulls' new boss, Arturas Karnisovas. To that effect we were joined by Nuggets Insider, Nick Kosmider, of The Athletic who covered AK for the better part of 5 years. The interview starts exactly at the 22 minute mark of this week's show. Here's the highlights of what we learned about AK and what you can expect:
- As respected and admired across basketball as you could ask for. Big strength is organizing the way a team makes a decision, similar to what I'd say about Theo Epstein. That means having a strong team of leaders underneath him that he trusts to operate independently, but always holding final say and ruling with an iron fist. I've hated the Bulls big picture thinking for so long that this is such a welcome change.
- Nickname = AK is about the best we got so far
- Very, very disciplined personality
- Generally credited with Denver's rise from mediocrity to the top of the NBA West
- He's going to be in front of cameras for the first time. This surprised me based on all the hype out of Denver but apparently he wasn't the point man with media. So imagine going from behind the scenes in Denver to now being the savior of Chicago. Pretty tall order from a social skills standpoint and I hope he's up to the task. I also hope it doesn't get in the way of him actually doing his job because he's preoccupied with cleaning up GarPax's mess.
- He fired Gar Forman immediately while simultaneously bringing in Denver's top scout, Pat Connelly. So any notion that Gar would linger and influence scouting seems to be completely gone.
- Big name to watch is Calvin Booth, the Nuggets assistant GM. He and AK are super tight, but Booth probably doesn't have the resume to be the Bulls GM while also considered the front runner for the Nuggets vacancy. If he comes to Chicago, it would be a huge win for our front office because he and AK are that close.
- "He let's players live through their mistakes" was probably my favorite and the most telling quote from what to expect. Unlike the last regime holding drafted players hands while giving below average veterans major minutes. It's been disgusting to see the Bulls completely tank in development the last 5 years and it has everything to do with unrealistic expectations for the young guys and giving them an awful environment to grow. If there's one thing AK can do immediately, it's change the philosophy. And finally it sounds like we got one worth following.
There's a whole bunch of other shit in the conversation. It's very good this week as evidenced by the fact that I wrote this blog so do me a solid and go listen to this week's episode thx.