Continuing with the D-League theme today, NetsAreScorching was able to get in touch with Springfield Armor's GM Alex Schwerin. Mr. Schwerin comes from a Minor League Baseball background where he spent five years in Minor League Baseball working for the Modesto Nuts, the Class-A California League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. His tenure in Modesto began in February of 2004 as the Director of Operations, and he was promoted to Assistant General Manager in 2005 and to General Manager in 2008.
Mr. Schwerin was kind enough to answer a few questions:
NAS: What are some of your business goals of running a new NBDL franchise and how do you plan on accomplishing them? Will you be able to apply any of your strategies from from running the Modesto Nuts to the Armors?
Alex Schwerin: Our goals for the franchise are to provide the best and most affordable family entertainment to Springfield and the surrounding community as well as help support the league’s goals of developing the best basketball players we can to prepare them for taking the next step to the NBA. We would also like to put together a winning team on the court and give back and support the community as much as possible.
In terms of carryover from the Modesto Nuts I think there can be a lot of things that were successful in Modesto that can work well in Springfield. In the end, the success of the franchise is determined by putting fans in the stands and selling tickets. If we provide great customer service, foster strong relationships with the local community and provide over the top entertainment at every game we will be successful. That was the same formula in Modesto.
NAS: I assume that the responsibilities of running a minor league basketball team would be similiar to running a minor league baseball team in terms of acquiring young talent that can hopefully be grooming to help major league teams. Am I correct in that assumption?
Alex Schwerin: Actually the basketball side of this operation on my end of things is a little different in basketball than it was in baseball. In general the theme of the league is similar (to develop young players and get them to the next level). But in baseball many of the Baseball operations decisions, programs and implementation are handled by your affiliate (i.e. in Modesto the Colorado Rockies hired the coaches, trainer, etc and they did all the scouting and player decisions). However, in basketball, I am in charge of hiring the coaches and trainer and those guys that I hire are in charge of all the basketball operations decisions.
NAS: What are the challenges associated with running a franchise that is affiliated with three different NBA teams?
Alex Schwerin: Most of the challenges will fall in Dee’s lap as he will have to make sure that all 3 organizations are happy with what their players are doing when they are assigned down to Springfield. In general having 3 affiliates is a good thing. It is 3 NBA teams that we can interact with and collaborate with to improve the success of our franchise and the 3 NBA affiliates to help everyone reach their goals.
NAS: Since you worked in both sports - the concept of advanced statistics has been increasingly embraced by MLB GMs like Billy Beane and Theo Epstein and are far more accepted now than they were 5-10 years ago. With basketball writers like John Hollinger preaching advanced stats in the NBA, what do you think the acceptance level of these metrics is in basketball and where do you figure they'll fit in in the future?
Alex Schwerin: I don’t work on the player evaluation side of things too much so it is hard to answer that question. I would say that I don’t think the NBA or it’s leagues are anywhere close to the types of statistical analysis that is taking place in baseball, but basketball is speeding up in that category pretty quickly it seems.
Considering his schedule, and how busy he is (The Expansion Draft is tomorrow), Mark and I wanted to thank Mr. Schwerin for taking the time to answer our questions.