Most NBA executives fit clearly defined roles, either scouting-based or analytics-focused. They also tend to build via the draft and player development or trades and veteran signings. Mavericks GM Nico Harrison bucks the norm – his flexibility to pivot was on display comparing this offseason to last.
Harrison once said, “We are listening to everything.” While easy to declare, he genuinely seems open-minded. The Mavericks got far more athletic and perimeter size this offseason. Most importantly, they exhibited a diversity of thought, promising for the future.
It’s tempting to see the change of course as aimless floundering without firm goals. Perhaps Harrison readily adapts because he lacks defined ideals. But optimists would call it the mark of a leader smart enough to learn from mistakes.
Harrison isn’t beholden to any one background. He didn’t spend decades scouting high school games like a real-life Adam Sandler from Hidden Gems. Nor does he have a pedigree analyzing mathematical probabilities like Haralabos Voulgaris.
Harrison is a deal-maker. That was his role at Nike. The Mavericks seemed roster-locked when he took over, yet pulled off massive trades over the last two years. His flexibility grants rare freedom for an executive. And it enabled a strong offseason optimally positioning the Mavericks now and later.
Harrison resists labels and static approaches. While detractors may cite indecisiveness, his openness to varied inputs generated roster improvements. The Mavericks are thinking broadly, not narrowly. That stems from a GM embracing new ideas, not clinging to conventions. For Harrison, versatility is a virtue. And a virtue the Mavericks are already benefiting from.
As the Mavericks continue evolving under Harrison’s adaptive leadership, it will be fascinating to see what new frontiers he pioneers next. If his first years are any indication, Dallas fans can expect a creative journey where no option is off the table. For a franchise seeking its first title, that flexibility could prove the special ingredient putting them over the top.