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The Obstacles of Building a Successful NBA Franchise

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When I was unsure of what my thesis project would be, the professor of my thesis prep class, Jill Johnson, recommended that I choose a topic that I am passionate

When I was unsure of what my thesis project would be, the professor of my thesis prep class, Jill Johnson, recommended that I choose a topic that I am passionate about. Immediately, my mind went to basketball and the NBA, the business and operations side of things to be specific. Initially, this research paper was going to look into market size and how those teams in a smaller market made their money and ran their teams. It was to focus on some of the more successful franchises that come from smaller markets, as well as those franchises that have been historically unsuccessful. However, the kind of data that I was looking for on market sizes was not very available. So I ended up focusing almost exclusively on the operations side of things. I wanted to see if there was one strategy for building a team that had proven to be more successful than others. I was not sure what sort of answers I would find, but I knew that there had to be some useful data that had yet to be discovered. I settled on researching the success of teams that build primarily using players they drafted versus teams that were built primarily through trades and free agent signings. I also wanted to illuminate the difficulties that front offices, particularly those in smaller markets, face when building a franchise. I chose to focus on things such as the luxury tax and betting on the wrong players. This paper went a lot of different directions before it became what it did. I want to thank all of those who helped me, particularly my director Tim McGuire, my second reader Peter Bhatia and Jill Johnson for helping me get started on the most intimidating, yet rewarding, project that I have ever been a part of.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05