Originally written on MVN  |  Last updated 4/24/12
Would Michael Jordan have won a championship -- let alone six -- if it wasn't for former Bulls GM Jerry Krause?It seems like Michael Jordan laid the groundwork for being an atrocious talent evaluator far before the days of Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison.An article in Sunday's Boston Globe highlighted the sour relationship between former Bulls GM Jerry Krause and his cornerstone player. Along with it, the Globe's article revealed some interesting things that could have changed the NBA -- and maybe even Jordan's own legacy -- as we know it.Jordan, who is set to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on Thursday, isn't the reason that Krause won't be there later this week. Krause, the architect behind the Chicago Bulls' dynasty of the 1990's, has reportedly pledged to never go to the Hall in Springfield as long as Tex Winter, the guru behind the famed Triangle Offense, isn't inducted.Krause and Jordan were known to have many differences when it came to transactions and roster management. But one of the biggest power moves may have come in 1987, when Krause made a move on draft day for Scottie Pippen. Pippen's name has become synonymous with the word "sidekick," and his inclusion in Chicago had an enormous part to do with Jordan's six championships in the first place.Pippen has gone on to be named one of the 50 greatest players of all time during All-Star Weekend in Cleveland in 1997 as well as a member of the famous Dream Team in Barcelona in 1992. He's a lock for the Hall of Fame, and Cavs fans would certainly fall over themselves if they found a player of his caliber to be a sidekick for their own LeBron James.But if Jordan had his way, Pippen's #33 Bulls jersey would have never become a reality:Krause and Jordan sometimes disagreed on player acquisitions. Krause said Jordan wanted to select Joe Wolf in the '87 draft, but the Bulls went with Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant."I did consult Michael and Scottie on [Dennis] Rodman,'' Krause said. "I asked them if they had a big problem with it. But, no, they couldn't have vetoed it.''Krause joined the Bulls during Jordan's rookie season, replacing Rod Thorn as GM."We had Michael and 11 guys I didn't want,'' Krause said. "We didn't know how good Michael was going to be - nobody knew. He improved year by year.''Wolf was a North Carolina Tar Heel, explaining Jordan's affinity for the 6'11" center from Wisconsin. Wolf went 13th overall in that '87 draft to the Los Angeles Clippers and went on to average 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds during a lackluster 12-year NBA career. Krause, however, did the kind of draft day maneuvering that would make Cavs fans salivate if Danny Ferry was pulling the trigger instead. The Bulls somehow had the eighth and 10th picks that year, and Krause used them on Olden Polynice and Horace Grant, respectively. He then traded Polynice for Pippen, who had been selected fifth overall by the Seattle Supersonics, and the rest is history.Pippen and Grant played enormous roles in helping Jordan and the Bulls to their first three-peat from 1991 to 1993. Dennis Rodman took Grant's place and helped Jordan and Pippen to their second three-peat from 1996 to 1998.If Jordan had his way and the Bulls had drafted a combo of either Grant and Wolf or even Polynice and Wolf, then the famed shooting guard's career may have gone down quite similar to the career of Allen Iverson: an explosive and transcending player with a mismanaged team full of castoffs and journeymen.Krause also gives tremendous credit to his boy Tex Winter for having an impact in Jordan's career:Krause contends that Winter's triangle offense was crucial to the success of the Bulls and also helped bring out the best in Jordan. In fact, Winter was a Phil Jackson assistant for all six of the Bulls' NBA championships and for three of the Jackson's NBA titles with the Lakers."I think when we hired Phil to be head coach and Tex was already there with the triangle, Michael found out he could score in ways he never dreamed of scoring,'' Krause said. "Michael ended up being the best-scoring point guard ever.''Such a tumultuous relationship in Cleveland between Ferry and LeBron James would have the national media hollering at James to get out of Cleveland. But this report over the weekend regarding Jordan and Krause is more support for the idea of letting the guy hired to do the job do it without any sort of added and unnecessary adversity from the star player. In that regard, however, LeBron has been nothing short of supportive, and Ferry has done his job by continuing to inject talent into the Cavaliers roster year after year. James has even come out and said over the summer that he isn't too involved in the Cavs' offseason moves. But while some take that as being negative in that James doesn't care much about the Cavs to be involved, it should be noted as an absolute positive in that he trusts management to get the job done for him.Fortunately for him, Ferry's added more "Pippens" like Mo Williams and Shaq and less "Joe Wolfs." Only time will tell if it's good enough to win a championship, let alone six.
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