Generally when we evaluate GMs, there is a concrete body of work to evaluate. In the case of Jeff Bower, there is really only the 2005-06 season to review. A review of Bower’s rise to GM, does reveal how one might rise up the ladder to an executive position on an NBA team. Bower started his career in the early 1980s as an assistant coach at Penn State (1983-1986) and then over as an assistant at Marist (1986-1995). The Hornets hired Bower as a scout in 1995, a position he held until they needed him to fill in as an assistant coach when Dave Cowens resigned in the middle of the 1998-99 season.
Bower spent the next few years bouncing back-and-froth between assistant coach and the front office as assistant GM. Long-time GM Bob Bass retired after the 2003-04 season and was replaced with Allen Bristow, who had coached the team for 1991-92 through 1995-96, before being fired. Bristow was later re-hired as an assistant GM and replaced Bass as GM. All this shuffling was emblematic of the Hornets’ ownership under George Shinn, who managed to piss off the Charlotte market that had embraced the team and also ran the team to New Orleans, which was a very specious market for pro hoops even before the terrible flooding of 2005.
In keeping with the theme of capriciousness, Bristow lasted through the 2004-05 season and then he resigned citing health issues and Bower stepped in. It was a nice way for Bower to get the top, though the Hornets might not be the ideal franchise to run considering that Bower took over a rebuilding team, an uncertain future because of the floods in New Orleans and, even before that, the teams not meeting its attendance quotas, and dealing with Shinn. Continue reading GM Report: Jeff Bower…