Somebody get Forbes a calculator
class=img_thumbleft>It didn't take a lot of number-crunching for Timberwolves fans to realize Forbes magazine's recent list of the best general managers in sports was screwy. They just had to look at the man at the top of the heap: Kevin McHale.
Yes, Kevin McHale, the man that every Wolves fan besides Glen Taylor wants out of the job. To be fair, McHale's tenure as the team's GM has been marked by peaks as well as valleys, and the Wolves' current dearth of victories makes it especially easy to rag on the craggy hometown guy. Still, to call him the best of all 98 GMs currently working in major league sport seems like a laughable over-correction. Heck, he isn't even the best GM in Minnesota.
The problem lies in the methodology. To generate the list, Forbes looked at each GM's winning percentage compared to their team's previous three years, adjusting slightly for payroll. Thing is, the Timberwolves posted a lowly .244 winning percentage before McHale came to the team. So the turnaround wasn't exactly difficult. Nor was it entirely McHale's doing: That same year, the team welcomed new owner Taylor, coach Flip Saunders, and some high school kid named Kevin Garnett.
The Forbes list especially rankled baseball fans, who noticed that the highest-ranking baseball GM, Oakland's Billy Beane, didn't show up until number 26. Nate Silver, one of the resident stat geniuses at Baseball Prospectus, noted on Monday that the list's algorithm is rigged against baseball because the sport's long season flattens its competitive curve. "Improving from a .500 winning percentage (81-81) to a .600 winning percentage (97-65) is a huge deal in baseball," he writes. "In football, it means that Nate Kaeding missed a field goal or two."
And in basketball, it means that 12 years ago the league's worst team drafted an MVP.
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