Just because something starts the same way doesn’t mean, by rule, it has to end the same way.
You and I can go to the same restaurant and have completely different experiences. Between the waiters, the chef, the food, the hostess and the valet attendant (I don’t usually valet the car but I needed one more example), it’s all a series of twists and turns that potentially yields uncommon results. Bear that in mind when I make the following comparison:
Ryan McDonough reminds me of Josh Byrnes.
Not the man, mind you, the situation. I write this having not met him yet — that moment comes Thursday when Gambo and I host the show from US Airways Center.
Young, bright, super innovative, a blend of the new world analytics and the old school, eyeballs-on-the-target scouting, a pedigree of working with some of the best in the industry. A highly-praised selection from the moment it was announced.
Now, we all know Byrnes’ tenure with the Diamondbacks did not end well, be it the Eric Byrnes contract or letting A.J. Hinch ride shotgun from the manager’s seat.
But at the beginning, there was hope. Hope that the D-backs made a wise choice. Hope that Byrnes would stabilize a ship that was floundering from bad signings (Russ Ortiz), bad decisions (Wally Backman) and bad PR (Jerry Colangelo shown the door).
He ushered in what was presumed to be an era of believability. For a long while it was just that.
The hope is that McDonough can do the same. I have yet to read one credible NBA observer who doesn’t think the Suns absolutely killed it with this hire. When Lon Babby was on our show Tuesday, even he joked that it’s been a long time since he’s heard widely praised and his name in the same sentence.
McDonough has a mess to cleanup himself: Michael Beasley, mediocre draft picks, a plethora of future picks, and a coaching carousel that made us all nauseous.
I am as hopeful today about McDonough as I was that day about Byrnes.
I am even more hopeful that just because their tales start the same way, doesn’t mean it has to end so.