Mike Budenholzer is one of the few coaches in the NBA who has the final say over his roster. While there are some success stories of coaches with that power, there are other instances where it hasn't worked out quite as well.
One reason many think it can work in Atlanta is that the Hawks have used a collaborative approach to their front office decisions. That is something that was put in place by former General Manager Danny Ferry who brought both Budenholzer and current General Manager Wes Wilcox into the organization. Both Budenholzer and Wilcox were both heavily involved in the decision-making process from the beginning.
The Hawks made several new hires to their Basketball Operations department over the summer. Adding guys like Michael Blackstone as Assistant GM and former NBA player Malik Rose as Manager of Basketball Operations. Budenholzer recently discussed the remade front office in a pre-training camp interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore.
We feel great about the group that we’ve added. It’s like we always said, everything is done in a collaborative way, a collaborative fashion. To bring in guys with different skills and different backgrounds and different perspectives, and all of them incredibly intelligent and all good people. They understand the kind of players we want to have and the kind of people we want to have in the organization and the culture we are building. I think it was a really, really good summer. Going forward, we are better staffed, better prepared, to operate in a more efficient, more eyes on people, more good people with good ideas. The more of that you have, the better chance you have of making good decisions on players, on all the different things that happen during the season or even during a day.
It is important to note that the Hawks were not prepared from an organizational point of view for the absence on Ferry who was away on leave last season although they performed pretty well nonetheless. With more people in place, Budenholzer and Wilcox will have the opportunity to delegate more of the day-to-day activities of running the team.
It starts with (general manager) Wes (Wilcox). Wes has been incredible. His abilities make it all work and make it happen. Together he and I have tried to figure out what we need as a staff, what roles need to be filled and what those people will do. Both of us together put a lot of time and thought into it, especially Wes, it’s something on the management side, the day-to-day operations side, of we need scouts in this area and we need scouts doing this and we need a manager of basketball operations. I think I have a big-picture idea and vision of the directions we want to go, and Wes is responsible for a lot of the day-to-day and carrying out our shared vision.
There is an enormous amount of delegation that goes on in every NBA front office. The Hawks aren't unique in that aspect. While Budenholzer has the final say in any decision that is made, the process is a group effort.